Believe me, there is a powerful anti-hair loss agent disguised as an anti-dandruff shampoo in a pharmacy near you. To find it, look for the following drug-name on the shampoo label: Ketoconazole or search by its most common brand name Nizoral.

 “This is not a super revolutionary novelty of science.”

The product isn’t actually a novelty of science as it was already there since the 80s on the shelves of pharmacies and markets. Ketoconazole was camouflaged in products for other health problems (perhaps you have even used some of your skin conditions).

Ketoconazole Uses

Ketoconazole is a synthetic substance with antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties, widely used in products for the treatment of mycoses, dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis as mainly in the form of creams, lotions and shampoos.

The systemic use of ketoconazole (tablets) is only prescribed by physicians in cases of severe infections. The oral treatments are not possible or effective with a careful assessment of the patient's health-status. This is because the substance seems to be quite aggressive for the liver and adrenal glands once it gets into the bloodstream. Several countries in Europe are discontinuing the use of Ketoconazole tablets due to its side effects.

On the other hand, topical products (such as ointments or shampoos) do not allow ketoconazole to be absorbed by the body at significant levels or systematically and are therefore considered a safer option for treatment.

And How It Can Treat Hair Loss

Some studies and many users already claimed to the effectiveness of ketoconazole shampoos in slowing the onset of baldness and increasing the density and diameter of the hair gradually, but science is not yet known for sure.

One of the most accepted hypotheses is that ketoconazole is able to reduce the production and performance of certain hormones in our body  in addition to acting as an antifungal, including testosterone and its variant, dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which is more associated with androgenetic alopecia. However, this antiandrogenic action (antagonist to male hormones) has only been observed to date with systemic ketoconazole (within the body). There is still no scientific evidence that the superficial performance of the product on the scalp is sufficient to combat the effects of DHT on the hair follicles.

Another hypothesis associates the effect of ketoconazole with the reduction of oiliness of the scalp. DHT is synthesized in various parts of our body, including the sebaceous glands that moisturize our hair, and is considered to be very lipophilic, that is, it associates with oily substances with ease.

Some professionals believe that the sebum produced by the sebaceous glands of our scalp would be rich in DHT, and Ketoconazole is responsible for removing this excess of sebum, that would mean reducing the amount of the substance that could possibly enter the follicle and could affect it.

A third possibility is that ketoconazole would help fight inflammatory conditions that may be inferring in the hair cycle and causing excessive hair loss.

The fact is that, whatever the mechanism of its functioning, ketoconazole shampoos have gained a lot of fans in recent years. There are several reports of good results, especially when shampoos are combined with other types of treatments.

The ANVISA (National Health Surveillance Agency) authorizes the use of topical ketoconazole only in the treatment of dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis and Versicolor pityriasis. Therefore its indication in the treatment of hair loss is considered as off-label ( which is not necessarily incorrect, according to Anvisa itself).

How To Use Ketoconazole Shampoo?

In general, it is recommended that the shampoo should be applied two to four times a week, allowing the product to act on the scalp for two to five minutes before rinsing. Many users report that using shampoo more than four times a week does not appear to have any additional effect, and may actually irritate the scalp, so do not abuse it!

Always keep in mind that it is always best to talk with your doctor or GP to determine the best course of treatment for you (in addition, evaluating possible drug interactions with other products you are using, identifying any contraindications and monitoring the progression of your condition is the best approach).

Some possible reactions to topical ketoconazole are irritation, itching, oil changes (dry scalp or more oily than normal) and, in rare cases, changes in the appearance of hair (greyish, dyed or smoothed). If you experience any type of adverse reaction, discontinue use immediately and tell your doctor.

After All, Is It Worth It?

Although science has not yet uncovered exactly how ketoconazole works, the results obtained from its use in research and by various users worldwide suggest that it can be a valuable ally against hair loss. If you also suffer from dandruff, better still: you can treat two problems with only one shot.

 Ketoconazole shampoos are easy to access, inexpensive (generic versions are available at pharmacies for prices starting at  $ 20) and can easily be incorporated into anyone's personal care routine.

One way to check the effectiveness of the product for your specific case (always with the approval of your doctor) may be to test it on only one area of the head for some time, to compare the results with the part that does not receive the shampoo. If there is no adverse reaction and the product has positive effects, it can become a cheap, non-invasive (no surgeries or drug ingestion) addition and easy to use in your hair loss arsenal.

Have You Already Used?

Have you ever used any shampoo or other product with ketoconazole? How was your experience? Leave a comment and tell us!