Data published in the journal Cosmetics indicated that 18 weeks of application of a prototype gel led to visual improvement in the parietal lines and bangs.
Additional cell studies revealed that sulforaphane is involved in regulating the gene expression of aldo-keto reductase 1c1 (Akr1c2), and enzyme that degrades dihydrotestosterone (DHT). High levels of DHT are associated with androgen alopecia (AGA), and therefore degrading DHT is seen as beneficial.
“We demonstrated that sulforaphane has the potential to become a highly effective functional hair cosmetic to relieve hair loss with AGA,” wrote scientists from Gragem Co., Ltd. (South Korea) and the University of Suwon.
“We expect that sulforaphane will emerge as an alternative pharmacological treatment for AGA. As a functional cosmetic material, sulforaphane induces DHT-degrading enzymes to promote the relief of hair loss symptoms in humans.”
Androgenic alopecia, also known as male-pattern baldness in men, is a common condition that is reported to affect an estimated 30 million women and 50 million men in the United States.
There are many synthetic ingredients used to treat baldness, with two drugs approved by the US FDA for this purpose: finasteride and minoxidil.
“For new alternative pharmacological treatments, plant preparations have many advantages over synthetic substances, considering their higher compliance, fewer side effects, wider activity spectrum, and lower cost of treatment,” wrote the scientists from Gragem Co., Ltd. and the University of Suwon. “Due to the diverse composition of plant extracts, plants often possess more than one biochemical action that is effective for treating hair loss.
“Many researchers have searched continually for new medicinal plants with active ingredients that could present a viable natural alternative to already established hair loss treatments using synthetic substances.”
To see if sulforaphane has potential for AGA, the researcher performed a clinical trial with 23 men and women with AGA. All study participants were given the prototype formulation for 18 weeks.
“The results after 18 weeks of using the prototype formulation revealed a significant difference in the hair loss-relieving efficacy when compared to that before using the product,” wrote the scientists.
Additional cell studies revealed that the phytochemical was acting to up-regulate Akr1c2.
“In the end, we determined that potential functional cosmetics containing sulforaphane, l-menthol, and dexpanthenol as active ingredients promote the relief of hair loss symptoms, based on a clinical application test for hair loss.”
2021, 8(3), 63; doi: 10.3390/cosmetics8030063
“Sulforaphane, L-Menthol, and Dexpanthenol as a Novel Active Cosmetic Ingredient Composition for Relieving Hair Loss Symptoms”
Authors: Y. Park et al.