Have you heard about the latest cure for hair loss? If you spend any amount of time online, you’ve probably watched an ad on YouTube or other social media platform touting a breakthrough new product that will stop hair loss and grow back what you’ve already lost – all within one month! Of course, this treatment is so advanced and revolutionary that it’s available exclusively on the brand’s website – doctors don’t prescribe it and drugstores don’t carry it.

Sound too good to be true? That’s because it is. It’s one of too many fraudulent hair loss remedies targeted at men who are noticing their hair thinning and hairline receding, and want to stop nature from taking its course.

It seems that new scams emerge every year, each with a new twist. While you may laugh at the wild claims made by yesteryear’s fake baldness cures, their marketing language was geared toward what consumers of the day considered the latest in medical knowledge. Nothing has changed. Today’s fraudulent remedies also latch on to pseudoscientific terms to lend legitimacy to their claims. Knowing what to look for in telling true from false will help you avoid wasting your money and valuable time. Unlike what most of these products promise, the fact is that once a hair follicle stops producing hair, it has shut down permanently.

First, however, let’s look at the all-too human reason behind the ongoing popularity of these products. Projecting a strong image is important to many men, but experiencing hair loss is unsettling on a very personal level, signaling the loss of youth and desirability as a partner. It also triggers anxiety about one’s employability, as our blog post – “Does Hair Loss Hurt Your Career?” – covers. With the right sales pitch, a product or treatment claiming to prevent or reverse hair loss can override the healthy skepticism that might otherwise lead you to research its claims for yourself. You place your order with hope and high expectations of the promised results. While you wait for the miraculous growth that never occurs, you’re going without proven treatment that could actually achieve what you want. Instead, hair loss will progress.

Dr. Marco Barusco – Founder and Chief Medical Officer of Tempus Hair Restoration – is dedicated to educating consumers about fraudulent hair restoration products, as well as those based on half-truths about their efficacy (effectiveness). For example, our blog post – “Will it Help My Hair Loss? How to Separate Fact From Fiction!” – covers biotin’s promotion as a hair growth supplement. While biotin (vitamin B7) has a role in good nutrition, it does not produce the thick, rapid hair growth that many products claim. Biotin itself isn’t bogus, but claims for its results are significantly exaggerated by those marketing it as a hair growth super-charger.

The worst offenders don’t contain even this kernel of truth, making claims that are completely fraudulent. There are three main categories of hair restoration scams:

  1. Products that claim blocked follicles cause hair loss.
  2. Products that claim a lack of vitamins/nutrients reaching the scalp cause hair loss.
  3. Products that claim poor scalp circulation causes hair loss.

Products That Claim Blocked Hair Follicles Cause Hair Loss

This is a popular claim among products marketed to “unblock” hair follicles. Details may vary, but the basic story goes as follows. Sebum forms deep within hair follicles, clogging the follicle. This prevents hair growth. Using the product being sold will deep-clean the follicles, once again allowing hair to grow.

Products of this type are so common that Dr. Barusco devoted a video to disproving the “blocked follicles” scenario on his YouTube channel, Hair Loss Medical Advice.

“If you’ve ever had an ingrown hair on your scalp, your face or your body, you know that the hairs keep on growing no matter what,” says Dr. Barusco. “This claim is just ridiculous.”

How did the blocked follicle scam get started? Follicles do sometimes fill with sebum, which is a soft, waxy product of the sebaceous gland from within the follicle. It’s a natural lubricant for skin and hair. However, sebum does not block hair follicles. Ignore the animations in advertisements showing follicles clogging with sebum, suppressing the hair beneath, until their product cleans out the sebum so the hair is finally free to grow. In this case, seeing is not believing.

Products That Claim a Lack of Vitamins/Nutrients Reaching the Scalp Cause Hair Loss

Much like weight loss products that claim to target specific areas of the body to fight “fat cells,” these products make the false claim that hair loss is caused by vitamins or nutrients failing to reach the scalp to nourish hair follicles. For healthy people with no medical conditions that affect blood circulation, hair follicles are reached along with all other tissues and organs as the blood circulates.

