First off, in this article you’ll learn what Polysorbate 80 is, how it’s commonly used and where it came from.
Next, I’ll discuss the research surrounding Polysorbate 80 use for hair growth, and what this means for those suffering from male-pattern baldness.
Last, you’ll learn about Polysorbate 80 availability and cost, and how to go about obtaining Polysorbate 80 for your own use.
What is Polysorbate 80?
Polysorbate 80 is a synthetic compound, commonly found in foods and cosmetics. As both a surfactant and emulsifier, Polysorbate 80 has earned much recognition over the years. It is found in a variety of cosmetics, including soaps and eye drops, and is regularly used in ice cream to provide its smooth quality.
Since the 80s, however, Polysorbate 80 has been considered to be a possible treatment for hair thinning and balding. It was first popularized by the Helinski Formula, and has been part of the hair loss treatment industry ever since.
Can Polysorbate 80 Treat Hair Loss?
There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence supporting the use of Polysorbate 80 for the treatment of hairline recession and thinning. But is there also scientific research to back up these claims?
While no studies have been performed on Polysorbate 80 in particular, there have been studies which incorporate the substance into their research.
One such study was performed in 2014. The study’s main goal was to examine the effectiveness of Cuscuta reflexa Roxb in the treatment of alopecia. More specifically, alopecia caused by Cyclophosphamide (CYP), an often used anticancer drug which induces alopecia in patients.
24 male rats were split into four groups.
Group I was the control group, receiving vehicle (distilled water) only.
Group II was the negative control group, receiving only an injection of CYP on the 9th day post hair removal.
Groups III and IV also received injections of CYP on the 9th day, however Group III received an oral supplementation of petroleum ether extract solution of C. reflexa (containing Polysorbate 80) from day 10 through day 19. Group IV, however, received oral supplementation of ethanolic extract solution of C. reflexa.
Prior to the start of the experiment, each of the mice had a patch of hair on their backs removed in order to start anagen phase. Additionally, Groups II, III, and IV received injections of CYP for alopecia induction.
After completion of the study, these were the results obtained:
Now, we’re most interested in groups III and IV (labeled as C and D, respectively, in the above diagram). Group III’s solution contained Polysorbate 80 while Group IV’s did not. Of course, we also have to consider that results may vary due to the solution preparation of C. reflexa.
An can be seen in the photographs, hair growth was better observed in Group III, the group which received a petroleum ether extract solution of C. reflexa, which also contained Polysorbate 80.
What This Study Means for Hair Loss Sufferers
As previously mentioned, while Polysorbate 80 wasn’t the main focus of the study, it did seem to play a key role in hair regrowth.
This is promising for those who suffer from alopecia, especially since many theorize that Polysorbate’s main mechanism for hair growth is the removal of DHT from the scalp and hair follicles.
How Polysorbate 80 Is Used
As a standalone treatment method, Polysorbate 80 is applied directly to the scalp.
Simply add a few drops to your palm (or apply to scalp directly) and massage into scalp until thoroughly covered. You may rinse off with lukewarm water about 10-15 minutes after application.
You may apply the compound daily, but keep an eye on how your scalp responds to the emulsifier. You may experience dryness, as the polysorbate may be drawing too much oil from your scalp. In this case, apply less frequently (3-5x/week) or for shorter periods of time (5-10 minutes).
Availability and Cost
Polysorbate 80 is available as a standalone ingredient, and this is the cheapest and most effective way to introduce Polysorbate into your hair care routine.
Price varies by retailer. Amazon, for example, has 16 fl. oz. available for $16.59 (not including shipping). It can also be bought from specialty cosmetics stores, both online and in-person.
If you’re looking to treat hair thinning and regrow hair, then Polysorbate 80 isn’t a bad choice. After all, there is preliminary scientific research to back its effectiveness, and side effects are few.
However, I would say that there are more effective methods of re-growth available that are 100% natural – this is a very good example of one of those and will work more effectively than polysorbate 80.
If you have a question, leave a comment below.