Hair Mesotherapy: Is It Effective?

Hair Mesotherapy: Is It Effective?

Every other day you’ll hear a new buzzword being thrown around in the cosmetic industry. Hair mesotherapy is one. Although this treatment has been in use since the 1950s, its different cosmetic uses have been explored only recently. And even though there’s a dearth of scientific evidence on the efficacy and safety of mesotherapy, many people are already getting this treatment for alopecia.

While there’s a lack of research studies on it, a simple Google search of “hair mesotherapy” brings up more than 6 million results! Even with clinics making many tall claims about this treatment, at the end of the day, many people are still not sure whether it’s a gimmick or the real thing.

What Is Mesotherapy?

To better understand why this treatment’s popularity has taken off so much, you need to look at its history. Dr Michel Pistor, also known as the “Father of Mesotherapy,” was a French physician who gave local anaesthetic to a patient who had asthma. The injection did nothing for the patient’s asthma but ended up improving the hearing of the patient.

From here, Pistor got the idea that treating the “mesoderm” can treat different ailments affecting it. Now, mesoderm in itself is not a layer of the skin, tissue or organ. It is present at the embryonic stage and gives rise to different tissues such as those of the skin, muscles, heart, bones, and red blood cells.

Then onwards, mesotherapy literally came to denote the therapy or treatment of the mesoderm. Pistor used it for the management of pain and treatment of different vascular diseases (those affecting the circulatory system).

These days, mesotherapy is thought less of as treatment of the mesoderm and more of as a non-invasive treatment that injects a drug cocktail underneath the skin (subcutaneous tissue). This “cocktail” contains vitamins, enzymes, hormones, plant extracts, minoxidil, finasteride, growth factors, and a bunch of other things. Together these have been used for different purposes. Keep in mind that a lot of these may be FDA approved. However, they’re not approved for the uses that mesotherapy is done for.

Other than being used for treating alopecia, mesotherapy has also been used for skin rejuvenation and body contouring treatment. More specifically, it means treatment of wrinkles, fine lines, sagging skin, hyperpigmentation, cellulite, and the “melting” of fat in different areas of the body. Additionally, it has been used for treating joint pain, eczema, and tinnitus (ear ringing).

What is the Procedure of Hair Mesotherapy?

Once you arrive at the clinic, the practitioner may begin by numbing the treatment area so that you don’t feel pain or discomfort. After that, you’ll be given the mesotherapy injection that can penetrate anywhere between 1 mm of the skin tissue.

You’ll receive multiple hair mesotherapy injections in one session, and you’d also need multiple sessions to see results (if any). These can be as many as 15-20, each after 1-2 weeks. This is supposed to lead to the onset of the hair regeneration process. It cannot be said for sure how long it will take for you to see the results from this treatment. It may end up taking a few months.

What’s The Recovery & Aftercare of Mesotherapy?

Since hair mesotherapy is a non-invasive treatment, it has no downtime. You can continue with your routine activities after you’ve gotten the injections. However, if you’re experiencing pain, swelling, and any other side effects from the treatment, you may need to take some time off.

Your doctor might advise you against smoking or excessive drinking. You have to make sure that the treatment area stays dry and clean so that you don’t end up developing an infection.

Side Effects of Mesotherapy for Hair Loss

Other than getting an allergic reaction to one or more of the ingredients in the mesotherapy for hair growth treatment, you may end up dealing with some very serious side effects. Ironically, one side effect of mesotherapy is hair loss itself.

According to a case report published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology in 2017, hair mesotherapy can result in loss of hair and scarring. In one case, the woman who got the treatment developed painful lesions in the treatment area. In the second case, the woman reported oedema (swelling), erythema (skin rash), oozing and hair loss. And in the third case, the woman developed depressed scars with significant hair loss.

Other than that, necrosis and formation of abscesses were also reported in a study published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology in 2008. From the injection itself, you may end up experiencing redness and bruising.

What Are the Ingredients in the Hair Mesotherapy Cocktail?