In addition, vitamin deficiencies are rare among well-nourished adults, although they can occur due to excessive long-term alcohol use, or an eating disorder. Hair vitamins or supplements do not stop or reverse hair loss.

Products That Claim Poor Scalp Circulation Causes Hair Loss

Poor scalp circulation is another popular culprit for hair loss that scammers exploit, and just as bogus as the previous two. According to Johns Hopkins, hair loss is not caused by poor circulation to the scalp, vitamin deficiencies, dandruff (those blocked follicles again) or excessive hat-wearing. Of course, there is an abundance of products to massage or stimulate the scalp to promote hair growth – each with a scientific-sounding explanation as to how and why they work. While they may feel good, they’re of no actual benefit.

So how can you tell when a product that claims to treat or prevent hair loss is bogus? Look (or listen) past the marketing language in its ads and on its website. You don’t need a medical degree to see through them!

Red Flags to Look for in Ads for Hair Restoration Products

  1. They undermine the credibility of medications proven to treat hair loss, such as finasteride (Rogaine) and minoxidil (Propecia). Finasteride and minoxidil are the only two medications for hair growth approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The voiceover narrator for an online ad stated that he’d tried both, but they didn’t work – strongly implying that consumers would be throwing their money away. Of course, the shampoo he was promoting was effective in treating the “real” cause of hair loss – blocked follicles! Oddly enough, a visit to this product’s website lists minoxidil at a 5% concentration among its ingredients. Assuming the shampoo has any effect at all, minoxidil would be the reason.
  2. They guarantee results, as well as guarantee fast results. Hair restoration practices that follow the industry’s ethical guidelines don’t make claims guaranteeing results, much less claiming that hair loss can be prevented or reversed across the board. Those who market fraudulent products have no such restraints. Moreover, as our blog post – “Hair Restoration Scams: Beware of 21st Century Snake Oil” – covers, “One big red flag signaling a scam product is overselling and/or guaranteeing hair growth. If it promises “amazing” and “quick” results, be suspicious. Legitimate non-surgical treatments produce gradual results, depending upon the individual. Again, consulting with a hair restoration specialist should set realistic expectations about the results that a particular treatment can achieve for you.”
  3. Over-the-top testimonials. Customer testimonials are a popular way for brands to earn the confidence of potential new customers. But if the product endorsements are written in the same over-the-top manner as the manufacturer’s claims, they’re probably fake. Watch for testimonials claiming results in a very short amount of time, as in, “My hair started growing back in two weeks,” etc. Such testimonials are likely also to be confined to the brand’s website, rather than on well-known review websites.

Don’t Waste Time and Money on Bogus Hair Growth Products

When hair loss begins, time is not on your side. The longer that hair loss goes untreated, the chances for success diminish. Buying fraudulent products not only wastes your money, but the time you could have spent in the care of a hair restoration surgeon with legitimate treatments to stabilize hair loss, and monitored until you’re a good candidate for a hair transplant procedure. If your hairline has already receded substantially, believing that using such products is an economical alternative to a hair transplant is misplaced faith.

As we always say, knowledge is power. Being an informed consumer will allow you to tell the difference between science and pseudoscience, and seek legitimate treatment for your hair loss before it’s too late to reverse or restore. Choose your surgeon carefully based on experience, results and professional integrity.

Dr. Barusco’s long list of accomplishments, his notable artistic ability and his successful surgical team make Tempus Hair Restoration a renowned practice. We understand that the main concern you may have is cost, which is why we offer financing options that can place this important goal within reach.

Contact us to schedule your free virtual consultation. Dr. Barusco conducts every consultation himself, giving you the opportunity to learn your options in the comfort of your home – or any location, on any internet-enabled device.

Dr. Barusco conducts consultations in English, Spanish and Portuguese. For your greater convenience, Tempus Hair Restoration offers a two-night complimentary hotel stay to out-of-town clients who travel 100 miles or more to our Port Orange, Florida, surgical center. No matter how far the distance, we welcome the opportunity to help you on your hair restoration journey!

Author: Tempus Hair Restoration