So you heard about a new treatment on the radio, or you’ve seen an ad for one online. Or maybe someone posts a comment in a discussion forum, and everyone is clamoring for it! How do you know what to believe? How can you know if this product really will work? Dr. Richard Lee gives several simple steps on how to effectively evaluate a hair loss treatment to make sure its worth your time…
Quite frequently, I have been asked by my patients to give an opinion in regards to a proprietary product for the treatment of male pattern baldness. (For the purposes of brevity, I’m going to use MPB in referring to male pattern baldness and female pattern baldness). A few decades ago, this would have been a rhetorical question, as there were no known medications proven to be beneficial and safe for the treatment of MPB. However, today, there are scores of products, either medications or medical devices, which have been advocated to grow hair. So, how can you evaluate the claims of a product?
Analyze the Ingredients!
First of all, take careful note of the active ingredient or ingredients. Have the ingredients been proven to do whatever has been claimed in the advertisement? Are there references to studies in recognized scientific or medical journals? I innately distrust any medical product, which does not list its ingredients. I also have misgivings in regards to products that have a multitude of active ingredients, not because each ingredient may not be safe and effective. They may very well be. But there could not possibly be adequate studies to prove that all of the ingredients are compatible in the same solution or when administered together. Even with FDA approved medications there can be incompatibilities among drugs used for the same purpose, e.g. penicillin and tetracycline.
Does it Grow Hair, or just make it look better?
It is also important to distinguish pharmacologic from cosmetic actions of the product. There are many products, which can make the hair ‘thicker’ or ‘fuller’, but they have nothing to do with stimulating hair growth or preventing and reversing MPB.
(Editors Note: A perfect example of this were the ProSante line of hair products for “Fine and Thinning Hair”. Shaklee announced a line of shampoos and tonics that were marketed specifically to hair loss sufferers, but never actually stated it would stop or reverse male pattern baldness.
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