Synergistic Formulas for Hair GrowthNelson Vergel
As we all know, there are two FDA-approved treatments for hair loss right now, finasteride and minoxidil. There are a lot of problems reported with the use of finasteride for the prevention or reversal of hair loss. In fact, there is a whole forum now for men that are suffering from something called ‘post-finasteride syndrome’. Men that have gone on finasteride or Propecia for many years to halt their hair loss, which has lowered their dihydrotestosterone levels. DHT is responsible for accelerating hair loss. The problem is that DHT is also responsible for sexual energy, libido, rigidity, muscle mass, body fat, metabolism, and things like that; so, when you drop it too low, you might have a full head of hair, but you are not going to be able to optimally function sexually.
What a lot of these men have unfortunately found is that even if they get on testosterone replacement therapy, their DHT levels remain low. Even if they get their DHT levels up into a normal range, they remain unresponsive. We don’t know what happens to cause post-finasteride syndrome, but it’s terrible for the men that suffer because there’s very little that you can do except give them a high level of testosterone and some DHT analogs to try to augment their androgen levels a little bit. Finasteride is not the best form of treatment for hair loss. There are several lawsuits pending right now for men that are suffering from finasteride syndrome. Of course, we know minoxidil, which is Rogaine, is available in some doses OTC. It’s marginally effective. Some are more effective than others, which depends on the type of hair loss, but it’s not very effective as a single treatment.
Now let us review the compounded hair products that are available and have shown to be effective for the treatment of alopecia when applied directly to the scalp. There are compounded formulas that combine FDA-approved medications and alternative therapies, creating a custom product designed to treat, prevent, and reverse hair thinning and loss due to androgenic alopecia.
One of the ingredients is latanoprost. There have been some studies on latanoprost and the effectiveness of growing and thickening hair that’s being lost. A lot of us are familiar with Latisse, which is bimatoprost; also, related to latanoprost to increase length and thickness of eyelashes. It was originally a glaucoma drug which was then found that if you drop it on the eyelashes, they grow very thick and long. It cleared the FDA and became a medication called Latisse. There is latanoprost, which is the same efficacy as bimatoprost. There have been some studies that have specifically used topically applied latanoprost on scalp hair. It not only helped growing hair but it also helped thickening existing hair, which of course, really helps fill in some of the gaps of thinning hair. We have seen this option prescribed now since 2007 and have seen nothing but good feedback. You do have to be consistent with taking it.
Ketoconazole, some of us are familiar with. It’s an antifungal medication that has shown to block DHT in the scalp, so that’s another useful medication.
Spiranolactone, which is a diuretic prescribed for edema. It’s also prescribed for female pattern baldness. Women cannot use finasteride because it would completely shut down their testosterone and affect their endocrine system. Truthfully, men shouldn’t take it either but spironolactone is a very mild androgen blocker, so it’s not like finasteride where DHT is blocked completely. It will block some of the receptor sites and lower the androgen level, so if a female is suffering from pattern baldness due to excessive androgens, spironolactone can be a very conservative therapy to block those excess androgens. Of course, it also applies to acne. It has been prescribed for females with acne, and men as well. The problem with giving men spironolactone is that it can lower their testosterone.
Azelaic acid is another naturally occurring substance that has also been shown to inhibit 5-alpha-reductase in human skin when applied topically, so this is another DHT blocker that doesn’t become systemic like finasteride, and can possibly lower hormone levels.
One company created a line of products called Andro-Block. There are different formulas depending on what you want to do, but basically, these formulas are combined with these ingredients we just discussed into a single solution depending on what the goal is. They offer a line of custom compounded scalp solutions for hair restoration. Andro-Block products contain these combined ingredients in a single solution designed for specific goals. There are multiple formulas available to allow for treatment and customization.