Nizoral (ketoconazole) is an anti-fungal medication that is used to treat fungal infections of the skin such as jock itch, athlete’s foot, seborrhea and ringworm. Over the years, it was observed that people treated with topical Nizoral started to have thick hair growth. Soon more research revealed that Nizoral, when applied topically on the scalp, led to more hair growth and also prevented hair loss. Now, Nizoral is available as a shampoo for people who have what is called androgenetic alopecia (hair loss associated with high levels of testosterone or genetic pattern hair loss) for both men and women.
Nizoral is one of the best products for hair growth. Even though the drug is marketed as an anti-fungal agent, it has been shown to increase hair growth. Over the years, it has become evident that Nizoral is able to block the androgen receptors. Excess activity of androgenic hormones like testosterone have been shown to promote hair loss. Thus, by blocking the effects of testosterone, Nizoral enhances hair growth and at the same time prevents hair loss.
Nizoral works by decreasing the production or blocking the effects of the male sex hormone, testosterone. Testosterone in usually converted to dihydroxytestosterone in the body. Dihydroxytestosterone has the ability to thin hair and decrease growth of hair. By preventing the conversion of testosterone to dihydroxytestosterone, Nizoral use results in a scalp that is full of healthy hair.
The hair growth after Nizoral application is gradual. After 4-6 weeks, you will see fine hair buds on your scalp, which will gradually start to thicken. You will also start to note that your hair loss is significantly less. Most people see moderate hair growth after 2-3 months of use. Do not expect overnight miracles. The benefits of Nizoral last as long as the shampoo is used.
It is important to understand that Nizoral shampoo is not a one shot deal for hair growth. In order to get the maximum benefit from this product you need to use it once every three to four days. The first thing to do when you get in the shower is to gently wash your scalp and get rid of the debris and oil. Then apply the shampoo and gently massage it into the scalp. Let the shampoo soak your scalp for at least 5 minutes and then wash it off. Repeat the cycle again. Gently dry your hair and avoid use of other cosmetic hair care products.
Nizoral shampoo is supposed to be used twice a week if you are using it to grow hair. If you are trying to prevent hair loss, it should be used once every 7-10 days. As long as you follow up with your doctor, Nizoral shampoo can be used for 6-8 months. If after a few months, you see no hair growth, then the medication will not work for you.
Some people who have used Nizoral shampoo have mentioned the following side effects-
These side effects are transient and do not require any medical help.
Anyone who has androgenetic alopecia can use Nizoral shampoo. The product can be used to prevent hair loss or it can be used to increase hair growth. Others who may benefit from Nizoral shampoo are individuals who have loss of hair due to stress or a major illness. It can be used by both men and women.
If you are trying to grow hair, then use it twice a week. If you are trying to prevent hair loss, the use it once every 7-10 days. Do not over use the shampoo as this can lead to side effects. If you miss applying the shampoo once and remember within a few hours, you can apply it. But if you remember it and it is close to the next dose, do not double the dose to make up for the missed dose.
Nizoral shampoo can be stored in the bathroom but should be separated from other regular personal care items. It should be kept away from the reach of children.
Nizoral shampoo is available as a 2% pinkish-orange viscous liquid. Each milliliter contains 2% of the active ingredient. During showering you need to apply about 5 mls on the scalp. If you use the 1% over the counter formula, you can use 5-10 mls.
There is 1% Nizoral shampoo available over the counter and there is the 2% Nizoral shampooo that requires a prescription from the doctor. It is recommended that you first try out the over the counter product for several weeks. If it does not do much, you can always get the prescription formula. Remember more of the shampoo is not always better as this can also increase the risk of side effects.
Most experts recommend that Nizoral shampoo can be safely combined with other hair loss treatments like propecia or minoxidil. However, before you start applying a hodge podge of medications on your scalp, speak to your healthcare provider to make sure it is safe. Mixing drugs empirically can result in interactions and there is potential to cause adverse reactions.
In general, you should avoid combining Nizoral shampoo with herbs and supplements as this increases the risk of adverse reactions. Only use medications and supplements that have been approved by your healthcare provider.
The over the counter 1% formula costs about $12 for a 4 ounce bottle or you can buy the 7 ounce bottle for $16. The 2% prescription shampoo bottle varies from $22-$28. Most hair loss treatments are not covered by health insurance plans.