Male pattern baldness, also known as androgenic alopecia, is one of the leading causes of hair loss. It’s also one of the most intractable – it’s caused by the interplay of genes and male sex hormones. Research into ways to halt it have not been in vain, however. One small study found an extract from mangrove trees reversed the mechanisms of male pattern baldness and promoted hair growth.
The substance, called Avicennia Marin, contains the key chemical Avicequinon-C.
This active compound is thought to reverse hair loss by interfering with enzymes which lead to elevated hormone levels that cause baldness, the MailOnline reports.
The study researchers suggested the findings could help people suffering from pattern baldness to reverse their hair loss.
Avicequinon-C had been on the radar of Scientists from Chulalongkorn University for years and they recently won an award from the National Research Council of Thailand for their investigations.
To gather their findings, the extract was tested on 50 male and female participants suffering from androgenic alopecia.
The participants were required to apply the substance on their scalp every day.
Professor Wanchai Deeknamkul, from the faculty of Pharmacognosy and Pharmaceutical Botany, noted that the extract’s benefits extended beyond preventing hair loss – the substance also promoted hair growth.
The Thai researchers photographed the progress of the 50 participants regularly and observed consistent improvements.
“We found out it had many benefits. First, it stops the enzymes from producing hair loss hormones and second, it could also help produce the protein that stimulates hair growth,” he said.
Professor Wanchai continued: “The mangrove extract will be tested on more volunteers before it can be officially approved by Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration.
“We screened more than 50 herbal extracts and more than 20 pure substances and found that Avicennia Marin extract contains the active ingredient avicequinone C, which inhibits the enzyme that produces hair loss hormones.
“Also, Avicennia Marin extract helps to build proteins that can promote hair growth as well. Thus helping to solve the problem of hair loss completely.”
The extract is a far more appealing alternative to cosmetic products, which often come with nasty side effects, he added.
Other tried and tested treatments
There are things you can try if your hair loss is causing you distress.
But most treatments are not available on the NHS, so you’ll have to pay for them.
According to the NHS, finasteride and minoxidil are the main drug treatments for male pattern baldness.
“Minoxidil can also be used to treat female pattern baldness. Women should not use finasteride,” warns the health body.
Some wigs are available on the NHS, but you may have to pay unless you qualify for financial help.
Other hair loss treatments include:
- Steroid injection – injections given into bald patches
- Steroid creams – cream applied to bald patches
- Immunotherapy – chemical applied to bald patches
- Light treatment – shining ultraviolet light on bald patches
- Tattooing – tattoo used to look like short hair and eyebrows
- Hair transplant – hair is removed from the back of the head and moved to thinning patches
- Scalp reduction surgery – sections of scalp with hair are stretched and stitched together
- Artificial hair transplant – surgery to implant artificial hairs.
Some of the above treatments may not be available on the NHS.
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