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.
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.

female hair loss

A recent study has shown that a drug usually used to treat prostate cancer in men could help in the fight against female hair loss.

Hair loss in women is arguably even more devastating than its male equivalent, as few are the women who feel confident in shaving their heads and embracing the bald look. And up to now, it has always been harder to treat, too – the diffuse nature of female hair thinning means hair transplant is rarely a viable option.

However, there could be a light at the end of the tunnel, as scientists have now discovered that the prostate cancer drug bicalutamide could have a ‘significant’ effect on hair regrowth.

How can a prostate drug treat hair loss?

One of the major causes of hair loss in women is an overproduction of the male hormone testosterone – often during the menopause.

In prostate cancer, if testosterone reaches the cancerous cells it can cause tumours to grow rapidly; if the hormone is blocked, the tumours don’t just stop growing but have been known to shrink. So prostate cancer drugs like bicalutamide work by blocking testosterone production.

It’s early days, but in a recent trial involving seventeen women with hair loss, more than half showed “significant” hair regrowth within a few weeks of using the drug.

How did the study work?

During the trial, seventeen women were given a daily dose of the prostate drug bicalutamide, in pill form, for a minimum of six months. The results were assessed by a team of dermatologists, who agreed that 53% of the women showed “significant” regrowth after using the drug.

The study, which was published in the journal Dermatologic Therapy, was carried out by a research team from Ramon y Cajal University Hospital in Madrid. With the pilot trial showing such promising results, it is hoped that a larger study will be rolled out in the near future. Watch this space!

What if I want a solution for female hair loss now?

If you can’t wait for prostate drugs to become widely available to treat female hair loss, then don’t worry. There are plenty of options already on the market, from hair loss shampoos to hair systems to scalp micropigmentation.

Why not book a consultation with one of our hair loss experts today to find out which of these treatment options could work for you. Call 0121 312 2999 to book your consultation with the experts at The Hair Ambulance.

diet and hair loss

We all know it’s important to eat a well-balanced diet, for all sorts of reasons – it makes us feel better, keeps us in good shape and can even help us live longer. But did you know that what you eat can also have an impact on your hair loss?

There are three main ways that your diet can affect your hair:

  1. Certain key nutrients are necessary for hair growth

If your diet is low in certain nutrients, that can be a major influence on thinning hair. Vitamin C; B vitamins such as biotin and niacin; zinc and iron are some of the most important nutrients for hair growth, so if you’re suffering from hair loss it might be worth examining your diet to see whether any of these elements are lacking.

  1. Crash dieting can lead to hair loss

Again, it’s no secret that crash dieting isn’t good for you – if you’re looking to lose weight, then slow and steady always wins the race, both in terms of long-term success and the effects on your physical health.  And once again, this can cause problems with hair loss too.

This kind of hair loss is, in part, linked to a lack of nutrients as mentioned above: a diet that is heavily calorie-restricted is unlikely to contain enough proteins, vitamins and minerals to keep the body functioning as it should.

But it’s not just about nutrient-deficiency – sudden and major fluctuations in body mass index (BMI) can put the body under extreme stress, which in turn can lead to a condition known as telogen effluvium.

Although temporary, telogen effluvium can be devastating – it causes high numbers of hair follicles to go into “resting” mode at once, which means large patches of hair could fall out quite suddenly.

  1. Overeating can also be associated with hair loss

OK, so there’s not a direct link between overeating and hair loss – you won’t wake up the morning after a pizza binge and find clumps of hair lying on your pillow – but there is a definite association between obesity and alopecia.

Obesity can play havoc with your hormones, and it’s no secret that hormones are the most common culprits when it comes to hair loss. And it’s not just a hormonal problem: if you’re overweight it can put a huge strain on your heart, and hair loss is a major side effect of many blood pressure and cholesterol medications.

So what’s the take-home message? It’s simple really: eat sensibly and healthily. Not too much, not too little, and try to make sure you’re getting enough of the key vitamins and minerals.

For more advice on diet and hair loss, 0121 312 2999 to book your consultation with the experts at The Hair Ambulance.

traction alopecia

Whilst there are many causes of hair loss in women, androgenetic alopecia – or female pattern hair loss – is by far the most common. So it is easy to assume if your hair is thinning that genetic factors are at play.

However, before you resign yourself to thinning hair for life, it is always worth considering other possible causes of the problem. One common – but often overlooked – culprit when it comes to female hair loss is traction alopecia.

What is traction alopecia?

Traction alopecia is a type of hair loss that occurs when hair is pulled tightly from the root – usually from styling choices like weaves, extensions and cornrows, but super-tight ponytails can also be a problem if worn regularly. Although it is more common amongst women, men can suffer from traction alopecia too.

How can I tell if my hair loss is traction alopecia?

An easy way to recognise traction alopecia is by looking at the pattern of your hair loss. Androgenetic alopecia in women (female pattern hair loss) tends to present as a diffuse thinning of the hair across the entire scalp.

Traction alopecia, on the other hand, usually shows most prominently around the hairline. There are other warning signs, however, which could help you to nip the problem in the bud: if you wear your hair in one of the styles above and experience headaches regularly, that could be an early symptom of traction alopecia.

Other signs that should start alarm bells ringing are:

  • A bumpy scalp
  • Sensitivity when releasing hair from the style
  • Itching at the roots of the hair

What can be done to treat traction alopecia?

As traction alopecia affects the actual hair follicles, once the damage has been done it can be difficult to treat.

However, luckily the problem is easy to prevent. Experts recommend giving your hair regular breaks from styling – ideally with a one to one ratio – so if you wear braids for a month, you then take a month off.

If you think you might have traction alopecia, why not book a consultation with one of our hair loss experts, who can assess the extent of the damage and advise you on potential treatment options. Call 0121 312 2999 to book your consultation with the experts at The Hair Ambulance.

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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