Avacor® Hair Regrowth Blog
2Jan/130

New Hair Loss Treatments

Hair loss has been an issue for centuries, but scientific ways to treat hair loss began to take off in the past 60 or so years. Ointments, transplants, formulations, chemicals, snake oils, and many other products have emerged in the hair loss treatment markets, some of which work well, others which do not. When choosing a hair regrowth treatment, it is important to understand whether a product or method is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), whether it will treat your specific situation, and whether the treatment has any side effects that could be potentially hazardous to your overall physical or emotional health.

Image courtesy of uk.askmen.com

Hair follicles are self-regenerating; they produce strands of hair, shed it, and reproduce new hair constantly. However, at some point, the hair follicle stops producing new hair, or produces new hair at a slower rate than the hair is shed, causing hair loss and sometimes baldness. It is this concept that must be understood when creating new ways to treat hair loss. All hair loss treatments aim to assist (or in some cases, replace) hair follicles in producing new hair, whether naturally or synthetically.

Drugs

As far as hair treatments from a lab go, two main drugs have emerged as the leaders in treating hair loss. Minoxidil slows hair loss and promotes hair growth when used correctly. It helps to maintain the hair you have, and is most effective when used in the earlier stages of hair loss, as opposed to when you are bald or close to it. The other drug commonly used is Propecia. Unlike Minoxidil, which has proven effective for both men and women, Propecia only works on men, because it works to stop male hormones (testosterone) from forming DHT, which shortens the hair growth phase. Several studies have revealed that Propecia produces more side effects than Minoxidil, including loss of sex drive, and several other side effects. (Avacor® hair loss treatment products use Minoxidil and are specifically formulated for men and women).

Men looking to treat hair loss can use one or both of these drugs. However, neither will be effective unless used correctly, as directed by the product.

Surgery

Surgeries are another way people treat hair loss, and are an $800 Million industry in the U.S. alone, and a $2 Billion industry worldwide, according to the Wall Street Journal. Hair transplants have developed significantly over the last several decades. In the 1980s, large grafts of hair follicles were removed from one area of the head and inserted onto the area experiencing hair loss. The procedure was often painful and the results were mixed; in some cases, hair transplants were quite successful, but not for everyone. Results took a long time to look natural as well. Scalp reduction is another out of date procedure that involved several small incisions on the scalp, which left visible scars.

Nowadays, hair transplant surgery is less invasive than before, requiring much smaller grafts of just one to four hairs. These smaller grafts are less painful and invasive, and have a more natural look since the areas are smaller and more close together.

The Next Evolution: Hair Follicle Regeneration

The new wave of hair loss treatment is hair follicle regeneration. This is essentially a jump start for hair follicles that have stopped or slowed new hair production. Several labs and companies are working on this process, and have seen success manipulating hair follicle stem cells in a test tube. Some companies are experimenting with removing human hair follicles and growing them in a lab. The idea is that if the hair follicles can be re-stimulated using science, then reinserted onto a person’s head, the hair follicles will begin working properly again, growing hair naturally and combating hair loss. This takes hair transplant procedures to the next level by expanding the number of new hair follicles you receive from a hair transplant.

Some people have referred to this process as “hair cloning,” but this is not an entirely accurate description, since the process does not create a new organism. Rather, it is a duplication effort that puts follicles that have the potential to produce new hair into implants that stimulate new growth. M.D. George Cotsarelis predicts this new transplant process is between 5 and 10 years from becoming publicly available.

New Genes

Another recent development in the hair loss treatment world is a new gene called “Sonic hedgehog.” This gene essentially is able to convert hair in the resting stage into new hair growth. Scientists are still in the early stages of experimenting with this gene (and others) to try to control hair follicle size and the growth rate for new hair. If successful, it could become a powerful and popular new way to treat hair loss. Similar experiments are occurring as you read this article in labs all over the world. Using genetics to treat hair loss is similar to how scientists are using genetics to treat disease and other human conditions. These processes and procedures are constantly being updated, and like many other areas of treatment, scientists are paving the way toward new and improved hair loss remedies.

