The receding hairline becomes larger, the top hair thins out – some people try to counteract the hair loss with foam or tinctures. But unfortunately there is no miracle cure: once it’s gone, it’s gone and can’t be brought back, even with solutions, tablets or foams. Stiftung Warentest tested six over-the-counter and four prescription remedies for hair loss. Your verdict: Only two active ingredients are suitable, with limitations, for delaying hair loss.

But where does hair loss actually come from? This can have many causes: stress, malnutrition, medication, illness or hormonal fluctuations during menopause. Stiftung Warentest recommends that you always have hair loss checked by a dermatologist in order to know the cause and, if necessary, be able to take action against the hair loss instead of resorting to remedies on your own.

In most cases, hair loss is hereditary. Hypersensitivity develops against a breakdown product of the male sex hormone testosterone, which causes the hair follicles to shrink and die. Many tinctures or waters promise miracles and often raise hopes – in the end, those affected spend a lot of money and there is no success. None of the products tested can bring back lost hair. But: Agents with the active ingredients minoxidil or finasteride can delay hereditary hair loss and, in the best case, even stop it – but only if they are used permanently, according to Stiftung Warentest.

Over-the-counter foams or solutions containing the active ingredient minoxidil can help women and men with hereditary hair loss if the hair loss has not lasted for long. Nevertheless, Stiftung Warentest only rates the active ingredient as “suitable with restrictions”. Because there is too little information about the long-term effects, and the desired effect does not always occur.

Prescription products containing the active ingredient finasteride are only suitable for men with hereditary hair loss. They can slow hair loss. According to Stiftung Warentest, they have no effect on women. During pregnancy, taking a product containing this active ingredient can even harm male fetuses. Stiftung Warentest generally advises against using products to combat hair loss during pregnancy and breastfeeding, as too little is known about possible risks.

You can find the complete (paid) test at Stiftung Warentest!