A very reliable source (who doesn’t trust Oprah?!) recently stated in an article about Hair Loss, that scientists are currently working on Latisse (the FDA-aproved eyelash growth enhancing serum) to make it into a scalp treatment that can be used on people that want to enhance hair growth.
Bimatoprost, the synthetic prostaglandin in the prescription lash-growth serum Latisse, is in clinical trials for FDA approval as a topical scalp hair loss treatment. It could be available in the next few years.
This is a great idea, in theory…
Latisse works by tricking the body into extending the normal hair growth cycle. Instead of growing and shedding at your body’s usual pace, Latisse helps your body hold onto your hair follicles longer. By doing this, your existing hairs are enabled to grow longer than they normally would, and your hair appears thicker because while retaining your current hair follicles, your body is still growing new hairs.?
A daily scalp treatment that encouraged hair growth would be a great way to help the millions of people trying to combat thinning hair, and even those with normal hair that just want thicker, longer hair for vanity reasons would also be easily marketed to.
The problem with using Latisse on your scalp is multifold though.
Firstly, Latisse, in it’s current iteration is expensive. A tiny little opthomologic bottle containing 5mL of product retails for $185.00. Because such a small amount is needed to treat the lash-line, people can mitigate the cost as one bottle can last for several months. However, in order to have enough product to cover a person’s entire scalp, daily, would require a tremendous amount of bimatoprost (the technical name for Latisse). The results only last as long as you are using the product, so even if someone was willing to shell out $6,000 for one month’s worth of Latisse scalp treatments, this would be an expenditure that would need to be continued for as long as the patient wanted to maintain their hair results. When dealing with Latisse, the eye-lash growing effects are considered “cosmetic” and therefore the product is not covered by insurance. Would insurance cover a hair-growing treatment for the scalp? In order for this to be a hair option that regular people could actually enjoy and benefit from, the price would have to be cut dramatically.?
When you apply Latisse, you are supposed to carefully trace the lash-line so that product is only deposited on the hair-follicles you want treated. Early in my Latisse usage, I was sloppy with my application, and after a few weeks my magnifying mirror showed me the downside to this: along the outer-edges of my eyes, I now had growth of fine, dark hairs, that were never there before. If the presence of bimatoprost on the skin exacerabtes the presence of any hair, how can a scalp treatment be applied without causing unwanted hair growth all over the body? Due to the concentrated amount of product that would have to be used to cover a scalp, everytime a treating patient would shampoo their hair, they would inadvertently have this product running down all over their body. Essentially, it would be like their entire body was being treated with bimatoprost everyday too, and considering the massive market that exists for hair removal– I can’t imagine that people would be happy about strips of body-hair popping up on their necks, backs, chests, legs, etc.
The science definitely exists, and there is huge demand for a treatment that would enhance natural hair growth. I will anxiously await to see how Allergan (Latisse’s parent company) develops this test-product so that it is feasible from both a price and side-effect stand-point.?
Image of long hair from http://www.aliexpress.com