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Can Azelaic Acid fight hair loss

Today, hair loss sufferers have several legitimate and proven treatments to combat hair loss. Since the 90's, treatments for hair loss have made huge advances. Hair loss medications like Propecia (finasteride) and topical treatment Rogaine (minoxidil)  often can stop or even reverse hair loss in some patients. In this article, we will go over azelaic acid as a potential treatment for androgenic alopecia or genetic hair loss.

What is Azelaic Acid

Azelaic acid is an organic compound which is found in wheat, rye and barley. It is a precursor to various industrial products including polymers and plasticizers. In plants, azelaic acid acts as a "warning signal" in response to infections.

How can Azelaic Acid prevent further hair loss

According to studies  published in the British Journal of Dermatology, azelaic acid was found to be a potent 5-alpha-reductase inhibitor. Hair follicles, as well as sebeceous glands, contain a high level of an enzyme called 5-alpha-reductase. This enzyme converts testosterone in to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) via the blood. DHT is the main catalyst for genetic hair loss. This homone binds with the receptor sites of genetically susceptible follicles and causes the hair follicles to shrink overtime until they no longer grow. The study found that when azelaic acid is combined with Vitamin B-6 and Zinc the 5-alpha-reductase enzyme was inhibited by 90%.

Conclusion

While the studies published in the British Journal of Dermatology sound promising, it is important to understand that the published study did not specifically study azelaic acid as a treatment for androgenic alopecia or genetic hair loss. Therefore, it is impossible to deduce whether or not azelaic acid will be effective in treating androgenic alopecia or genetic hair loss. Based on the studies available however, it appears that azelaic acid may be a safe alternative to FDA approved treatments such as Propecia (finasteride), but not likely to be as effective.

Written and Published By, 

Melvin, Editorial Assistant and Forum Co-Moderator for the Hair Transplant Network, the Coalition Hair Loss Learning Center, and the Hair Loss Q & A Blog.