The global “facial injectables” market is on track to grow to $5.4bn over the next three years, but what few people consider in their quest to smooth out wrinkles is that there is a chance that products could lead to hair loss.
What could make things worse is that unapproved versions of dermal fillers are starting to become more widely available, especially online, including Juvéderm Ultra 2, 3 and 4 which the FDA has flagged up as currently being distributed illegally in the US.
Not cleared for sale online
The FDA – America’s Food and Drug Administration – cautions that these products are not cleared for sale in the country, and further warns that any Juvéderm products should only be injected and sold by a licensed health care provider.
While stories of hair loss caused by approved or unapproved versions of facial fillers are not widespread, one story in 2015 highlighted the potential dangers. So severe was the incident that the FDA published an inquiry report into the event, which was a woman’s account of patchy thinning following Restylane dermal filler injections.
The case had been reported to the FDA by a physician after a woman undergoing facial augmentation had developed what was described as an “intense burning sensation” in her right temple.
Two weeks later, she had a bald patch on the same spot, something that was diagnosed as having been caused by the autoimmune disorder Alopecia Areata. A degree of Scarring aka Cicatricial Alopecia was also observed. The FDA recommended that patients considering dermal fillers were warned of Alopecia Areata as a rare potential side-effect.
Using unlicensed fillers and those from questionable sources is only likely to increase the chances of potential problems, which would certainly not be limited to hairloss. When people buy drugs online, they sometimes either knowingly or unwittingly bypass a huge number of safety-nets that have been put in place by regulatory bodies, not least the proper storage of medications which is needed to retain their efficacy.
Several years ago, a former doctor named Raghbir Singh was given a suspended sentence for selling hair loss drugs that were not legally available in the UK; the same year a man living in Wales was found guilty of selling more than half a million pounds’ worth of fake health products, including some aimed at people who were losing their hair.
In fact, Ronald Noble, the Secretary General of Interpol said that counterfeit drugs were ‘more deadly than terrorism’, with 200,000 people dying from using ‘fake drugs’ in a single year in China alone. As long ago as 2008, 10 per cent of UK men admitted to buying prescription-only medicines from unregulated sources such as the internet.
Why take the risk?
But why would anyone take such a risk? The answer, usually, is that the price of name-brand medications is sometimes cheaper online, and there is also the potential appeal of saving time by not having to visit a doctor or specialist. But a customer can never really be sure what he or she is buying. One US hairdresser recently spoke out about the dangers of buying cheap shampoos and conditioners, for example, explaining that when they are discounted it is often because they are no longer fit for purpose and are potentially dangerous.
The most common hair loss drugs in the UK and US are called minoxidil and finasteride 1mg and these have been licensed by the MHRA and licensed by the FDA (medical regulatory bodies) for use on Male Pattern Baldness, and as treatment for female pattern hair loss (Minoxidil only).
Whilst male pattern hair loss treatment courses can include either or both the DHT-blocker finasteride 1mg and appropriate formulations of high strength minoxidil, finasteride 1mg cannot be used in women’s hair loss treatment courses as it is only suitable for adult men.
Additionally, supplementary hair growth supporting products can be used alongside these recognised treatments. These range from at-home LLLT which uses FDA-cleared hand-held laser devices to stimulate the follicles, and bonus nutritional support can come from highly-targeted food supplements such as Belgravia’s exclusive Hair Vitalics which contain key vitamins, minerals, amino acids and botanicals, including biotin, zinc and selenium for the maintenance of normal healthy hair growth.
When following a treatment plan from a reputable hair loss clinic you not only have peace of mind that the medication you are prescribed is genuine and suitable for use. Clients also benefit from on-going support from their appointed, dedicated specialist who can answer any queries as they come up. In addition to this they regularly monitor changes in hair growth and – where necessary – tweak their course components to ensure they are following the optimum plan for their needs at all times.
The Belgravia Centre is an organisation specialising in hair growth and hair loss prevention with two clinics and in-house pharmacies in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world’s largest gallery of hair growth comparison photos and demonstrates the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time to arrange a free consultation.