Back in 2007, CBS News investigated Avacor, a product claimed to be a 100% natural herbal hair loss treatment, whose company guaranteed hair growth and promised a 90% success rate.
It wasn’t a 100% natural product though. It contained Minoxidil, listed on the ingredients by its chemical name.
And as they delved deeper, they found Dr David Gordon (who appeared in the company’s TV advert) working in the offices. He claimed “I have nothing to do with the manufacture of this product” before closing the door on the reporter. CBS found he was no longer licenced to practice medicine, after being arrested and convicted for “massive Medicaid fraud while he was a Queens radiologist”, stealing $2.2m by claiming he’d read sonograms he hadn’t, for which he spent “two and a half years behind bars”. The prosecutor claimed Gordon still owed the state $500,000, they “never got a cent” and having received this new information he would endeavour to recover the money.
Dramatic though that is, for us the interesting thing is that it appears the company has tried to create a product that would sell and be effective. So they made what looks like a natural, herbal medicine (because that’s what people want to buy), and then put Minoxidil into it (because that’s what works).
So let’s get this straight. We all would prefer a natural hair loss remedy. We could debate what ‘natural’ means for a while but it’s one of those marketing words that makes people feel comfortable. So, ‘natural’ doesn’t necessarily mean nice or healthy (being eaten by lions is natural) but, to marketers, it’s a great word and it makes people buy more stuff. Marketers love ‘natural’.
But .. we think he knew his ‘natural’ product didn’t work. So he added Minoxidil, a scientifically proven hair loss drug developed and produced by the pharmaceutical giant The Upjohn Company.
And there he had the perfect hair loss product: something that appeared natural so people bought it, that worked because it had an FDA approved hair loss drug hidden inside.
Incidentally, the perhaps more powerful hair loss treatment Propecia is only available for men, and only on prescription, so he couldn’t put that in and offer the product to all. For men, we usually recommend both.
It illustrates perfectly the dilemma people with hair loss work through. People want something natural, maybe they try a few things but they don’t work (they waste their money) and they eventually come to The Belgravia Centre where we can give them a proven hair loss treatment plan with the best possible chance of success. The problem is, many try unproven treatments which don’t work for them, causing them to give up on treatment for their hair loss before they have even tried the proven treatments.
Our battle is to make it clear that the proven treatments work best when hair loss is caught early, when it’s just thinning hair. When you notice that, it’s time to start. Don’t waste a year trying natural remedies.