Baldness remedies

We asked 8,082 readers about their treatments

Last reviewed: May 2010
Illustration of a man putting a medicine on his bald head
Illustration by Harry Campbell

The distress caused by a balding head inspired extreme remedies even in the time of Hippocrates, who tried smearing pigeon droppings on the scalp. Other early fixes: hippopotamus fat, tar and sulfur, and horse urine. Leap to the 21st century, and there's still no magic bullet, but that doesn't mean resorting to pigeons.

A recent survey by the Consumer Reports National Research Center revealed that some remedies help more than others. We questioned 8,082 online subscribers (6,248 men and 1,834 women) who had lost hair. Most men and some women blamed genetic makeup or age; other women said their hair loss was due to a health condition (such as thyroid disease) or stress. We excluded respondents whose hair loss was related to chronic illness or chemotherapy. Respondents ranged in age from about 20 to 90-plus.

Benefits of baldness

The three best things about hair loss

  • There's no need to spend time grooming hair.
  • You save money on shampoos and conditioners.
  • You can wear a hat without mussing your hair.
Source: Consumer Reports National Research Center survey.