If you have been researching effective hair fall treatments, you must have heard the term ketoconazole. Ketoconazole is an antifungal medicine that is mainly used to treat skin infections. Apart from treating different types of fungal infections, a few researchers have found that ketoconazole might be helpful in the treatment of hair loss that is caused by androgenetic alopecia, which also can be referred to as male pattern baldness. Various researchers believe that ketoconazole helps treat hair fall by affecting DHT, the hormone responsible for losing hair in men.
Although ketoconazole is a valuable and safe addition to your hair care routine that will help you to a certain extent, it is not a miracle product that will completely cure your hair loss. Like any other type of non-prescription treatment for hair fall, there are numerous rumours and myths about its effectiveness and usefulness. As you read on, you will learn about various myths about ketoconazole as a non-prescription hair loss treatment. You will also come across some scientific evidence that will help you understand precisely what ketoconazole can do for your hair and how you can include it into your hair care routine.
What is meant by ketoconazole?
Ketoconazole is an antifungal medicine, and it can be found on the market either in the form of ketoconazole tablets or cream. It is mainly used to treat various common fungal infections, including tinea pedis or athlete’s foot, tinea corporis, which is also known as ringworm, and tinea cruris or jock itch.
Currently, this medicine is not used as a standard way of treating fungal infections. This medicine is mainly used when the most common fungal infections are either unavailable in the market or cannot be used due to side effects.
Certain shampoos designed to treat fungal scalp infections like scalp ringworm can also consist of ketoconazole in the form of an active ingredient. Ketoconazole shampoos are claimed to be a treatment for dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis. One common and reliable brand for ketoconazole shampoos is Ketomac.
Is ketoconazole helpful in hair loss?
Suppose you have ever spent hours on blogs or discussion boards that mainly deal with men’s hair loss. In that case, you must have come across the recommendation of ketoconazole shampoo as one of the best treatments for hair loss and certain other medications. Supporters of ketoconazole shampoo believe that this particular component is capable of disrupting the effects of DHT. DHT / dihydrotestosterone is a hormone produced as a by-product of testosterone and is mainly responsible for male pattern baldness.
Suppose you are genetically more inclined towards androgenetic alopecia or male pattern baldness. In that case, the DHT in your body can attach itself to the receptors present in your scalp and eventually damage your hair follicles.
Research on the relationship between male pattern baldness and ketoconazole has mixed assessments. Some studies have observed that ketoconazole might help prevent hair loss.
Which is more effective, Ketoconazole or Minoxidil?
Commonly heard myths are that ketoconazole’s effectiveness in treating and preventing hair loss is higher than medications for hair loss.
First, even though ketoconazole does have some positive effects on the growth of hair but the amount of research to prove the effectiveness of ketoconazole is minimal. Hence, better research studies with a broader scope on this are essential.
In a particular study that the journal Dermatology published in the 1990s, the researchers compared the effectiveness of minoxidil, a popular medicine for hair loss, and shampoo that contained two per cent of ketoconazole. This study found that both the types of treatment resulted in the improvement in the size of the hair and the proportion of hair in the anagen phase of the hair growth cycle by a similar percentage or amount. Although the observation of this study is interesting, it is essential to keep in mind that the researchers believed that more research is necessary before making any rigid conclusions regarding the effectiveness of these ingredients. Irrespective of the size of this study, it is interesting to see the significant impact of ketoconazole on the cycle of hair growth.
If you want to improve the growth rate of your hair, then including ketoconazole in your hair care regime can be a good idea.
Is ketoconazole capable of blocking DHT?
Another myth relating to ketoconazole, as already mentioned, is that it can block the transformation of testosterone to DHT or dihydrotestosterone. This male hormone causes damage to hair follicles and hence is responsible for male pattern baldness.
The amount of scientific research regarding the link between DHT levels in the body and ketoconazole is minimal. A paper published in the journal named Medical Hypotheses found that ketoconazole might help disrupt or block the pathway of DHT in the scalp, which might affect hair loss related to DHT levels. No studies were conducted to show the apparent use of ketoconazole in reducing DHT levels in your body or scalp.
Therefore, you should not rely entirely upon shampoos containing ketoconazole as a treatment for hair loss. Instead, if your hairline is receding and you want to lower DHT levels in your body, then you should see your doctor.
Can shampoo containing ketoconazole help in the regrowth of lost hair?
Yet another myth about ketoconazole is that its usage will help in the regrowth of hair that has been lost due to androgenetic alopecia or male pattern baldness.
Ketoconazole cannot help you grow hair that you have lost to male pattern baldness, but it may help you grow back the hair that has been temporarily lost due to seborrheic dermatitis. It is a type of scalp condition responsible for temporary loss of hair. Sure, researchers have found that a fungus named Malassezia is related to hair shedding in case of seborrheic dermatitis. The hair loss that is caused by seborrheic dermatitis is neither genetic nor is it caused due to DHT. Hence it is not related to male pattern baldness. Since ketoconazole effectively treats seborrheic dermatitis, people may mistake the hair growth after successful treatment of seborrheic dermatitis as regrowth of the hair loss due to male pattern baldness.
But the truth is that the hair loss due to male pattern baldness is more or less permanent until and unless you go for treatment in the initial phase itself. Apart from this, hair regrowth is possible only through hair transplant surgery.
Ketoconazole shampoo is safe and effective; however, it should not substitute for hair treatment prescribed by your doctor. Moreover, since everyone is different, it’s essential that before using ketoconazole medications, you consider the potential ketoconazole tablets’ side effects that you might have to go through.