One is the vasodilator high strength minoxidil, which is used to encourage accelerated hair growth, whilst the other is an oral tablet, finasteride 1mg, which can be taken by medically-suitable men aged 18 and over, to inhibit the formation of dihydrotestosterone – DHT.
This is the hormone which can start attacking the hair follicles in genetically-predisposed men any time following puberty, causing gradually thinning hair along the top of the scalp – the ‘vertex’ – from crown to temples – and a receding hairline. This can lead to eventual baldness in these affected areas if left unchecked.
Researchers have been trying to develop a topical form of finasteride 1mg, for a number of years, the reasoning being applying the drug directly to the scalp may have a reduced potential side effect profile, and it may also be able to be used by some women.
However, new research coming out of Seoul, in the Republic of Korea, has shown that transdermal delivery of finasteride powder using microneedles and a diffusion enhancer may also be a worthwhile candidate.
Sustained drug release over three day period
The team from the Department of Biotechnology at Yonsei University and Juvic Inc. developed a topical formulation of powder finasteride (FNS) and a novel delivery system involving transdermal microneedles coated with the powder, to create micro-channels in the skin for the drugs to pass through.
Whilst microneedling is popular among some topical hair loss treatment users, we are only aware of small-scale trials into its efficacy and safety having been carried out to date. The Korean research authors advise a “low delivery efficiency and concerns over patient safety of SMNs [solid microneedles] remain major limitations of the treatment.”
It was for this reason the team invented a novel, patchless powder-finasteride delivery system which could be self-administered straight into the skin without the previous safety issues associated with solid microneedles – the type typically found on home-use microneedling devices such as dermarollers.
Transdermal microneedle patches have been used to deliver medication in a number of illnesses and health conditions already, and it is an area of medicine which is currently being explored for a range of potential uses, including insulin patches to help manage diabetes.
The South Korean team advised in their report, published in the Journal of Controlled Release, “we introduced the concept of a diffusion enhancer for this system, which facilitated the dissolution and release of the implanted FNS powder to achieve its successful intradermal delivery.
Using implanted FNS powder as a reservoir inside the skin, this novel system permitted sustained release of the implanted FNS powder for 3 days with only one application of FNS-PCMs [finasteride-powder-coated microneedles].
In addition, compared with the topical FNS-gel, the developed system showed a higher efficacy in promoting hair growth and increased the amount and density of hair while addressing the safety concerns.”
Belgravia superintendent pharmacist and senior hair loss specialist, Christina Chikaher, said of the news, “As long as the amount of powder released into the skin can be properly controlled, this could be a possible treatment for the future. The article says that this can be self-administered, though I couldn’t find information on how they ensured accurate drug delivery, but it looks promising. I am always of the belief that a topical preparation of finasteride, well-delivered, could have beneficial results with a potentially reduced potential side effect profile.” Continues below…
Current options for Male Pattern Hair Loss treatment
Whilst the potential risk of serious side effects from finasteride 1mg is currently considered ‘uncommon’, affecting an estimated one in every 100 users, some men looking at preventing baldness do opt for alternative treatments.
This approach generally revolves around the use of a customised male hair loss treatment course featuring formulations of the aforementioned, dose-dependent topical solution, high strength minoxidil, used once or twice per day, as advised by the recommending hair loss specialist.
This topical treatment can be supplemented with a number of hair growth supporting products, including the FDA-cleared LaserBand. This popular, wearable device features patented teeth which comb through the hair, parting it as it’s worn, so the medical-grade low level laser therapy (LLLT) it dispenses gets straight to the scalp, rather than just the hair. This allows it to stimulate the follicles, encouraging strong, healthy hair.
HairMax, the device’s manufacturers, claim the LaserBand products – which are used 3 times per week for either 90 seconds (82 model) or 3 minutes (41 model) – have a 93 per cent success rate.
Belgravia offers its clients additional elements such as clinical therapy sessions at its London hair loss clinics, whereby a personalised session featuring a relaxing mix of therapies such as scalp massage, red light therapy, LLLT and scalp steaming, to help boost hair health.
Hair Vitalics for Men, an exclusive one-a-day food supplement developed by Belgravia hair experts, also fits well with a pharmaceutical treatment plan, though it can also be taken to simply help maintain normal healthy hair growth. It contains a highly-targeted blend of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and botanicals, including biotin, zinc, selenium and saw palmetto.
If you are worried about losing your hair, either after noticing signs of hairloss or feeling a drop in your usual hair density, and would like to explore ways to keep your hair, although many of the treatments in development may sound fantastic, they could still be a long way off yet. Therefore, given Male Pattern Baldness is a permanent and progressive condition, it’s wise to seek advice on what options may be best for you, as early on in the process as possible.
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.