From Prince Philip to Princes Harry and William, the men of the British Royal Family are clearly affected by Male Pattern Baldness. Yet Prince Andrew – the Queen’s second-eldest son – seems unaffected by this common form of hereditary hair loss, and now we may know why…
According to The Sun, a former Royal aide to the scandal-mired Prince, has told Daily Mail reporters that hair loss treatment during the 1990s left Prince Andrew with an inability to sweat.
The Duke of York had previously attributed his anhidrosis – the medical condition which causes the lack of sweat – to an excess of adrenaline experienced after being shot at in the Falklands war. Andrew was a Royal Navy helicopter pilot during the conflict.
During a BBC Newsnight interview regarding his role in the Jeffrey Epstein controversy, the 59 year old Royal said, “I didn’t sweat at the time because I had suffered what I would describe as an overdose of adrenaline in the Falklands War, when I was shot at… it was almost impossible for me to sweat.”
Could hair loss treatment be responsible for inability to sweat?
The anonymous aide backed the Duke’s story about having anhidrosis, saying, “We often went to Annabel’s nightclub and even after ferocious dancing, he hardly ever perspired.” But could this really be the result of hair loss treatment for his previously thinning hair?
Minoxidil is a dose-dependent topical solution which is applied directly to the areas of the scalp affected by genetic thinning, namely along the top of the scalp, from hairline and temples to crown. It helps to promote accelerated hair growth and has been licensed in the UK for the treatment of genetic hairloss in both men and women since 1988.
Finasteride, which is also sometimes referred to by its first ever brand name – back when the drug was licensed in the UK in September 1999 – Propecia, is a daily tablet taken by medically-suitable men aged 18 and over. It inhibits dihydrotestosterone – perhaps better known by its abbreviation, DHT – which is the hormone responsible for causing thinning hair and/or a receding hairline in cases of Male Pattern Hair Loss.
These two medications can be used separately or, often, together as part of a long-term plan for preventing baldness.
Neither of these MHRA-licensed and FDA-approved hair loss solutions list anhidrosis as a possible side effect. Sweating, or an inability to sweat do not appear at all on either.
Belgravia superintendent trichologist and senior hair loss specialist, Rali Bozhinova explains, “Anhidrosis can be idiopathic, meaning it can arise spontaneously with no known cause. Therefore, it could have been triggered by the war trauma he initially spoke about, but we have no way of knowing for certain what caused it.”
Off label treatment?
Although it seems highly unlikely that the authorised hair loss treatments for Male Pattern Baldness could have led to anhidrosis, Prince Andrew may have had access to what is known as ‘off label treatment’.
This is where a drug, often clinically-proven and properly licensed or approved for a different medical purpose, is used to treat something other than this. A potentially relevant example here is botox.
Botox, where the toxin botulinum is injected into the skin, is known to treat a number of health issues, from crossed eyes to hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating). It has been FDA-approved for various conditions since 1989, with its use for new conditions receiving further approvals as its efficacy and safety for each was discovered, for instance, botox received FDA approval for abnormal contractions of the eyelid (blepharospasm) in 1989, whilst approval for the smoothing of crow’s feet – lateral canthal lines around the eyes – gained approval in 2013.
One ‘off label’ use of botox is injecting it into the scalp to help improve hair growth. Various small-scale studies have looked into its use for this purpose and found it to be fairly effective, though it is not yet sufficiently proven so remains unapproved for this purpose.
As botox is known to prevent sweating, at least locally, there is a chance botox could be the ‘hair loss treatment’ Prince Andrew’s former aide is referring to. It is known to cause anhidrosis, but there are also a number of other health conditions which can bring on this condition.
Inherited conditions which affect the metabolic system, connective tissue diseases, skin damage or pore-clogging diseases including psoriasis, plus neuropathy problems including diabetes and alcoholism, as well as certain drugs, such as morphine and psychosis medications are all known causes of anhidrosis.
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.