Among nonsurgical treatments for hair loss, nutraceuticals, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and camouflage techniques work reliably for a variety of patients, said experts at The Cosmetic Bootcamp. Other hot trends range from low-level laser therapy (LLLT) to peroxide-free hair products.
With a wide range of high-quality botanical and micronutrient ingredients, Nutrafol (Nutraceutical Wellness Inc.) and Viviscal (Lifes2Good) exemplify the multidimensional approach necessary to succeed against the multifaceted pathology of hair loss, said Wendy E. Roberts, M.D. She is a Rancho Mirage, California-based dermatologist at Generational and Cosmetic Dermatology.
Nutrafol's saw palmetto slows production of 5-alpha reductase and prevents it from converting testosterone to DHT, said Jeanine B. Downie, M.D. "This inhibits 5-alpha reductase type 2 and promotes a stable hormonal balance via several anti-androgenetic and hormone rebalancing activities." The results can be life-changing for patients, said Dr. Downie, who is director of image Dermatology PC in Montclair, New Jersey.
"Nutrafol is very standardized. I explain to patients that the turmeric they're getting from CVS is not the same," she added. Impeccable ingredient quality and a standardized extraction technique make Nutrafol's turmeric 700% more bioavailable than traditional curcumin extracts, said Dr. Downie. Accordingly, Nutrafol significantly lowers the bioinflammatory markers (such as C-reactive protein and the erythrocyte sedimentation rate/ESR) that set the stage for hair loss, according to a November 2017 publication by Farris et al. in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology.
"Many people come in, and the only thing they'll tell you is, 'I'm a little itchy.' Maybe it's the heat from the blowdryer or curling iron; maybe it's the overprocessing by perming the hair. But something is creating that microenvironment of microinflammation on your scalp," said Dr. Downie.
Nutrafol's standardized ashwaghandha addresses stress hormones, free radicals, thyroid function and estrogen levels. This ingredient decreases the typical chronically stressed adult's cortisol levels by an average of 35%, added Dr. Downie. "My patients comment after they've been on Nutrafol for six or eight months that they actually feel better."
Nutrafol's vitamin E component (tocotrienols and tocopherols) is 200% more bioavailable than over-the-counter vitamin E, said Dr. Downie. "It significantly increases hair counts, by 34% on average, by lowering the lipid peroxidation." Kelp battles oxidative stress and helps regulate thyroid and estrogen levels, according to Farris et al.
Viviscal's Amino-Mar complex is a proprietary blend of proteins, lipids and glycosaminoglycans derived from stable marine sources. The development of Amino-Mar stemmed from observations that the Scandinavian Inuit diet (which is high in protein from caribou and Arctic char) contributes to thick, black hair. In a pilot trial, subjects who took Viviscal for 10 weeks experienced an average 46% reduction in hair shedding.
Dr. Downie has been a researcher, consultant or advisory board member for Nutraceutical Wellness Inc. (Nutrafol), Restorsea, Lifes2Good (Viviscal) and Regimen MD.
Dr. Roberts has been a speaker, consultant or researcher for Allergan, Eclipse, Lifes2Good (Viviscal), Restorsea and Vitalize.
Wendy E Roberts MD. "Noninvasive Approaches to Hair Loss," The Cosmetic Bootcamp. June 23, 2018.
Jeanine B Downie, MD. "Clinical Assessment of Hair Loss," The Cosmetic Bootcamp. June 23, 2018.