Over 50% of the male population has cosmetically significant male pattern hair loss in their 50’s. There is pressure on individuals to look younger socially and in the workplace. Society wants superior solutions and wants these solutions now. There is a growing interest in anti-aging treatments, herbal formulas and holistic medicine. Businesses are attempting to take advantage of this demand. They offer products that are not efficacious and are misrepresented.
Better education on the proven methods of treating hair loss is needed. Hair transplantation, Rogaine (minoxidil), and Propecia (finasteride) are the only clinically proven medical hair loss treatments. Until a new drug is found, cloning is perfected, or genetic therapy refined, they remain the best solutions for the hair loss population.
What Is Trendy?
Currently, the products generating the most interest are Avacor, Nioxin, Dutasteride and saw palmetto.
Avacor®, from Global Vision 2001, is a heavily marketed product that claims to be an all-natural, herbal formulation that is effective immediately, with results shown in 4-6 months. While the company uses clinical data to support its claims, they are in actuality a “non-peer-reviewed, non-double-blind, seemingly scientific study subsidized by the makers of the product.”
Nioxin® is a cleanser scalp therapy and scalp serum, which is marketed as a way to clean the scalp of DHT (the known cause of non-traumatic hair loss) and to provide chemically enhanced hair with moisture/vitamin nourishment. The product contains niocidin, which inhibits demodex produced lipase. However, there has never been any study that implicates demodex lipase in hair loss or that shows that hair will benefit from getting rid of mites or their lipase.
Dutasteride, from Glaxo Smith Kline, is the most promising of the products or medications outside of the three therapies mentioned above. Early studies show promising results, however, the potential side effects require further trials and testing for overall efficacy and safety. Dutasteride has been marketed with the brand name Avodart®.
Saw palmetto, an unproven herbal remedy, is available from multiple sources. It is an over-the-counter herb that has been claimed as effective as a supplement for thinning hair. General usage recommends taking 400mg of standardized extract with 100mg of beta sirosterol daily. It is claimed that results will appear in five months.
There are numerous other products and devices available to the consumer. A random sampling of the most prominent products will be discussed in next month’s article.