Bimatoprost is a possible new treatment for hair loss that’s being researched, and current studies show it can improve hair growth by up to 25%.
In this post, I’m going to introduce you to bimatoprost. While not currently available on the market for the treatment of hair loss, I’ll discuss the most recent studies that are being performed on this drug.
In addition, I’ll share with you the most effective chemical-free treatment method you can use to combat (and possibly even reverse) hair loss.
What is Bimatoprost?
Originally developed as a treatment for glaucoma, bimatoprost is a medication that has been recently linked to use as a hair loss treatment.
It’s marketed under the trade names of Lumigan and Latisse, and it’s a prostaglandin meaning that it has hormone-like effects on humans and animals.
As a glaucoma medication, it works by relieving blood pressure (through encouraging the outflow of aqueous fluid).
Can Bimatoprost Treat Hair Loss?
As mentioned above, bimatoprost was recently thought to be linked to hair growth.
This was first discovered when researchers noticed its positive effects on eyelash growth in individuals using it for its intended purpose (glaucoma treatment).
But does this mean that bimatoprost can have similar results on scalp hair growth?
What Does the Research Have to Say?
While the studies on bimatoprost’s use for hair loss are only just beginning to shed light on its positive effects, there’s still much we can learn.
A 2013 study, performed at the University of Bradford in the UK, took a multi-pronged approach to studying bimatoprost’s effects on hair growth.
Human Hair Culture
First, researchers collected scalp skin samples from 15 healthy individuals (one woman and 14 men). Anagen hair follicles were then dissected from the samples and stored in sterile petri dishes prior to experimentation.
Next, the isolated follicles were moved to a 24-well plate contained either bimatoprost (10, 100 and 1000 nM) or prostamide antagonist AGN 211336 (1μM). In addition, some follicles were placed in the control solution of 0.001% dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO).
Photographs were taken of the bulbs every 24 hours for nine days, and they were measured with the use of an inverted microscope.
As results show, most of the scalp follicles grew well in the bimatoprost solution, and some even showed the synthesis of of new epithelial hair fiber and root sheath.
In addition, 70% of the follicles increased in length for the 9-day study while also maintaining their anagen morphology.
Side note: You’ll notice on the right that the bimatoprost + AGN solution had poorer results than both the control and bimatoprost solutions.
This is because AGN is a prostamide antagonist, and this means it blocks the positive effects of bimatoprost. This solution was used to show that prostamide receptors are responsible for the results seen.
As shown above, all three bimatoprost solutions stimulated follicle growth, as well as prolonged anagen phase. The 10nM solution improved growth by 15%, while the 100 and 1000 nM solution both improved growth by 25%.
Mouse Hair Growth
Next, researchers studied the effects of topical application of bimatoprost on living organisms – mice.
Four groups of five female mice had their dorsals shaved to stimulate anagen phase. Each group was treated topically with either the vehicle alone (ethanol:propylene glycol:water 3:5:2) or 0.03, 0.10, or 0.30% bimatoprost in the vehicle for 14 days.
70 μl of the solution was rubbed into the dorsal area daily, and photographs were taken at days 0, 7, 14, 17, 21, 24, 28, 31, 35, and 42.
As pictured above, the mice in the three bimatoprost’s groups saw significantly more hair growth than those in the control group.
In addition to the visual results, however, researchers also compared the days when anagen hair growth began (defined as the first day when visible darkness could be seen), as well as the number of mice who completed anagen phase hair growth in each group.
All three bimatroprost solutions performed better than the control in both comparisons. The 0.10% and 0.30% solutions compared closely when it came to the first day of anagen phase hair growth.
However, the 0.30% solution beat out both of the lower solutions when it came to the percentage of completed anagen phase hair growth.
The Implications for Hair Loss Sufferers
For people losing their hair, the results of this study are quite positive.
As shown through both approaches (human follicle sample and mice in vivo), bimatoprost stimulates hair follicle growth and prolongs anagen phase (further improving growth results).
Both of these are essential if you want to regrow your hair after hair loss has taken place.
When Will Bimatoprost Be Available?
This drug is currently available, through prescription, for the treatment of glaucoma. In addition, it is available for eyelash growth (a popular brand is Latisse).
However, there’s no telling when (or even if) bimatoprost will be FDA approved for use as a scalp hair loss treatment.
One of the major concerns it seems to be is the fact that bimatoprost cannot produce new hairs where baldness has already taken over.
In addition, bimatoprost does not treat the underlying issue (DHT), so once use has stopped it seems so too will the results.
We can see in this video from 2009 that Bimatoprost can be used effectively, however it is very expensive and still isn’t approved for treatment:
My point here is that, there are better and more effective natural options that I recommend. They will cost less and have no side-effects.
Let’s look at a few now.
Is There a Natural Alternative to Bimatoprost?
There is still much to be learned about bimatoprost and its mechanisms as a hair loss treatment method. However, there is a natural approach you can take that will provide you with similar results (that is, stimulation of hair growth).
That approach is….
Treat the Underlying Cause (DHT)
As mentioned above, bimatoprost does not target the real issue, and that’s DHT. However, if you truly want to combat hair loss, then you need to get to the root cause.
DHT is a natural chemical that is produced from an interaction between testosterone (sex hormone) and 5-alpha-reductase (an enzyme). This takes place in both men and women, and is typically an uneventful occurrence.
However, if you have Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA), then the production of DHT (and its subsequent attachment to androgen receptors on the hair follicles) can lead to inflammation, hair miniaturization, and permanent hair loss (if not treated).
It makes sense, then, that you’ll have to put a stop to DHT.
It’s not uncommon for medications to be used for treatments other than what they were originally developed for. In this case, the glaucoma drug bimatoprost shows that it may be an effective treatment for balding.
However, whether bimatoprost will ever be approved for this use is currently unknown.