The Surprising Science Behind Hair Loss Treatments


So you want to treat your hair loss? Well, as one cursory Google search will probably tell you, there’s no shortage of possible treatments out there, all promising to turn that thinning scalp into a veritable hedgerow in no time at all.

Trouble is, which one do you pick? Who should you believe? The egg mask? The magic hairbrush? Or the old wives’ tale advising you to stop wearing hats?

At Manual, we believe a hair loss treatment is only as good as the science that backs it up. That’s why we only recommend two treatments – Finasteride and Minoxidil – both of which have the backing of medical science. Because we understand how they work, we can confidently prescribe them, safe in the knowledge they will help. In fact, when combined, they are effective in 90% of men.

Don’t take our word for it though. Let’s take a look at the science!

Why am I losing my hair?

The first thing to understand is why your hairline is receding in the first place.

In 95% of cases, hair loss in men is caused by Male Pattern Baldness (MPB), also known as androgenetic alopecia. It’s incredibly common, with 30% of men under 30 experiencing it to some degree – a number that rises to 50% by the age of 50.

MPB is a result of your body’s natural hormone production. When men reach puberty, they start producing dihydrotestosterone, which we normally shorten to DHT. DHT is important for lots of things – it lowers our voices and builds muscle mass – but it has the unfortunate side-effect of weakening hair follicles on the scalps of some men, which leads to hair loss.

DHT is produced by an enzyme called 5α-Reductase, or 5a-R. The key to treating hair loss is inhibiting 5a-R. Less 5a-R, means less DHT, which means more hair. It’s as simple as that.

Introducing Finasteride

The good news is, there’s a treatment that does just that. It’s an FDA-approved medication that’s been proven to effect hair loss in 90% of men, and it’s called Finasteride.


Finasteride, normally taken in pill form, was introduced to the UK in 2002, and since then has become the most popular hair loss treatment on the market. By stopping the work done by 5a-R, Finasteride ensures there is less DHT in your scalp – as much as 60% less in most cases. This drastic reduction slows hair loss, and even promotes new growth in some cases! One study into Finasteride found 83% of long-term users experienced no further hair loss, whilst 66% showed hair regrowth.

What about Minoxidil?

The other staple treatment in our medicine cabinet is Minoxidil. You might know it as Regaine, which it’s often called in the UK.

Minoxidil works differently to Finasteride. Instead of inhibiting 5a-R and blocking DHT, it works to strengthen the hair follicles in other ways – improving their lifespan so they work to their maximum potential for as long as possible. It does this by widening the blood vessels in your scalp, allowing them to carry more oxygen and nutrients to the affected area. This boost in supplies stimulates your follicles, promoting growth where you need.

Rather than swallowing it as a pill, Minoxidil is normally applied to the head in the form of a lotion. In fact, it’s the only FDA-approved topical treatment for hair loss on the market.

While its success rate is less impressive than Finasteride on its own, it’s still got pretty impressive credentials. Studies have shown that with long-term use 60% of men enjoy improved hair coverage, with another indicating a figure closer to 92% of men found it beneficial to some extent. 

To really reap their rewards, though, it’s best to use Finasteride and Minoxidil together.

Better together

There’s a reason we recommend pairing these two tried and tested treatments.

Not only are they totally safe as a pairing, but taken together their effectiveness is increased to a whopping 90%. With Minoxidil working to keep your follicles fighting fit, and Finasteride blocking the root cause of Male Pattern Baldness, they are a formidable duo.

And the best part is, with Manual, both treatments can be ordered online with minimal fuss and delivered to you at home. Not only that, but our specialist team will be on hand to support you during your treatment. 

Science lesson: done. Hair loss: dismissed.


For more information about our hair-saving products, have a look at our personalised plans starting at just £18 per month.