But in November, after 10 years of research, Rogaine introduced a new 5 percent minoxidil formulation for women. It’s a mousse (instead of a liquid) that needs to be applied only once a day instead of twice, which means that it can be more easily incorporated into a woman’s evening skin-care routine. Teal replaces the blue and silver palette of the men’s Rogaine, and the packaging bears a lotus flower. (Also last year, Pantene introduced its Hair Regrowth Treatment for Women, which is 2 percent minoxidil.)
Caffeine – Quickly finding its way in to many skincare products for both men and women, caffeine is a natural antioxidant that not only fights free radicals that accelerate the signs of aging, but also help to stimulate the growth of hair. In fact, in a recent study published on the National Institute of Health (NIH) website, it was discovered that there were ‘growth-promoting effects’ to the hair with regular application (source).
In our research and our conversations with experts, one name kept popping up repeatedly: Rogaine. As the first topical brand FDA-approved to help regrow hair (all the way back in 1988), Rogaine benefits from more than 20 years of clinical trials and consumer feedback. Rogaine was the first brand to offer a 5 percent minoxidil foam solution when it debuted Men’s Rogaine Unscented Foam in 2006, and virtually every treatment developed since (for both men and women) has been an imitation or derivation of that formula.
And, for all of these collective efforts, Christiano reminded me, the only things that have really worked were discovered accidentally. Soon to join minoxidil and finasteride will be Xeljanz, or tofacitinib: originally developed for rheumatoid arthritis, it has remarkable effects on hair growth for patients with alopecia areata, an autoimmune disorder that causes patients to lose hair in big patches over their entire bodies.
And just like that, more fascinating hair-related research was published in PLOS Biology. A team of researchers lead by Dr. Nathan Hawkshaw of the University of Manchester have identified the drug ‘WAY-316606’ as a potential candidate for hair regrowth. WAY-316606 is an existing drug used to treat osteoporosis. It’s not clear at this time whether WAY-316606 is approved and on the market, or if it was partially developed to treat the bone disease.
Jimenez, J. J., Wikramanayake, T. C., Bergfeld, W., Hordinsky, M., Hickman, J. G., Hamblin, M. R., & Schachner, L. A. (2014). Efficacy and Safety of a Low-level Laser Device in the Treatment of Male and Female Pattern Hair Loss: A Multicenter, Randomized, Sham Device-controlled, Double-blind Study. American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 15(2), 115–127.
How about if you’d rather not get your head punctured? In Sweden, a company called Follicum is now doing Phase IIA clinical studies and planning to communicate results by the end of the year. The end product will be a cream or a lotion, one that could be applied as few as three times a week. In the first trial, Follicum claims, more than seventy-five per cent of patients experienced hair growth. This is the real dream, the one so artfully captured in the Hims ads: pop a pill, slap on some cream, and get Hair God locks.
Indian gooseberry. Also known as amla, Indian gooseberry is one of the most popular natural ingredients that can induce fast hair growth. It is also a known antibacterial that can help maintain a healthy scalp. Mix a tablespoon of Indian gooseberry pulp and lemon juice. Use it to massage your scalp, and cover with a shower cap after. Leave on for the night and wash with shampoo in the morning.
Kerastem, a company developing an autologous fat-derived stem cell therapy for hair growth, has reported positive data from their phase 2 trial. The results have come from a 6 month clinical trial involving 70 patients. In this study, the patients received a one-time injection of fat-derived stem cells, and purified fat, into their scalp. Kerastem reports an average increase of 29 hairs per cm2 from the treatment, or an increase of 17% from baseline. The press release does mention that the treatment “successfully stimulates hair growth in people with early stage hair loss”, so that is something to take into consideration when evaluating the results. For more info visit Kerastem’s website.
"This is an oral, prescription-only medication with the brand name Propecia that’s also FDA approved to treat hair loss," says Spencer. Male pattern hair loss occurs when a hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT) prevents hair follicles from getting the nutrients they need. Finasteride works by blocking the production of DHT, which protects the follicles.
Deionized Water, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Cocoyl Alaninate, Polyquaternium-7, Sodium PCA, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Apigenin, Biotinoyl Tripeptide-1, Butylene Glycol, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Fragrance (Parfum), Glycerin, Glycine (Amino Acid), Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, L-Arginine, Larix Europaea (Larch) Wood Extract, Niacinamide, Oleanolic Acid, PEG-150 Pentaerythrityl Tetrastearate, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, PEG-8 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, PG-26-Buteth-26, Propolis, Sodium Metabisulfite (Antioxidant), Zinc Chloride, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Disodium EDTA, Citric Acid.
Another type of hair loss is alopecia areata, in which hair on the head (and sometimes on the body) falls out in patches. In most cases this type of hair loss resolves itself within a few months, however in some cases it can lead to more severe forms of hair loss such as alopecia totalis (loss of all hair on the scalp) or alopecia universalis (loss of all hair on the body). Alopecia areata is most common in people aged 15-29 and there are various treatments for it: minoxidil, corticosteroid injections, topical corticosteroid creams or lotions, dithranol cream, immunotherapy and light therapy. However none of these can be thought of as a cure for alopecia areata, as they are only temporary solutions.
Finally, if these tests come back normal, your dermatologist may suggest a scalp biopsy of a couple of two-millimeter sections taken from your scalp under local anesthesia ($400 and up). It can determine whether genetic hair loss, telogen effluvium (a condition in which hair falls out from stress or rapid weight gain), or a disease (such as lupus) is the cause of your shedding, and your dermatologist can treat you accordingly.
The third and fourth stages are known as telogen and exogen, respectively. In telogen, the hair is supposed to be at "rest" until it finally detaches itself from the follicle and enters the exogen or shedding stage. Once the hair is detached from the follicle, the follicle remains inactive for about three months, after which a new cycle begins again.