Here’s another problem with mesotherapy – it has no standard formula. The ingredients used and their concentrations are determined by the “mesotherapists” or the medical practitioner based on their own judgement. The injections can contain a wide variety of ingredients. How many injections the patient needs and what should be in the injection depends on the patient itself. Anyway, a hair mesotherapy injection may include a combination of the following ingredients:

  • Minoxidil
  • Finasteride
  • D-panthenol
  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Growth factors
  • Thyroid hormones
  • Amino acids
  • Vitamins
  • Enzymes
  • Dutasteride
  • Minerals
  • Plant extracts (Acetyl tetrapeptide-3 and Biochanin A)

There could be even more ingredients. However, looking at this list, you might understand why still people are unsure about how mesotherapy works. The lion’s share of the work may be performed by none other than minoxidil and finasteride.

The former does improve blood circulation by dilating the blood vessels, and the latter stops the conversion of testosterone into DHT, which can help in the temporary treatment of androgenetic alopecia. The rest of the ingredients may play a supportive role in promoting hair growth.

Are There Any Benefits of Mesotherapy Hair Loss Treatment?

While reading about it on the internet, you’ll come across countless of these. Some of the alleged benefits of this hair mesotherapy treatment are as follows:

  • Improvement in the circulation of blood
  • Stimulation of collagen production
  • Restoration of hormonal balance
  • Reduction in the amount of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) hormone responsible for androgenetic alopecia
  • Anti-inflammatory

That sounds good enough. However, clinics making these claims almost always skip the “how” part. How does mesotherapy hair loss treatment do all that? To date, the scientific data on this is quite lacking. So, really no one can say how good or bad it really is and what the long-term implications of its usage are.

But, Doesn’t It Treat Androgenetic Alopecia?

The studies that are available on this are far and few in between. In addition, they are quite small, so more investigation is required. There’s a case study that suggests that mesotherapy is a more effective treatment for androgenetic alopecia in contrast to minoxidil.

It can better improve hair density and thickness. However, in this treatment, it should be noted that the drug cocktail contained “minoxidil, finasteride, biotin, and vitamin B5” in it. So, really it could have been the finasteride after all that may have done the trick. It’s already FDA approved and can be used on its own.

Another randomized controlled trial on patients with male pattern loss found out that there was no difference in the hair mesotherapy treatment and topical solution of minoxidil. Therefore, no one can say for sure whether or not this treatment actually works or works better than minoxidil or finasteride.

Mesotherapy for Hair Growth vs. PRP: Which One’s Better?

For this, let’s compare the pros and cons of the two.

Safety & Risk of Side Effects

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is made from the blood of the patient, so there’s basically no risk of side effects. This also makes it quite safe. This, however, is not the case with mesotherapy injections. It’s not known how all those ingredients work together. In addition, there’s a risk of allergic reaction.

Number of Sessions

For many people, having to go to a clinic for 10-15 treatment sessions can be quite a hassle and that to weeks apart. PRP, on the other hand, requires around 4 sessions, and the person can start seeing results after that. Not only does that make it more cost-effective, but also more convenient.

Effectiveness

There are many conclusive studies on the efficacy of platelet-rich plasma for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia. Sometimes, it even supplements hair transplant surgery to improve the results. This, however, is not the case with hair mesotherapy. A lot of the studies lead to inconclusive results on the efficacy of this treatment. And what research is available doesn’t answer many important questions about its efficacy which is why much can’t be said about it.

In A Nutshell

Mesotherapy for hair loss is still relatively new, and there’s much about it that isn’t known or even understood.

Most of the hair mesotherapy treatments make use of minoxidil and finasteride, which are FDA approved drugs for hair loss. These can be used on their own, and some prefer that since they’re much more inexpensive compared to the mesotherapy treatment whose results may be driven by these two drugs.

What data is available on hair mesotherapy doesn’t seem as promising either, making platelet-rich plasma a better non-invasive alternative.

Reviewed and approved by Dr Kuddusi Onay

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