Big Pharma just developed a new “Franken-drug” to fight female hair loss.
According to the International Journal of Dermatology, Australian researchers recently tested a combination of spironolactone — a drug used to treat high blood pressure and acne — and minoxidil, the active ingredient in Rogaine®.
Some of the 100 female participants in this 12-month study reported modest hair growth and less shedding. But others experienced side effects ranging from hair growth in unexpected places — such as on their faces — to hives and low blood pressure.1
That’s not surprising. A list of the side effects of these two drugs could fill a book.
For example, spironolactone carries a black-box warning for tumor risk. Chronic toxicity studies show it can cause tumor development in rats.
And minoxidil’s unwanted side effects include facial and body hair, irregular heartbeat, fainting, chest pain, unusual weight gain, difficulty breathing and even serious allergic reactions.
These are chemicals I wouldn’t want to put in my hair or in my body. And I don’t want you to either.
Fortunately, it is possible for you to prevent hair loss and even restore hair growth using the ingredients nature has provided for thousands of years.
How Hair Loss Differs in Women and Men
While hair loss and balding are typically seen as a man’s issue… about one-third of women experience hair loss — known as alopecia — at some time in their lives.
As a matter of fact, up to two-thirds of postmenopausal women develop thinning hair or bald spots.2
The most common type of hair loss in women is what’s called androgenetic alopecia, or female-pattern hair loss.
Women usually see gradual thinning at the part line, followed by hair loss that spreads from the top of the head. Unlike men, women’s hairlines rarely recede, and women rarely become bald.
Hair loss in women is considered less socially acceptable than in men. Which means alopecia can have devastating effects on a woman’s emotional well-being and quality of life.
Steps You Can Take Now to Combat Hair Loss
The good news is this condition has several age-old natural treatments. Here are three of the ones I most often recommend to my female patients:
- Biotin (also known as vitamin B7 or vitamin H) has been used traditionally to make hair grow stronger and healthier. It increases your hair’s elasticity and thickens its strands.3 In one 2015 study, women with thinning hair who took a supplement containing biotin saw significant hair growth and less shedding.4 A 2012 study produced similar results.5 Biotin is difficult to obtain from food, so I recommend an oral or topical supplement of 5,000 mcg per day.
- Black cumin seed oil has powerful antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that make it ideal for maintaining scalp health.6 In a 2014 study, an herbal hair oil containing Nigella sativa reduced hair fallout by up to 76%.7 Another study found that a mixture of coconut oil and black seed oil was effective in promoting hair growth.8 You can buy black cumin seeds at health food stores or online and use them like any other spice. Or look for organic 100% pure black seed oil, which you can rub liberally into your hair and scalp.
- Panax ginseng, or “true” ginseng, is another natural remedy for thinning hair. A 2018 review found that phytochemicals like those present in ginseng have demonstrated hair growth-promoting effects in a large number of preclinical studies.9 Like black seed oil, panax ginseng can be massaged directly into your scalp. You can also buy it in supplement form. Be sure to get panax ginseng, not American or Siberian ginseng. I recommend 200 mg daily.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS
1. Sinclair RD. “Female pattern hair loss: A pilot study investigating combination therapy with low‐dose oral minoxidil and spironolactone.” Int J Dermatol. 2018;57(1):104-109.
2. Harvard Health Publishing. Harvard Women’s Health Watch. Treating female pattern hair loss. [https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/treating-female-pattern-hair-loss.] Updated November 14, 2018. Accessed August 19, 2019.
3. Shelley WB and Shelley ED. “Uncombable hair syndrome: Observations on response to biotin and occurrence in siblings with ectodermal dysplasia.” J Am Acad Dermatol. 1985;13(1):97-102.
4. Ablon G. “A 3-month, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study evaluating the ability of an extra-strength marine protein supplement to promote hair growth and decrease shedding in women with self-perceived thinning hair.” Dermatol Res Pract. 2015;2015:841570.
5. Glynis A. “A double-blind, placebo-controlled study evaluating the efficacy of an oral supplement in women with self-perceived thinning hair.” J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2012;5(11):28–34.
6. Sawarkar SP, et al. “Nigella sativa seed, a novel beauty care ingredient: A review.” Int J Pharm Sci Res. 2016;7(78):3185-3196.
7. Dulal SR, et al. “Formulation and finding out the efficacy of the herbal hair oil over simple coconut oil (purified) – a formulation and clinical study in Bangladesh.” Int J Pharm Sci Res. 2014;5(5):1801-1805.
8. Muhammud A, et al. “The effectiveness of coconut oil mixed with herbs to promote hair growth.” Int J Ethics Eng Manage Edu. 2014;1(3):2348-4748.
9. Choi B. “Hair-growth potential of ginseng and its major metabolites: A review on its molecular mechanisms.” Int J Mol Sci. 2018;19(9):2703.