hair loss drug

While hair loss treatments are being tweaked and improved all the time, it has actually been twenty years since a drug to treat hair loss has been approved. But all that could be about to change, as no less than three European pharmaceutical firms are currently inching closer to the hair loss product launch we’ve all been waiting for.


Swedish biotech firm Follicum is currently in phase II clinical trials with its contender, which is based on a variant of the protein osteopontin. Follicum scientists came up with the idea whilst researching treatments for arterioscelosis, when they observed that the protein could increase hair growth in mice.

Further investigation showed that osteopontin could actually stimulate dormant hair follicles, and two clinical trials on an injectable form of the drug have shown positive results in humans. Trials are now underway on a topical cream version of the product.


Italian biotech Cassiopea is also going down the topical treatment route. Their product works by blocking the production of DHT – a known contributor to androgenic alopecia (male or female pattern baldness) – to have a preventative effect on hair loss, as well as reversing some existing damage.

Diana Harbort, CEO of Cassiopea explains: “Our drug actually antagonises the negative effect of DHT around the follicle, slowing down the hair loss or stopping it. And those follicles that aren’t completely shut down due to DHT, they start producing hair again.”

Cassiopea’s product, Breezula, will enter phase III clinical trials this year, with phases I and II having proved successful, meaning it could be the first new hair loss drug to hit the market in twenty years.


Another Italian firm, Giuliani has been looking at a particularly novel way of treating hair loss. They’ve been studying drugs for other conditions that cause unwanted hair loss as a side effect, and have managed to identify some completely new ways to stimulate hair follicles.

So far, these compounds have proven effective at growing human hair in organ culture in the lab, so the next step is to find some human volunteers to test them on.

So with three new hair loss drugs in the offing, the future looks bright: could 2020 be the year we stop hair loss in its tracks?

autoimmune hair loss

Following in the footsteps of Ricki Lake, Girls writer and co-star Lena Dunham took to Instagram recently to open up about her own hair loss issues.

Dunham, who told fans in November that she has been suffering from the autoimmune disorder Ehler-Danlos syndrome, has now revealed that her decision to shave her head in 2017 came as a direct result of hair loss associated with EDS.

Telling the bald truth

Dunham wrote an emotional post to fans, saying: ‘2 and a half years ago I shaved my head. Not in a fun sassy way, but in a “my hair is all falling out from my autoimmune disease, better rush to the barbershop and pay them 7 bucks to do this” way.’

Never usually one to shy away from telling things how they are, she went on to say that at the time, she “didn’t have very many health answers” and so didn’t know how to explain her condition.

“I also didn’t know how to express my fear to the people around me,” she wrote, “so they just thought ‘There goes Lena getting another erratic hair cut like she has every week since she was seven.”

“Bald is f***ing beautiful”

Although Dunham’s hair has now regrown, she was keen to emphasise that she doesn’t think “long, luscious locks” should be a woman’s defining feature: “that’s why I have an essential issue with the culture of hair gummies and extensions ordered on the home shopping network.”

About autoimmune hair loss

It is an acknowledged fact that autoimmune disease can often be linked to hair loss – alopecia areata is itself an autoimmune disorder, and there is an increased risk of alopecia in people suffering from any other condition that causes the immune system to attack itself.

Luckily, as Dunham has experienced, hair loss due to autoimmune disease is often temporary and resolves itself spontaneously, without need for treatment. Call 0121 312 2999 to book a consultation at The Hair Ambulance for more advice.

itchy scalp and hair loss

While most of us associate an itchy scalp with dandruff, or perhaps even the childhood horror of head lice, experts are now warning that in some cases an itchy scalp could be an early indicator of hair loss.

Androgenic alopecia – otherwise known as female or male pattern baldness – is a genetic condition that happens gradually without much in the way of warning signs. However, some other forms of hair loss, such as alopecia areata and telogen effluvium have a much more rapid onset and doctors believe that an itchy scalp could be a predictor of these conditions.

What does an itchy scalp have to do with hair loss?

A tingling, itchy, or burning sensation on the scalp is known medically as paresthesia, and whilst it can have many causes, it can be a symptom of alopecia, known as trichodynia.

Hair loss experts claim that the sensation can be linked to irritated hair follicles, meaning the hair is about to fall out, or can even be as a result of the hair having already been ejected from the follicle.

Whilst a burning sensation on the scalp can also be a result of using certain chemicals or cosmetic products, doctors say this is not a reason not to seek treatment – the tingling is your body’s way of warning you that something isn’t quite right, and that something could be your hair.

