Mane problem: Evidence of long COVID hair loss could spur demand for effective natural solutions
The Hong Kong-headquartered company specialises primarily in nutraceutical and pharmaceutical ingredients.
Recently, the company made its entry into the beauty and personal care market with HairAGE Vitae, an Ageratum conyzoides extract. Commonly known as billy goat weed, it is a widely available plant found in Africa, Asia, and South America.
R.V. Venkatesh, managing director, Gencor Pacific told CosmeticsDesign-Asia that the firm sees huge potential in the APAC hair care market for the ingredient, which can be applied to a variety of products, including herbal shampoos and leave-on gels.
“APAC is a big beauty market and compared to other markets, what we’ve found is that people in APAC are more conscious about the hair,” he said. In particular, Venkatesh highlighted opportunities in North Asia and South East Asia.
The rise of the clean beauty movement coupled with the increased interest in health has spurred demand for natural hair care products as well as products that tackle concerns such as hair loss in the region.
Hair loss and long COVID
Venkatesh expects the demand for anti-hair loss products to become more prevalent, especially as hair loss is among one of the negative effects of long COVID.
“There are multiple papers published now that are showing that one of the effects of the long COVID is hair fall both for men and women. Post-COVID hair loss is a big issue that is affecting people, so that area has huge potential and opportunities for us.”
Venkatesh referenced a study published in Nature Medicine of 2.4 million people in the UK, which found that people experiencing long COVID reported a wider set of symptoms than previously thought, including hair loss.
Furthermore, a team of Brazilian researchers, which found that hair loss was the most commonly reported (48%) post-COVID-19 manifestation among over 5,000 patients.
In its latest double-blind placebo-controlled study, Gencor proved that Ageratum conyzoides extract could significantly increase hair density and significantly reduced hair loss ratio in adult males and females.
The results from our study demonstrate a net increase in hair growth following topical application of 0.5% strength Ageratum conyzoides gel twice daily.
Significant changes in hair density from baseline levels in the A. conyzoides group were seen as early as 8 weeks, while the placebo group showed no difference from baseline.
The company believes the ingredient has “interesting prospects” and will continue to conduct more research on it to explore its potential, said Venkatesh.
In addition to hair care, Gencor also has its sights set on the skin care market, especially in the sensitive skin segment.
“Skin care is one area we will be actively looking into. I think the timing is good to enter the beauty segment because there’s a demand for natural solutions backed by science.”