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Home > Articles > Nizoral Shampoo Review: Anti-Dandruff Turned Anti-Balding?

Nizoral Shampoo Review: Anti-Dandruff Turned Anti-Balding?

Nizoral is primarily marketed as an anti-dandruff shampoo that controls scalp inflammation. Its active ingredient, ketoconazole, is a topical anti-fungal medicine first used on the head to treat seborrheic dermatitis, an eczema which leaves the scalp inflamed and flaky. It was perhaps through the clinical testing of ketoconazole on the scalp that doctors found and interesting side effect: a reduction in hair loss from subjects experiencing male pattern baldness. Scientists now believe that, in conjunction with the anti-inflammatory aspects, ketoconazole is an androgen blocker.

So, what exactly is an androgen and what does it have to do with hair loss? Androgen is a blanket term for hormones that stimulate male characteristics. One very important androgen is dihydrotestosterone, or DHT, which derives from testosterone and creates the shrinking hair follicles responsible for androgenic (androgen-ic) alopecia. While hair loss products such as Propecia seek to control the body’s production of DHT, products like Nizoral and topical Spironolactone block receptors in the scalp that DHT binds to, thus stopping hair loss.

One of the attractive aspects of Nizoral is its ability to be used in on top of other hair loss treatments. Current literature indicates leading hair loss solutions Propecia, Revivogen, Rogaine, and hair transplant surgery all seem to be complemented by the active ingredients in Nizoral without much risk of complication. Some experts believe that scalp inflammation is a key aspect in most hair loss cases, and that if your scalp is tingling or itchy, the tell tale signs of inflammation, then hair loss will occur faster than normal. Regardless of the anti-androgen properties, if you scalp calms down there’s a better chance that other treatments will be effective.

But while there is a lot of conjecture on Nizoral, there are only a couple dependable studies regarding its efficacy on hair loss alone. One study titled, “Ketoconazole shampoo: effect of long-term use in androgenic alopecia,” conducted at the University of Liège in Belgium found hair density and proportion of follicles improved using 2% Nizoral at rates similar to minoxidil, the active ingredient in Rogaine. Another Japanese study conducted in 2008 followed six hair loss suffers who also used a 2% Nizoral cream for three months. All men re-grew significant amounts of hair, but the small sample size of the study leaves it questionable.

Like many anti-dandruff shampoos, Nizoral is to be used once every three days, a much less demanding regimen than that of twice-a-day Rogaine. Distributers recommend the shampoo be applied immediately to hair during a shower for cleaning purposes, rinsed out, then re-applied and left in until the end of your shower. The longer, the better say experts, with most recommending Nizoral application in two five-minute increments.

The 1% ketoconazole Nizoral shampoo is offered over the counter, while the 2% formula is available only by prescription, mostly because the ketoconazole carries risk of liver damage that is exacerbated by overexposure. Other risks from the anti-androgen aspects of the shampoo include instances of gynecomastia (breast enlargement) and reduction of the body’s ability to produce cortisol, a hormone that helps the body deal with stress, the cardiovascular system, and protein management. All of this has led the Environmental Working Group Cosmetic Database to rank Nizoral as 6 out of 10, or a moderate of health concern. As with all major hair loss products and procedures, consult your doctor before starting treatment.

While Nizoral has exciting potential in the hair loss realm, the only permanent solution to hair loss currently on the market is hair transplant surgery. If you’re interested in learning more about hair loss treatments, contact us today. Our Hair Loss Forum specialists will schedule you a free consultation at a certified hair loss clinic in your area today!

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