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Growing Head Hair with an Eyelash Growth Drug

By HERWriter
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Skin, Hair & Nails related image Photo: Getty Images

Advertisements endorsing the new eyelash growth drug Latisse as a path to acquire those thick gorgeous eyelashes most of us have only dreamed about began appearing a few years ago. It was only natural for people to wonder that if Latisse could help with eyelash growth, could it also help with scalp hair growth?

Dr. Alan Bauman, a dermatologist and hair restoration specialist, offered some of his patients participation in an off label trial of Latisse to see if they responded with increased scalp hair growth. Latisse has only been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration since 2008 for use on eyelash hair. The only two drugs the FDA has approved for scalp hair re-growth are Rogaine (minoxidil), which is a topical liquid, and Propecia (finasteride), which is given in pill form and only approved for men. Women who are pregnant should not have contact with Propecia due to risk of birth defects.

After three months, Bauman told the New York Times that in the areas Latisse had been applied, “the hair grew thicker, stronger and healthier.” One patient interviewed on a YouTube video stated that he was very pleased with the results so far. Richard Padula, another one of Bauman’s clients reported that he and his friends saw, “a noticeable difference."

Latisse does not offer an alternate method of re-growing hair but acts the same way Roganine or Propecia do by strengthening and thickening hairs from waning hair follicles. None of these drugs can grow hair in areas of complete baldness. Only hair transplants, which can cost $10,000 can place hair where there is none.

The only other area of hair replacement under study is producing hair from the DNA of existing hair. Dr. Robert M. Bernstein, clinical professor of dermatology at Columbia University is involved in hair DNA research. “It’s just a question of time now before hair cloning becomes a reality,” he told the New York Times.

Cost could be a real limiting factor to Latisse moving into the lead of hair re-growth products. Latisse costs $120 for a 3ml bottle, which only last a few weeks. Rogaine runs about $25 a month and Propecia costs $75.

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I think, in all therapies, one has to weigh the risks and benefits of any treatment. The health of our eyes is extremely important and it sounds like you made the right decision since yours were affected. I imagine in time, if Allergen was able get Latisse to pass FDA approved for hair growth, they would need to reprice it to become more competitive in the market since insurance is not going pay. It is unknown if Latisse would have any other side effects if applied to the scalp but maybe through clinical trials, that would come out.
Thanks for sharing your experience,

June 15, 2011 - 8:03am
EmpowHER Guest

I suffer from Alopecia Universalis. When Latisse first came on the market I was very excited for the promise of growing my missing lashes. I invested in Latisse and indeed it did work. I grew long lashes and enjoyed my new eye look. After using the product for about 3-4 months, I noticed that my eyes felt heavy at times and realized that I was collecting edema in my eyeballs. I discontinued the product immediately. Although I was successful in growing lashes - it was not worth the risk of other health problems with my eyes. Those of us that suffer from hair loss are weary of products that promise to turn our immune system around and begin to grow hair. In addition, Latisse is very expensive and most would only be able to afford reviving a tiny spot of hair on my head.
Susan Beausang

June 15, 2011 - 7:46am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.