Spray that can stop a woman's hair from thinning
By SEAN POULTER - More by this author »
6th September 2007
A spray made from coffee bean extracts has been found to stop women's hair thinning, scientists said yesterday. The treatment - which goes on sale next month - is said to increase the thickness and health of each strand of hair. It encourages growth from the roots and can prevent age-related hair loss, according to researchers.
The product works by soothing the scalp, reducing the inflammation that damages hair follicles.
Stewart Long of Boots, which developed the remedy, said: "Our new spray changes the way the immune system acts. "Effectively, it stimulates the cells to ensure the follicles continue to produce thick healthy hair. "If the follicle closes, the chances of getting regrowth are virtually nil, even with the high- strength drug treatments that are on the market."
Although the product is targeted at women, it would also work for men. Four out five women given the spray in independent tests at Glasgow University said it worked.
Three out of four of the guinea pigs said they lost less hair when combing or brushing.
The claims were backed up by scalp tests conducted by a trichologist over a 12-month period. Small patches of hair were shaved off to see how quickly and thickly they grew back. Mr Long said women were often reluctant to talk about hair loss.
"It is considered quite normal if a bloke goes bald but for women it is a huge psychological issue," he added.
"It is often speeded by periods of stress or illness.
In reality 50 per cent of women experience some thinning of the hair by the time they reach 50, however most suffer in silence thinking that they are the only ones with the problem.
"But this is not just a condition afflicting the older generation.
"Hair thinning can start for people as young as 20, and can be a massive blow to how women perceive themselves."
Consumer research conducted by Boots shows that 79 per cent of women find hair crucial to their self-esteem. Another 61 per cent per cent valued their locks more highly than other parts of the body and would rather suffer weight or skin problems than lose them. Corinne Sweet, a relationship psychologist, said healthy hair had long been a symbol of female attractiveness.
"Losing hair, in strands or clumps, can be deeply distressing for women as a sign of stress, ill-health or ageing," she added.
"Going bald, in patches, or even totally, is really the last great beauty taboo, so a product that can restore vitality and volume to hair should certainly help restore self- esteem, self-confidence and promote a positive self-image."
Creams and potions claiming to tackle ageing and other ailments are common in the beauty industry but many have fallen foul of the Advertising Standards Authority.
Boots said it has received the authority's approval for its claims for the hair spray after presenting its officials with the evidence from its independent trials.
The product - Boots Expert Hair Loss Treatment Spray for Women - can be ordered in advance from the middle of September.
It was developed by the research team behind Protect & Perfect, a beauty serum which became a major sales success after scientists found it could rejuvenate skin and beat wrinkles. The spray contains antioxidants and centella asiatica, a medicinal plant sometimes called the Indian pennywort. The green coffee beans used in the hair spray come from Central America.
How the spray works
The spray's ingredients work by calming the immune system and reducing inflammation of the scalp.
Damage to the scalp can cause follicles to shrink or even close up, causing hair to thin and fall out.
Applied to the roots of damp hair twice daily and then rubbed in, the spray allows the hair to be styled as normal.
Boots says the results should be seen within three months.
In an independent study carried out at Glasgow University, women were given the product to use at home for 12 months.
The researchers compared the results for the active product against those for a placebo that looked exactly the same.
They found that 80 per cent of volunteers using the genuine treatment reported significant improvement in hair growth.