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What Is The Best Shampoo For Hairloss?

What is the best shampoo for hair loss?

Most of the patients I see in consultation nowadays are relatively well informed about the available treatments for androgenetic alopecia. They usually already know about the two available medical treatments: finasteride which is a pill, taken once daily, and minoxidil which is a liquid applied twice a day. However I’m frequently asked the following question - "What is the best shampoo to use to help my hair?"

Most of us have probably already seen the large variety of different shampoos sold in the chemist’s and in supermarkets which claim to help with hair loss. Unfortunately if we look carefully at the labels of these products we discover that most if not all of them are only offering a cosmetic improvement.

In other words they just temporarily make the hair look thicker, but they do not actually grow any new hair. Of course this doesn’t mean that they are totally useless. A cosmetic improvement might help someone a lot if they have fine hair.

Other shampoos may contain ingredients which actually grow new hair, or slow the rate of loss. However if they haven’t been through full medical trials to prove it they won’t be able to make claims of hair growth on the label like the approved medications such as finasteride and minoxidil. Given that such medical trials can cost billions of pounds to carry out it isn’t surprising that most companies can’t afford to test their shampoos to such a high standard.

One shampoo which I always recommend to patients is called Nizoral, which can be bought over the counter in most chemist’s shops. It isn’t sold as a hair loss shampoo but as a treatment for fungal infections, but it contains an ingredient called ktoconazole which is known in the medical world for its anti-androgenic properties. This means it may have the ability to block the effect of androgens, such as DHT, which attack the hair root.

I’ve read several studies which looked at the topical application of ketoconazole as a treatment for androgentic alopecia and most of them report positive results. According to one study it is as effective at hair growth as a 2% minoxidil solution.

Since we all have to wash our hair anyway, this shampoo represents a useful extra tool in any hair loss treatment programme.

Dr Peter Griffiths

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