Vitamin D

According to the Wall Street Journal, vitamin D is crucial to hair regrowth. Thus, many efforts to develop new hair loss treatments focus around adding more vitamin D into a person’s diet. In addition to stimulating hair growth, vitamin D also has other benefits for the body, such as improving bone growth. However, too much vitamin D can also cause kidney issues or general weakness, so take care not to overdo it. In many cases, simply changing your diet can actually help with hair loss. Adding the proper amount of vitamin D into your diet from fatty fish and sunlight can help you treat hair loss naturally.

3Oct/120

Facial Hair Grooming Tips

Facial hair is unique to men and serves a variety of purposes. For some, it provides warmth, especially when working outside. For others, it is a natural accessory to complete a look. Some men use facial hair as a status symbol, especially by younger men to try to look older or more mature. And in some cultures, growing facial hair is expected.

Facial hair, like the hair on your head, should be groomed. How often you groom it is up to you, but if you let it grow without any care or attention, you will end up with a bushy, tangled beard. For some guys, this type of beard is exactly the look they are going for. If you do choose to grow facial hair, there are a few grooming and styling tips to keep in mind.

Man Shaving

Image courtesy of Menshealth.com

Styles. There are a variety of styles of facial hair. Beards, goatees, mustaches, and sideburns are the most common. Some men do a type of goatee/mustache/sideburn combination, while others grow a full beard. Some men change their facial hair look frequently, altering from clean shaven to various facial hair styles, while others grow and maintain facial hair for years or decades. If you are unsure what will look best on you, there are a variety of apps that allow you to preview different facial hair styles on a photo of your face.

Trimming. Trimming your facial hair is an important part of grooming and styling. How often you trim it is up to you and the look you are going for. Some men trim or shave their face daily, while others let it go for a few days or even weeks before they clean it up. Most men with facial hair still shave or use clippers to get rid of at least some of the hair. For a beard, you might put shaving cream on your face, trace your jawline, and shave everything underneath. You might do the same for sideburns or goatees, tracing the shape of the style and shaving everything else off.

One popular method for trimming facial hair is giving it a fade. Use the shortest setting on your trimmer or clipper for the bottom quarter-inch of your beard, then use the second-shortest setting on the next quarter-inch up, and so on as you move up your neck and face. Try to blend in the different lengths so you cannot see lines where you changed clipper settings.

Maintenance. Facial hair, like the hair on your head, should be cared for and maintained. This will help it look better, as well as give you healthier facial hair to match your healthy head of hair. Every time you wash your face in the shower, use a small amount of shampoo on your beard, followed by a dime-size dab of moisturizing conditioner that you leave in for about 10 seconds before rinsing. Conditioner helps your face avoid drying out and helps with dandruff from your facial hair.

Other Tips. Keep beards even and trimmed for a more professional look. For sideburns, don’t let them go more than an inch wide. For the most part, keep them at mid-ear level, though you can go a bit longer if you have a long and thin face. Do not let them grow past your ear. Also, grow facial hair that will accentuate your face shape. For example, a thick mustache is a nice way to cover up a large philtrum (space between your upper lip and nose). A short scruffy beard gives more depth to a skinny face, and a square bottom beard can help hide double chins or a thick face. Goatees help elongate round faces. Whatever style you choose, make sure it’s one you feel good about.

26Sep/120

4 Hair Grooming Tips for Men

Men’s hair grooming habits vary widely. Some men use top of the line products and make sure each hair is positioned perfectly, while others simply get up and go. There is not necessarily a right or wrong way to groom and style your hair; it really depends on your personal preference and look you are going for. However, there are a few things all men should consider to help maintain a full, healthy head of good looking hair.

