a 67-year-old male who was diagnosed with amyloidosis started experiencing hair growth after several months of DMSO
Dimethyl sulfoxide or DMSO for short is a colorless liquid that was discovered in the late 19th century; it is a by-product of the paper production process.
After years of research, scientists discovered an interesting characteristic of DMSO: it has the ability to penetrate the skin and other membranes without damaging them. Because of this feature, physicians started using this compound to deliver pharmaceutical drugs via the skin.
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The use of DMSO to treat hair loss was never considered an option until 1985 when a 67-year-old male who was diagnosed with amyloidosis started experiencing hair growth after several months of DMSO treatment.
Amyloidosis is an autoimmune disease, where there abnormal folding of proteins that deposit in different tissues in the body such as the skin, prostate, and rectum.
8 months later, the patient experienced significant hair growth on the scalp
In the case study of the amyloidosis patient, it was reported that the 67-year-old male experienced whitening and loss of hair in a rapidly progressive fashion for the past two months.
After a prostate biopsy, the diagnosis of amyloidosis was suspected; only to be confirmed later with multiple skin biopsies, which showed the deposition of amyloid proteins.
At this point, the patient had lost the hair of his scalp, axilla (armpit), chest, and the groin region.
A dermatologist in Jichi Medical School Hospital prescribed potassium permanganate to reverse the whitening and the loss of hair, but this treatment did not show any positive results.
After that, the patient was started on DMSO (2.5 ml, per os (orally), twice a day). 8 months later, the patient experienced significant hair growth on the scalp and around the jaw (beard), which started turning black gradually.
The case report concluded that “These findings suggest that some of the manifestation of amyloidosis may respond to DMSO treatment.”
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Before and after the treatment with DMSO
How to use it
Because of the limited evidence of DMSO’s effectiveness in treating hair loss or alopecia areata, it was never officially recommended as a treatment option. The truth to the matter is that even in the case of amyloidosis, which doesn’t typically present with hair loss, there is no sufficient evidence to start implementing DMSO in the management of this chronic disease.
As far as we know, DMSO is only useful when used to promote the penetration of topical drugs into the bloodstream.
For the reason, DMSO can be very effective when mixed with another drug and used as a topical treatment for most of skin conditions.
The only medical use of DMSO approved by the food and drug administration (FDA) is the symptomatic treatment of interstitial cystitis (inflammation of the bladder / lower urinary tract infection).
Based on the case report we discussed, a lot of people started to promote the idea that DMSO can be the solution for all hair loss problems including androgenic alopecia. The new way to promote this product is by selling the spray form of DMSO, which is claimed to help patients grow their hair back in a short period of time.
Unfortunately, many desperate patients fall for this advertisement trap and end up spending money on ineffective products that are not backed up by scientific research whatsoever.
This is why patients should be vigilant when they are being the subject to an ad campaign that’s trying to promote vague products sprinkled with some fancy medical terminology.