What should I do if I’m experiencing an itchy scalp?

The first port of call would be your GP, but it could also be worth visiting a hair loss expert.

A GP can treat any underlying medical condition, which should, of course, be your first priority, but if the itching is associated with a condition that could lead to hair loss, a hair loss expert will be able to help you minimise the impact of the problem and advise you on possible hair loss products.

If you’ve been feeling tingling or burning sensations on your scalp and are concerned it could be hair loss related, why not book a consultation with us today. Call 0121 312 2999 to book a consultation.

hair loss in women and alcohol

The sober revolution is making it big this year, with support groups for those attempting ‘one year no beer’ popping up all over social media. So we all know the many detrimental effects alcohol can have on our health, but did you know it could cause hair loss?

Alcohol and hair loss – a gender imbalance

Whilst excessive alcohol consumption is bad for everyone, studies show it is worse for women than for men as the enzyme dehydrogenase – which is responsible for breaking down alcohol and eliminating it from the body – is less active in women than in men.

So how does drinking too much wine lead to hair loss in women? Well, while a direct causal link is unclear, there is one association between the two issues which is obvious to anyone with a knowledge of hair loss in women.

Hormone imbalance and hair loss

Drinking alcohol to excess can play havoc with a woman’s reproductive system, causing her menstrual cycle to become erratic or even stop altogether, and leading to huge hormonal imbalance.

Aside from genetics, hormone imbalance is one of the most common reasons for hair loss in women – we suffer from hair loss in pregnancy, post-childbirth and during the menopause, so it stands to reason that anything that messes with our hormones could also cause hair loss.

What to do if you think alcohol is causing your hair loss

Luckily, most hair loss caused by hormonal imbalance is reversible, so the answer to this is pretty simple – cut back on your drinking (or ideally stop altogether) and you should see your hair return to its former glory.

However, before making any major lifestyle changes, it is important to seek advice from your GP – although cutting out alcohol can never be a bad thing, if you are drinking enough to cause hair loss, chances are you may need to cut back gradually. It’s also important to rule out any other underlying medical conditions that could be a factor.

hair transplant advice
Premier League footballers are perhaps the most renowned hair transplant enthusiasts of all celebrities – surpassing even actors and rock stars in their desire to maintain a full head of hair.
So are these sportsmen just more vain than their peers, or is there something else at play? According to Ryan Giggs, the latest (former) footballer to join the hair transplant ranks, it’s all about the stress of the game.

Stress-related hair loss

Former England player and sometimes Wales manager Giggs told the Daily Mail:
“Football is stressful. You put yourself under pressure. You’re aware of the consequences if you lose a game or don’t play well. You are under the spotlight and if you have a bad game you are aware of the criticism. Then it becomes a little bit more stressful. And stress is related to hair loss.”
It is true that stress is a major factor when it comes to hair loss – whether it’s a single traumatic event causing sudden shedding, or long term, chronic stress leading to a steady decline in hair growth.
And that stress can be exacerbated for men, whose mates are unlikely to be sensitive to their feelings when it comes to hair loss. Giggs tells how he went to the pub with some friends to celebrate a win against Liverpool, aged 29. Rather than congratulate him on his football skills, these two former schoolmates pointed out the increasing bald patch at his crown.

What hair loss treatments has Giggs undergone?

The footballer’s first response on learning of his hair loss was to go for a shorter cut, to disguise the thinning area. He then visited a clinic, where he underwent a course of shampoos, laser treatments and lotions, to stimulate hair growth.
This in itself was effective enough to inspire him to become a partner in the clinic in 2015, but in 2017 Giggs decided that a 1500 follicle hair transplant procedure would give his confidence a further boost.
It took just over a year for the final results to be seen, but Giggs is very pleased with the effect: “I’m really happy with it. The only negative I have is that I didn’t do it earlier,” he told the Daily Mail.
For more hair transplant advice, call 0121 312 2999.
Childhood hair loss
The Barbie brand has had its ups and downs over the years – always hugely popular with children, its approval rating from adults has been steadily declining as parents struggle to give their daughters a more realistic body image to aspire to.
Not to be defeated, however, manufacturer Mattel has had a bit of a rebrand recently, launching the ‘Barbie Fashionistas’ range, which features 196 dolls representing various different body shapes, skin colours and hair types.
And the latest fashionista to join the line up suffers from hair loss, which Mattel hopes will resonate with those who live with childhood hair loss conditions themselves.

