Topical Retin A and Bethametasone for Hair Growth

      Dr. Sandra Brown MD, a dermatologist, claims she has developed a “proprietary and patented gel that has successfully reversed many types of hair loss in hundreds of [her] patients.”

      Dr. Brown states, this combo “thickens and lengthens hair and reverses many types of alopecia (hair loss) such as genetic thinning (e.g., male pattern baldness), chemical and stress related hair loss and other types of hair loss”.

      The gel “is applied daily to the scalp” and “stimulates hair follicles causing hair to grow thicker and faster. Additionally, after the gel is discontinued the hair that you have re-grown does not catastrophically fall out (in contrast to the only commercially available product currently approved by the FDA which must be used forever to prevent hair loss).”

      This topical treatmentl is comprised of bethametasone dipropionate 0.05% and tretinoin (retinoic acid) 0.0125%.

      Dr. Brown has patented this treatment. Here are some excerpts from the patent:

      “An application of betamethasone dipropionate and all-trans-retinoic acid is made to the patient. The betamethasone dipropionate and all-trans-retinoic acid are administered together in a compound applied topically to the scalp. The compound and method have been found to effectively restore hair growth even after discontinuance of use of the compound.”

      “Betamethasone dipropionate is a steroid and has a tendency to thin the dermis. All-trans-retinoic acid is also administered in combination with betamethasone dipropionate. However, one of the well-known side effects of all-trans-retinoic acid is that it acts to thicken the skin. Thus, when used in combination with each other, the negative side effects of betamethasone dipropionate and all-trans-retinoic acid act to cancel each other out while synergistically producing a large amount of hair.”

      “Outstanding results, including hair growth within one week of applying the compound, were observed.”

      Dr. Brown stated in an interview, “85-percent of the patients that we treat can see the hair growing back thicker within 21 days."






Editor’s Comment: There are several existing hair loss treatment patents that use the topical Retin A, Corticosteroid combination. You could likely get equivocal results using 1% hydrocortisone along with 0.05% Retin A.

Despite the reported benefits to hair growth, we recommend against using this approach to treatment, for several reasons. Corticosteroids, even when topically applied, can be systemically absorbed in relatively short periods of time (> 1 week), and have the potential to accelerate aging via several mechanisms. This systemic absorption would be significantly enhanced by their concurrent usage with Retin A.

Some of the most common side effects of cortisone, Hydrocotisone, Bethametasone,Prednisone, or corticosteroids by any other name, include:

  • acne

  • cataracts

  • insomnia

  • facial hair

  • moon face

  • weight gain

  • bruise easily

  • hypertension

  • osteoporosis

  • mood swings

  • stretch marks

  • skin thinning

  • high blood sugar

  •      Since any hair growth effects of topical corticosteroids would be primarily due to their anti-inflammatory actions (and to a lesser degree, their local-immunosuppressive actions), a much safer and likely equally effective approach would be the simultaneous application of 0.05 Retin A gel and Emu Oil, which has well established anti-inflammatory effects. One could additionally use systemic Certizine (Zyrtec) to possibly obtain the localized immunosuppressive effect of topical corticosteroids, if so inclined, but it probably wouldn’t be necessary and it will generally make you drowsy. This study abstract goes into more detail. Zyrtec a Possible Treatment for Alopecia Areata

         This combo of Retin A (gel or cream if used facially) and Emu Oil is also considered to be one of the best interventions for the treatment and prevention of facial skin slackening and wrinkling.

         One should always use caution with sun exposure to any areas to which Retin A is applied.

         Related Articles:

    Emu Oil, Hair Growth, and Facial Rejuvenation

    Emu Oil, Hairloss, and Frontal Regrowth

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