(Posting this bit all at once since I've been writing/sitting on it for a couple of day) For the past few days, I've spent a lot of time reading forum posts of people going through the same sort of hair loss issues., and I just wanted to jump in and document how I respond to the hair loss treatment in a (hopefully) positive way. This sort of situation is stressful enough without the negativity! And, if all goes well, I can give some sort of hopeful results (which would be rather nice!). Background: Two months before my 31st birthday, I began to notice some thinning hairline, though not necessarily receding, based on 5-7 year old pictures (originally seeing it because I was having some major dandruff issues!). There was also some presumed thinning at the temples, as well as some increased shedding in the shower/comb. If I were to self-diagnose, I'd say I caught things at a Norwood 1.5-2 (which was largely why I was on the fence because what if this is just the 'maturing hairline' the internet talks so much about?), which I'd just never noticed thanks to the long hair. I spent two months fretting about it and looking up medical studies on treatments. I spent two weeks counting every single hair that came out like a crazy person! Finally, I decided that enough was enough and made an appointment with a dermatologist. The results were (non-scarring) balding through diffusive thinning on top (I'm hopefully remembering things right, since the appointment itself was a bit of a blur!) as well as a pretty severe case of seborrheic dermatitis (which I've had for more than a decade but never thought much about it because it was never constant). I've always loved having longer hair (was mid-back length, recently cut to shoulder length), so having my fears validated was a bit of a shock! I took a good day or two to just emotionally confront the facts (good lord, for something that isn't medically serious, balding packs a freaking punch!) and have since readied my toolset. (Current) Regiment: finasteride (1mg) 1/day Minodoxil Foam (Rogaine) 1/day Ketoconazole Shampoo 2-3/week Multivitamin (Generic) 1/day (From what I've read, biotin supplements rarely affect much since the average person needs so little, but I figure I need a better diet so getting a some extra Biotin, Iron, etc can't hurt things!) Fluocinonide (as needed for the dermatitis itching to stop me from screwing with my scalp) Peppermint Oil (I also found a study on peppermint oil (3% solution) that provided positive results, so I've got a bottle of that to add to my shampoo when I get this dang dermatitis a bit more under control. I'd previously thought about adding some to the Ketoconazole shampoo, but then I read up on the interactions between the two and decided against it. Even if that's not for topical solutions, I don't want to risk liver issues, since my family history already has liver concerns to watch out for!) Adjusting Routines (I've mostly turned to letting my hair air-dry without toweling off or using a blowdryer, as well as only combing or brushing when it's mostly dry to avoid extra breakage/shedding) Emotional Support (I know that's not a medicine or treatment, but heck if having support from people doesn't count for the world! One of the biggest sources of consolation for me in the past few days has been the constant assurance from my bf that even in a worst case scenario, he's not gonna just drop me if I'm bald as an egg. Hopefully I won't have to test that promise in the near future!) Goals: My ideal would be to get a nice full head of thick hair (I've always had thin and fine hair, but wouldn't added thickness be a nice change of pace!), but my realistic goal is to keep what I have to at least 40. I'm given to understand that you can't really stop balding so much as slow it down and decrease the loss, which I'm fine with. I've very literally just started this trip (it's been 3 days on the Fina and 2 days on the Mino, as of this writing), so I don't fully know what the future holds for me, but I would rather try something and fail than not and be in the same place! I've noticed it's very common for other guys to say "Just man up and shave it off! Who cares!" Well... I care! But, at the same time, if things don't work out for me there's always wigs. When I was first looking things up, I was really concerned about the cost (have you seen the brand-name prices?? Jeez!! I'd sooner shave everything off!!), but there's some affordable methods to snag what I need (for the Fina, Multivitamins, and Keto, just about $6.80/month for Harris Teeter's pharmacy program; when I run out of the Rogaine, I'm gonna try Kirkland which is significantly cheaper! The Fluoc was a bit more hefty, but it's meant to be temporary, only for spot treatments, so I'm not counting that in the final prices ;D). I don't want to post daily updates since that's not very realistic (and I've been obsessing enough with this as it is!), but I'll try to offer updates as warranted (either with results or the lack thereof!). I've added a few "starter" updates just to mention anything I've noticed over the first few days, but I'm not going to clog this thread up! Future Concerns: For all my desire to give some positivity in a rather unfortunate situation, I still want to be honest and talk out a concern I've got. I've read very thoroughly on potential side-effects and future impacts, and while the risk of sexual side-effects and puffy eyes don't particularly bother me, I am absolutely dreading the hair shedding stage that pretty much everyone says will come in 2-3 weeks. The idea of having to look *worse* for several months before getting results is incredibly nerve-wrecking! Even worse is it'll likely begin around my birthday, which is the worst present....... People seem to have varying levels of shedding, including none at all. I'd like to think I'll be in that group, but that's just wishful thinking, I'm sure! As a result, I'm psyching myself up for the inevitable by avoiding mirrors ahead of time and only messing with my hair once a day (washing/combing/etc) just to get in the habit of not hyperfixating on hair shedding. And I'm definitely weaning myself from automatically counting the strands as I pull them from the comb! In any case, that's me. I'm not gonna say I look forward to this long-term journey, but at the least I'm giving my hair a shot. Even if I lose my hair, I'm not going to lose my hope!! (Is it better to update this initial post or add new posts to it?) Initial Thoughts 7/11/19 I'm not yet noticing any side effects from the Fina, beyond some lightheadness now and then (Here's hoping that holds true! My face is fat enough as it is! ). But I've definitely gotten some head sensitivity from (presumably) the Mino. The first day of application, I got a decent headache, and since I've gotten some sensitivity when I wear my headphones. I've got some itchiness, but that's definitely the dermititis! Have also noticed a little extra hair shedding... but that could easily be thanks to the stress of the last few days and the fact that I'm limiting myself to only brushing once a day to prevent any future hyperfixating, so I'm getting a day's worth all at once. 7/13/19 Man, using the Keto shampoo two days in a row and letting it sit on my scalp for 5 minutes really has done a lot! I'd been having major issues with super oily and greasy-looking hair a day after washing, let alone some pretty unbearable itching, but that's been super alleviated, at least at this point. I was a bit worried because a lot of people mention Mido greasing up their hair (especially worrisome for me because of my hair length), but thus far I'm not noticing too much? Got a bit of dandruff going on, but even that's still below what it was before I started anything. I've been honestly surprised at the quickness and simplicity of the treatments are? The worst is the Mino, but that's mostly just a pain because of trying to get it to the scalp instead of smearing it on the hair. Though that always raises the fear that perhaps I'm not applying things correctly! Here's hoping!