Can you really use Botox for hair loss? Read on to learn more about this new application.
Everything You Need to Know About Using Botox for Hair Loss
What Is Alopecia in Men?
Alopecia is the scientific term for hair loss. In men, the most common type of alopecia is androgenetic alopecia or male pattern baldness.
This form of alopecia is limited to the scalp. It also follows a predictable pattern of balding which usually begins at the crown of the head.
According to the American Hair Loss Association, 85% of men who are 50 years old or older have significantly thinner hair. Among the men who experience hair loss, 95% of them are cases of male pattern baldness.
What Is Botox?
Botox or botulinum toxin is a drug made from the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. It’s a toxin, but when used in small doses, can treat certain health problems such as:
- Facial wrinkles
- General excessive sweating
- Localized excessive underarm sweating
- Severe shoulder and neck contractions
- Swallowing issues
- Excessive blinking
- Overactive Bladder
Botox is an FDA-approved treatment for these conditions, but it may have other applications—such as a possible treatment for hair loss in men.
How Does Botox Treat Hair Loss in Men?
Both genetic and environmental factors contribute to hair loss in men. Essentially, a combination of these factors triggers a progressive shrinking of hair follicles.
Scientists attribute this shrinkage to dihydrotestosterone, a more potent form of testosterone. By injecting Botox on the scalp, the muscles relax and increase blood flow.
Better blood flow in the scalp means the hair follicles are getting more nutrients. On top of that, the blood flow can also wash out excess DHT in the hair follicles.
A small study provides evidence that Botox may be a promising treatment for androgenetic alopecia in males. In this study, researchers injected 5U of Botox into 30 different spots on the scalp of 10 patients with male pattern baldness.
24 weeks after the initial injections, the researchers assessed the patients’ scalps again and found the following results:
- Seven of the patients had good to excellent hair growth.
- Two patients had fair hair growth.
- One patient had little or no visible hair growth.
How Do You Use Botox to Treat Hair Loss?
To use Botox to treat hair loss, a doctor needs to inject it into the different areas of the scalp. Keep in mind though, this is an off-label use of Botox.
While Botox is FDA-approved, using it to treat hair loss isn’t one of its approved applications—at least, not yet. Try not to confuse this with the topical “Botox” treatments or hair botox treatments offered in a hair salon.
These topical “Botox” treatments don’t even contain any actual Botox. It’s actually more similar to Brazillian keratin hair straightening treatments.
These topical products are just marketed as Botox because they help treat brittle and frizzy hair. They also don’t promise hair growth of any kind.
What Are the Side Effects of Using Botox?
Here are a few possible Botox side effects:
- Bruising in the injection site
- Pain around the injection site
- Flu-like symptoms
These side effects are usually temporary and resolve on their own soon after the procedure. Aside from these, there are other rare and serious side effects which may occur a few days or weeks after the procedure:
- Sleep problems
- Breathing difficulty
- Muscle weakness
- Bladder control issues
It’s important to consult your doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms after your procedure.
What Are the Other Ways to Treat Hair Loss in Men?
If you aren’t sure about injecting Botox on your scalp to treat male pattern baldness, there are two effective and FDA-approved treatments you can try:
Finasteride regulates the conversion of testosterone to DHT. So when you take the recommended dose, it helps prevent hair follicle shrinkage.
On the other hand, topical Minoxidil is a vasodilator and an antihypertensive. It widens blood vessels to increase blood flow to promote the delivery of nutrients to hair follicles.
These two treatments are effective on their own. However, combining them leads to better hair growth and density in men.
When it comes to male pattern baldness, it’s always best to seek treatment as soon as you notice hair loss. Once a hair follicle dies, there’s very little you can do to revive it.
Hair loss treatments usually work because they strengthen and protect existing hair follicles. They can slow down or limit the balding process, but only if you aren’t too late.
Before you attempt more experimental treatments, it may be best to stick to effective and FDA-approved treatments for male pattern baldness, such as finasteride and minoxidil. Remember, time is of the essence, so you should begin reclaiming your healthy hair today.
Would you consider using Botox injections on your scalp? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.