How common is childhood hair loss?

Although rarer than among adults, hair loss in children is still relatively common. Around 1 in 1,000 children suffer from the condition alopecia areata. Other hair loss conditions that can occur in children include:
  • Tinea capitis – also known as ringworm of the scalp
  • Trichotillomania – compulsive hair pulling
  • Telogen effluvium
  • Nutrient deficiency – most commonly zinc or iron
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Chemotherapy

How will hair loss Barbie help children with hair loss?

The short answer is, of course it won’t offer children with childhood hair loss any solution to their condition to own a Barbie with the same problem. But what the manufacturers hope is that it will help to normalise hair loss conditions, making these children feel less alone.
Certainly, the Fashionistas range has proven popular so far, showing that parents at least are keen for their children to play with a more diverse range of dolls.

What treatments are available for children with hair loss?

Because hair loss in children is less common than it is in adults, it is important to seek a professional diagnosis of the problem before undergoing any kind of treatment.
Many hair loss conditions associated with children – such as alopecia areata and telogen effluvium – tend to resolve themselves over time. Others, like tinea capitis and hypothyroidism, can be medically treated.
If you’re worried that your child is suffering from hair loss and are keen to diagnose the cause, why not contact us to book an appointment with one of our hair loss experts.
hair loss cure
There has been a wave of YouTube videos recently, advocating the use of homemade ‘scalp rubs’ to cure hair loss. These home remedies include ingredients like onion, chilli and cayenne pepper, which it is claimed will reduce hair loss and stimulate new growth.

So do these home hair loss cures actually work?

Usually, we’d say there’s no harm in giving home cures a try – since the financial outlay involved is minimal they’re a fairly low-risk endeavour, even if they don’t have much effect.
However, in this case, some doctors are suggesting that rubbing chilli on your scalp could do more harm than good. When applied directly to the scalp, chilli will produce a tingling, burning sensation, which may give you cause to think it’s having an effect – but it might not be quite the effect you’re looking for.
Consultant dermatologist and spokesperson for the British Skin Foundation Sharon Moon told the Metro: “Rubbing chilli in any of its forms directly onto the scalp can cause burning sensations, hypersensitivity and contact dermatitis, which if severe enough can potentially cause hair loss as a secondary effect.” Not ideal!

What options are available to treat hair loss effectively?

The bottom line is that you’re not going to find an effective hair loss treatment that’s as cheap as chopping up a few chillies, but if you’re prepared to invest a bit of money there are plenty of options out there.
  • Hair transplant surgery – this is a highly effective option for more advanced cases of male pattern hair loss. It’s pricey, but it works, and these days the scarring is barely visible. If you’re a woman with hair loss though, or a man with just the beginnings of a receding hairline, hair transplant surgery might not be the right choice for you.
  • Low level laser therapy (LLLT) – this has been shown to be relatively effective, particularly on female pattern hair loss, which tends to be more diffuse. Cheaper than a hair transplant, the results are not guaranteed, but you’ve got a better chance than using a scalp rub!
  • Scalp MicroPigmentation (SMP) – this one is absolutely guaranteed to work, but it’s not about slowing hair loss, or stimulating new hair growth. This revolutionary, tattoo-like treatment simulates the look of close-shorn hair. Shave your head and go for the buzz cut look, or if diffuse thinning is your problem, use it to disguise the thinning areas.
For more information on ways you can treat hair loss without heading to the vegetable garden, why not book a consultation with one of our hair loss experts today.
Which hair loss products are effective

In a recent article for the Guardian, Simon Usborne argues that the ‘hair wellness’ industry, rather than offering a solution to our problems, is in fact making money out of the fact that many men – according to a survey of 10,000 – “would rather have a small penis than go bald”.

So is Usborne right – should we all just accept hair loss as our fate and go bald as gracefully as we can?

Hair loss – a complex issue

What Usborne fails to take into account is that for some people it isn’t quite as simple as sucking it up and getting on with it – hair loss can cause some men real distress.

And as one of the interviewees in the Guardian article explains, cosmetic procedures for women have been widely accepted for many years – why should there be a stigma about men choosing to do what is effectively the same thing?

However, it is undoubtedly true that many hair loss products available today have little tangible effect, so how can you find the right solution for your hair loss problem, without just lining the coffers of another money-grabbing cosmetics manufacturer?

