While topical applications of the clinically-proven hair loss
medication Minoxidil have achieved significant success in many cases, like most drugs it does not have a 100 per cent success rate. For people buying the product off-the-shelf as opposed to using it following a diagnosis and recommendation from a hair loss specialist a new product is being tested that could eliminate some of the guesswork.
When people choose to undergo hair loss treatment
at a professional clinic their bespoke treatment plan is overseen by experts, but those who choose to ‘go it alone’ can sometimes find themselves wondering if the products are working at all. This new device, which is now in the final stages of a two-year study, aims to help give people a better idea if they are likely to benefit from using Minoxidil
The trial is being conducted by California-based Applied Biology Inc, whose business spans a number of dermatological and hair loss interests.
In the trial registration information submitted to the clincialtrials.gov website, they state that “Minoxidil is converted in the scalp to its active form, Minoxidil sulfate, by the sulfotransferase enzyme SULT1A1. The enzyme expression is variable among individuals. We have demonstrated in two prior feasibility studies that the SULT1A1 enzyme activity in plucked hair follicles correlates with Minoxidil response in the treatment of AGA (Male Pattern Baldness
) and thus can serve as a predictive biomarker. Consequently, we developed a minoxidil response in-vitro diagnostic kit intended to identify non-responders prior to initiating therapy with 5% topical Minoxidil foam.”
The study has involved 300 men between the ages of 18 and 49, all of whom have the genetic hair loss condition measuring IIIv, IV or V on the Norwood Scale
. If their findings prove fruitful, it seems likely that Applied Biology Inc will market their device at men who are intending to buy Minoxidil off the internet or in high street chemists so that they will have a better idea of whether or not the product is likely to be right for them.
Knowing when to stick with it
There is little doubt that such a product could prove useful, as some men do abandon treatment too quickly, convinced it isn’t working for them. In fact it usually takes between three to six months to notice a real difference from using hair loss treatments, depending on the level and pattern of shedding before starting the course.
It is even common for a period of increased hair shedding
to occur when starting minoxidil treatment. This can be alarming for people who are not made aware of this or told why it can happen - and that it's often a good sign! - beforehand, causing them to stop treatment early before it has had a chance to work.
High strength minoxidil
is only one of the two MHRA licensed and FDA approved male pattern baldness treatments, however. The other is a once-daily oral pill of finasteride 1mg
. This inhibits the formation of DHT - the hormone byproduct which causes thinning hair
in cases of genetic hair loss. Whilst it is not suitable for women, men can choose between using this or minoxidil, or a combination of both.
Furthermore, both men and women can use supplementary hair growth supporting products
ranging from follicle-stimulating low-level laser therapy delivered via home-use FDA-cleared devices, to highly-targeted food supplements, such as Belgravia's exclusive Hair Vitalics.
These contain potent blends of key vitamins, minerals, amino acids and botanical extracts, including biotin, zinc and selenium for the maintenance of normal healthy hair growth.
A key difference for men and women who decide to seek treatment via a dedicated hair loss clinic
, is that their hair growth is regularly assessed and monitored by specialists, with access to on-going support from a dedicated treatment advisor and regular check-ups.