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Food Supplements, Hair Lotions, Conditioners, Scalp Oil, Shampoos, Laser Combs, Prescription Tablets, Herbal Remedies

Question : Can food supplements, Emu oil, special pills, herbal concoctions or laser combs really help us to re-grow lost hair ?

In a recent edition of the Daily Mail, Dr Andrew Messenger, a consultant dermatologist and male hair loss specialist, checked out eight products that claim to prevent or reverse male pattern baldness. Below is a review of his opinions.

Hairloss remedy type 1: Food Supplements

The food supplement reviewed was PK4 Hair Soya Protein Capsules by Phillip Kingsley. It is claimed that the supplement, which contains amino acids, helps build proteins that lead to optimum hair growth. Dr Messenger argues that although ingesting additional amino acids may make a difference for someone with a severe protein deficiency, it will not have any impact on hair loss in a healthy male. Overall score 0/10

Hairloss remedy type 2: Hair Lotions

The hair lotion reviewed was Regaine, which is a brand name for minoxidil. It claims to prevent further balding once hair loss is noticed, and even to stimulate re-growth. Dr Messenger agreed that minoxidil can increase hair density when massaged into the scalp twice a day. Clinical trials show an increase in hair density of around 10%, although it appears to be more in some men. He warns that treatment has to be maintained, or hair density will be lost again. Overall score 8/10

Hairloss remedy type 3: Conditioners

The hair conditioner examined was Alpecin Caffeine Liquid Hair Energiser. The manufacturer claims that caffeine protects weakened hair roots from the effects of testosterone, and prevents hair loss. Dr Messenger does not believe that a conditioner could contain a high enough concentration of caffeine to make any significant difference to hair roots, even if positive effects are seen in the laboratory. Overall score 1/10

Hairloss remedy type 4: Scalp Oils

The scalp oil featured in the article was Australian Golden Emu Oil, which is said to promote hair re-growth by up to 45%. Dr Messenger suggested that the very limited testing of Emu Oil so far did not constitute a clinical trail and until scientific evidence is provided he would not recommend patients try this method to promote re-growth. Overall score 0/10

Hairloss remedy type 5: Shampoos

The shampoo reviewed by Dr Messenger was Profol Bio T Advanced Formula Hi-Potency Shampoo by Julian Jay Hair and Scalp Clinic. It claims to control excessive hair loss using Biotin, known as vitamin H or B7. Dr Messenger agrees that Biotin deficiency can cause hair loss but this is extremely rare, and a healthy person using extra Biotin in a shampoo is unlikely to have any effect at all on hair loss. Overall score 0/10

Hairloss remedy type 6: Laser Combs

The Hairmax Premium was the laser comb reviewed, and Dr Messenger does support its claims that it can stimulate regrowth to a certain extent. He believes that the laser transmitted into the scalp can trigger hair follicles that are resting or inactive to actually grow a hair. Although this is a relatively new technology, the clinical trials are promising. Overall score 6/10

Hairloss remedy type 7: Prescription Tablets

Propecia, a brand name for finasteride, was the tablet reviewed by Dr Messenger. Finasteride tablets are taken once a day, and are supposed to prevent further hair loss and encourage re-growth. Dr Messenger agrees that there is a great deal of clinical evidence to support this, and that finasteride works by stopping testosterone being converted into DHT which is the main cause of hair loss. He suggests two thirds of men will see a 10-15% increase in hair density, but that treatment must be maintained to keep that benefit. Overall score 10/10

Hairloss remedy type 8: Herbal Remedies

The herbal remedy featured in the article was a Proto-col trichologen natural food supplement. Its manufacturer claims that the plant extract saw palmetto, which is its main active ingredient, can regulate levels of DHT which causes male pattern baldness. Dr Messenger states that although he is familiar with saw palmetto, he knows of no evidence to suggest that it has any impact on hair loss. Overall score 0/10

Dr Messenger concluded that although there are some treatments that do prevent further hair loss and promote re-growth, such as minoxidil, finasteride, and the laser comb, their effectiveness should not be exaggerated. An increased hair density of around 10-15% is the maximum a man with male pattern baldness could expect to gain from any of these treatments.

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