Man Styling His Hair

Image courtesy Ehow.com

1. Shampoo. Shampoo plays a big part in grooming your hair. But, there are a few things to keep in mind. The first is the type of shampoo you use. Consider your hair type: is it thick, thin, oily, dry, etc.? The bottom line is, most shampoos will work fine for most men, but for men with oily or thinning hair, it is probably best to use a shampoo designed for that particular hair type.

As far as how often you should shampoo your hair… most doctors agree that every day is too much. Your hair is a fiber. Think of it for a moment like a wool fiber in a sweater. The more often you wash the sweater, the faster the wool fibers will wear out, and the worse the sweater will look over time. Washing your hair too often can actually damage your hair. However, some men also complain that if they don’t wash every day, their hair gets greasy. Try to commit to wash just every other day, and see if your hair adapts and becomes less greasy after a few weeks on your “off” days.

2. Conditioner. Conditioner is just for women, right? Wrong. Conditioners add moisture to your hair and scalp, and help prevent maintenance issues like tangling. Like shampoos, different conditioners are available for different types of hair. Some focus on adding moisture for dry hair, or adding volume for thinning hair. Leave-in conditioners are popular as well and help make your hair more manageable.

How often you use conditioner depends on your hair type. If you have moist hair, then using conditioners often may make your hair look oily or greasy. If you have dry hair, you should use conditioner more frequently (several times a week) to help it stay moist.

3. Other Products. Aside from shampoo and conditioner, several other products exist that help men style and groom their hair. Hair gels, hair sprays, creams, pomades, waxes, and mousses are all different hair product options men can use to sculpt or style hair the way they want it to look. However, these products can also hurt your hair over time. If you cannot get your desired style naturally, try to avoid using heavy gels, especially cheaper gels, as they weigh down on your hair, and make your hair look crusty or flakey (which can be mistaken for dandruff). Also, you can train your hair to fall a certain way on your head. For example, if you comb your hair the same direction each day, your hair will eventually fall in that direction naturally.

4. Drying. Drying your hair is another part of hair grooming. Some men opt for a blow dryer, as it is fast and helps style your hair. Others use a towel, while some simply let the air dry their hair. In general, a blow dryer puts a lot of heat on your hair, which can damage it, so avoid those if possible. Pat—don’t rub—your hair dry with a towel; if you rub it with a towel, the motion can cause strain on the hair follicles and even pull out your hair. Try patting it with a towel to get the beads of water off, then air dry the rest. Air drying your hair also helps prevent hair loss, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Filed under: Hair Care, Men, Style No Comments
31Aug/120

Hereditary Hair Loss: Get the Facts

Hereditary Hair loss can affect both men and women. It is caused by genetics, and hormones and the aging process also play a role. The medical condition of hereditary hair loss affects many. In women it is called Androgenetic Alopecia, and affects 30 million alone. For men is it commonly referred to as balding, or receding hairlines, but the condition is called male pattern baldness.

Fact: “Hair loss effects 30 million women”

The condition can be caused by a number of different genetic factors so it can come from the mother’s or father’s side, can skip generations, and affects all ethnicities. Male pattern baldness and androgenetic alopecia is caused by the hair follicle going through a progression of miniaturizing, and leading to a shortening of the hair cycle and eventually all together shutting down growth.

Fact: “40% of men experience hair loss”

About 40% of men and women will experience some type of hair loss as they get older. Men usually start in their 20’s-30’s and women more often after menopause. Hereditary hair loss is unlike other hair loss symptoms.

Fact: “100 hairs lost per day, on average”

An average person can lose up to 100 hairs per day, or even more due to illnesses, childbirth, or other conditions. With male pattern baldness and androgenetic alopecia, the hair falls out more in a pattern. In men, hair loss begins at the temples or crown. In women it can be more throughout but typically begins at the top and goes down the middle around the part. These conditions are typically diagnosed by the pattern, and also looking at family history.