Do your research

The real answer is that you need to look into the claims made by the manufacBald or bust: Is the hair loss industry just playing on our insecurities? | The Hair Ambulancezturers of your chosen product or treatment in a bit more depth – don’t believe ‘what it says on the tin’, see if there is any scientific evidence to back it up.

Solutions like hair transplant surgery have a strong track record and a much higher chance of success, but it is important to know whether it’s the right option for you – if you’re too early on in the hair loss process you could end up needing several transplants over the course of your lifetime, which could be costly – both financially and emotionally.

Another option is to seek expert advice, and let them do the research for you. At the Hair Ambulance, we offer honest, impartial advice on all the different hair loss solutions available, and if we don’t think a particular treatment will work for you, we will say so. For more information, why not contact us to book a consultation.

Ricki Lake hair loss solutions

When actress and presenter Ricki Lake unveiled her new buzz cut to the internet at the end of last year, fans the world over were asking themselves what had caused her to do such a thing. And it didn’t take her long to let us know.

“I’ve been struggling with hair loss for most of my adult life”

Lake wrote a candid Facebook post alongside the picture, explaining how she has spent years battling against hair loss and has suffered from depression as a result. “There have been a few times where I’ve even felt suicidal over it,” she admitted.

Having tried various hair loss solutions over the years, from extensions and hair loss systems to supplements and steroid injections, Lake says this new look is a symbol that she is setting herself free from the struggle. She told her Facebook followers she “never could get used” to wearing extensions or wigs, and that the other treatments were ineffective.

So what caused the hair loss in the first place?

Lake blames a number of things for her hair loss but claims it all stems from her appearance in the film Hairspray when her hair was agonisingly teased into place every day on set.

With what we now know about traction alopecia and the problems caused by over-styling, this does seem like a plausible explanation, and the other factors she lists seem to be likely suspects too: she names pregnancy, birth control and extreme weight fluctuation among the possible causes, and these are all known to contribute to hair loss.

How can you be more like Ricki?

If you, like Lake, are a woman suffering from hair loss, who has tried every treatment under the sun to no avail, why not take a leaf out of her book and shave it all off?

But you don’t have to use the change to announce your hair loss problem to the world – if you’re worried a buzzcut will only exaggerate your bald patches, you could try scalp micropigmentation to fill in the gaps. For more information on SMP and how it works, click here.

prevent hair loss

Scientists from New York’s Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai have discovered a new mechanism involved in the hair loss process – one which they think could be used to stop hair loss in its tracks.

According to a study published in the journal Science, the part of the hair which surrounds the outside of the hair follicle, known as the dermal sheath, could play even more of a key role in hair growth than had previously been imagined.

What is the dermal sheath and how is it involved in hair loss?

Up until now, scientists believed that the dermal sheath’s main role in the hair growth cycle was in regenerating the dermal papilla at the base of the follicle.

However, this new study has discovered that the sheath actually works as a kind of smooth muscle, expanding and contracting to push up the hair shaft, taking the dermal papilla cells with it.

Dermal papilla cells are themselves responsible for signalling to the stem cells when the time has come to create a new hair, thus ending the life of the existing one, and beginning the shedding phase of the hair’s life cycle.

So how can this discovery help to prevent hair loss?

Well, according to the research team, one major cause of hair loss is when the communication system between the dermal papilla cells and the stem cells breaks down.

When the scientists examined this phenomenon more closely in mice, they found that the dermal sheath contracts when the hair enters the shedding phase, allowing the hair to fall out. Follow up studies have shown that something very similar happens to human hair, suggesting that if you could find a way to block this muscle and prevent it from contracting, then you could prevent hair loss from happening.

How quickly could we see a hair loss treatment based on this?

As with all scientific research, this could take a long time to come to fruition – further studies will be needed to ascertain that this discovery is indeed correct, and then the scientists would need to develop a drug that would block the dermal sheath muscle, which could also be a lengthy process.

In the meantime though, there are plenty of effective hair loss treatments already on the market – and if your hair loss is already apparent then this might not be the solution for you anyway, as it will serve to prevent hair loss but cannot undo the damage that’s already been done.

If you are concerned about your hair loss, why not call 0121 312 2999 to book an appointment with one of our hair loss experts today.

Get in touch

The Hair Ambulance is our mobile service where you can be seen by one of our experts but if you prefer you can attend one of our private hair loss clinics. Fill in the contact form and one of our team will be in touch to find out how best we can help.

Alternatively, call us on the number below or drop us a line.

0121 312 2999

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