Prevention and Treatment

Hereditary hair loss is very common and also treatable. Since hair loss is a progressive condition, the sooner it is treated the better the success. The hair cycle slows down and eventually will stop growing altogether. There are a number of different treatments and options out there. Checking a family tree from both sides can often predispose any conditions. If treatments is started early enough, the slowing down of the condition could be highly affected. Hair loss with this medical condition is permanent. Once the hair stops growing completely it is irreversible.

The #1 treatment option for men is a product with Minoxidil. Avacor Physicians Formulation® for Men can show the reduction of hair loss and improving of hair regrowth in as little as two months time. For women experiencing hair loss or thinning Avacor Physicians Formulation® for Women that can show results in as little as four months. In more extreme cases hair transplantation and seeing a dermatologist is another option.

2Aug/120

20 Hair Resources for Men

Below are 20 men's hair resources hand picked by our staff. You'll find a mix of websites, blogs and social media all bringing you the latest and greatest on men's hair, style and fashion.

hommeSTYLER is a menswear, style, hair and grooming blog that covers men's fashion commentary, style advice, menswear trends and grooming for the modern man. It features the latest news on men's fashion, runway shows, editorials and street style.

Balding Blog is a daily journal written by doctors about hair loss and treatments. You can ask a question or read about the personal experiences and opinions posted by these professionals. This site is meant to educate about hair loss and news.

American Hair Loss Association - Videos, research, and articles on hair loss. Children, men, women, new studies on hair loss gene. Thyroid, nutrition, hair transplant trials to name a few topics discussed. Product and ingredient studies. Education and research forums.

Israel21c is a middle east blog on health, style and culture with an international appeal.

HairLoss.com on Twitter - Hair loss information, conditions, and solutions. Posts about alopecia, male pattern baldness, hair extensions, treatments, costs and everything in between.

Battle Against Bald - Men battling hair loss and their success stories. Interesting articles and videos on success stories of hair transplants.

Hair Loss Haven - Established in 2005 as a resource for people dealing with hair loss. Reviews, blog, resources, news, charity news, and promotions.

The Urban Gentleman (Hair) - Urban trends, articles, photos, information on latest tips, grooming techniques, balding and hairstyles. Healthy eating and healthy hair information.

Esquire (Men's Fashion) - A style blog and and online resource for men. Blogs and articles on men’s health, hair and fashion.

Balding Blog on Twitter - Doctors discussing different hair treatment options. World class hair restoration forum.

WebMd (Hair loss health center) - Resources and treatments for men and women. Hair loss information.

The American Hair Loss Association is dedicated to educating and improving the lives of anyone involved in hair loss. Creating public awareness and bringing attention to the subject in the news, media, and society as a whole. Publications, resources, and organizations. Discusses science of hair loss, different types of loss, treatments, and research.

MedicineNet - Hair loss prevention, loss, and treatment options. Discusses, and viewers share the different types of hair loss and their experiences with treatments and products.

Men's Hair Blog (Facebook page) - Anything and everything men’s hair related!

Men's Health - Great website and online magazine about men’s health, style, fitness, and nutrition. All the latest research on men’s hair loss. Talks about the science and battle against genetic hair loss.

Health Tips A2Z - Health and hair. Talk about all different health and body related issues. Follow to learn about different health and hair problems and to learn about different tips and solutions!

Be Stylish! - How to be stylish! Whether it be clothes, shoes, or hair, you can find it here. Different topics and advice such as how to get a haircut if you are balding, and summer fashion trends.

Ask Men (fashion) - A great website on everything men. Fashion and style trends. Grooming and product reviews. Accessory and clothing advice and trials.

Hair Tips on Twitter - Talk of different hair loss. Personal trials and errors. Product reviews.

About Men's Hair - Information about everything men’s hair by Dave Alexander. Discussions about styles, grooming, products, trends, and reviews.

9Sep/110

High Dose Minoxidil Products

Lack of Evidence for Safety and Efficacy?

Several online distributors now offer products that contain minoxidil in higher doses than have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or that contain minoxidil in combination with additional active pharmaceutical ingredients.

Although the FDA has only approved minoxidil at concentrations of two percent (2%) for women or five percent (5%) for men in the treatment of hair loss, some products available over the internet contain minoxidil at concentrations as high as 15%. Many are formulated with additional ingredients such as azelaic acid, retinoic acid, caffeine, and even finasteride (the active ingredient in Propecia®), in combinations that have not been reviewed by the FDA.

The FDA evaluates two major concerns when considering new drug applications – safety and efficacy. Until these products are tested in clinical trials, there is no way to ensure that they are safe or to know whether high doses of minoxidil even provide any benefit over products that have been approved by the FDA.

Misleading Marketing?

Some consumers may find the marketing of these products to be misleading because of references to the FDA or to claims based on FDA-approved products containing 2% or 5% minoxidil.

The website for MinoxidilMax claims to offer “effective hair regrowth products... for male pattern baldness (alopecia androgenetica)” with “unmatched effectiveness.” Their products are manufactured “by an FDA registered cGMP compliant facility,” contain “the only effective ingredient approved by FDA in topical hair regrowth solution,” and have “the maximum strength of FDA approved hair growth stimulator (15% minoxidil).”

Consumers who read further on the company's website may be surprised to find that their products are not FDA-approved and that “the statement on this website has not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”

Another manufacturer, Perfect Image Solutions, offers high dose minoxidil products “specifically formulated to treat conditions associated with male pattern baldness (Androgenetic Aloepicia).”

The FAQ section of the website relies on the long history of FDA-approved minoxidil products like Rogaine® to imply that high dose minoxidil products must also be safe:

How do I know using a high concentration of minoxidil isn’t an overdose?
Minoxidil has been on the market for over 20 years with an extremely low incidence of side effects, especially from topical application.”

Although claiming that the products are “clinically proven to yield unparalleled results in the field of hair loss,” manufactured in an “FDA registered cGMP compliant facility,” and that all ingredients, “including Minoxidil must meet all FDA guidelines,” the website does not provide any evidence of clinical trials demonstrating the safety or efficacy of its products.

FDA Takes Action

Earlier this year, Regrowth LLC, a well known distributor of high dose "specialty" minoxidil formulations (formerly sold under the name Xandrox), released the following statement on its website:

“We're very sorry to inform you that Regrowth LLC has to suspend all operations at this time. In an ongoing audit, the U.S. FDA has deemed our medications to be 'unapproved illegal drugs'.”

Regrowth LLC had been selling minoxidil formulations containing 15% minoxidil (three times the FDA-approved dose contained in products such as Rogaine® and Avacor Physicians Formulation®).

On May 25, 2011, the FDA initiated a recall of 57,999 bottles of Regrowth LLC's products, stating that “[t]hese products are unapproved drugs and may present potential health hazards.”1 Based on this recall, it would not be surprising if the FDA takes action to stop other distributors of high dose minoxidil formulations/combinations from selling unapproved drugs in the future.

Conclusions

At the time of posting this article, we are unaware of any clinical trials proving that products containing higher concentrations of minoxidil than 5% are safe or more effective than FDA-approved products containing 5% minoxidil.

In January, Dr. Glenn Charles, a member of the International Alliance of Hair Restoration Surgeons, commented:

“I have not seen any studies comparing 5% Minoxidil with higher % Minoxidil concentrations. I would imagine that the incidence of side effects might be higher with greater % of Minoxidil. However, many of the reported side effects might actually be caused by the other ingredients in these hair loss products containing Minoxidil.”

If you are still interested in experimenting with formulations containing high dose minoxidil or combinations with other active ingredients, it may be a good idea to consult with a physician before you begin using any such products.

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1. Enforcement Report for May 25, 2011: RECALLS AND FIELD CORRECTIONS: DRUGS - CLASS II. FDA.gov (accessed September 8, 2011).
http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/EnforcementReports/ucm256794.htm

2. Photo above from Occupycorporatism.com