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Category5alpha-reductase reducer

Parameter Effect Result on hair growth
DHT/Testosterone GOOD
5a-reductases GOOD

Where to buy

A widely used Progesterone cream. Progesterone Cream


Description Progesterone is a female hormone that has been used topically on male scalps with excellent results. It is known to reduce 5alpha-reductase and thus interfere with DHT. In studies 1 nM finasteride inhibited DHT synthesis in DP by 86% and 1 nM progesterone by 75%.

One study confirmed progesterone is a 5alpha-reductase inhibitor but topical application is ineffective in men because of rapid metabolization. [R. Hoffman 2000]

Typical Results Excellent regrowth
Typical Dosages N/A
Significant Side Effects None reported
Pharmacology Pharmacodynamics Progesterone is a naturally occuring progestin or a synthetic form of the naturally occurring female sex hormone, progesterone. In a woman's normal menstrual cycle, an egg matures and is released from the ovaries (ovulation). The ovary then produces progesterone, preventing the release of further eggs and priming the lining of the womb for a possible pregnancy. If pregnancy occurs, progesterone levels in the body remain high, maintaining the womb lining. If pregnancy does not occur, progesterone levels in the body fall, resulting in a menstrual period. Progesterone tricks the body processes into thinking that ovulation has already occurred by maintaining high levels of the synthetic progesterone. This prevents the release of eggs from the ovaries. Mechanism of action Progesterone shares the pharmacological actions of the progestins. Progesterone binds to the progesterone and estrogen receptors. Target cells include the female reproductive tract, the mammary gland, the hypothalamus, and the pituitary. Once bound to the receptor, progestins like Progesterone will slow the frequency of release of gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) from the hypothalamus and blunt the pre-ovulatory LH (luteinizing hormone) surge. In women who have adequate endogenous estrogen, progesterone transforms a proliferative endometrium into a secretory one. Progesterone is essential for the development of decidual tissue and is necessary to increase endometrial receptivity for implantation of an embryo. Once an embryo has been implanted, progesterone acts to maintain the pregnancy. Progesterone also stimulates the growth of mammary alveolar tissue and relaxes uterine smooth muscle. It has little estrogenic and androgenic activity. Absorption Progesterone absorption is prolonged with an absorption half-life of approximately 25-50 hours.

Clinical Studies

Clinical StudiesAbstract
Progestogens with antiandrogenic properties. Chlormadinone acetate, cyproterone acetate and dienogest are potent, orally active progestogens, which have antiandrogenic instead of partial androgenic activity. They act mainly by blocking androgen receptors in target organs, but also reduce the activity of skin 5alpha-reductase, the enzyme responsible for converting testosterone to the more potent androgen, 5alpha-dihydrotestosterone, in sebaceous glands and hair follicles. Chlormadinone acetate and cyproterone acetate also suppress gonadotropin secretion, thereby reducing ovarian and adrenal androgen production. Combined oral contraceptives (COCs) containing antiandrogenic progestogens provide highly effective contraception (gross and adjusted Pearl indices: 0-0.7 and 0-0.3, respectively) with excellent cycle control. Furthermore, COCs containing 2mg of chlormadinone acetate or cyproterone acetate plus 30 or 35 microg of ethinylestradiol produced improvement or resolution of seborrhoea in 80% of users, acne in 59-70%, hirsutism in 36% and androgen-related alopecia in up to 86%. These COCs are generally well tolerated, the main adverse effects being nonspecific or as expected for a COC (headache, breast tenderness and nausea). They have no clinically relevant effects on metabolic or liver functions or on bodyweight. Effects on mood and libido are uncommon (<3.5% and <6% of women, respectively). COCs containing antiandrogenic progestogens are likely to be particularly valuable in women with pre-existing androgen-related disorders who require contraception. They also increase the choice of products available for women with normal skin and hair who are concerned about the possibility of developing seborrhoea or acne with other COCs.
Androgenetic alopecia Androgenetic alopecia (AGA) is the combined result of an androgen-dependent process and genetic transmission. These characteristics have mainly, if not exclusively, been demonstrated in men and perhaps improperly extended to women. When considering the androgen-dependent process, AGA must only be limited to the androgen receptor areas. In the scalp, these receptors have only been detected in the frontal and vertex areas but never in the temporal or the occipital areas. Male AGA exhibits these clinical features, whereas in women hair loss is rarely limited to this localization, even when large areas of hair loss often appear with age. It is now commonly accepted that male AGA is associated with an increase in 5 alpha reductase activity leading to an increase in local production of dihydrotestosterone. The mechanism by which the local dihydrotestosterone increase leads to hair follicle loss is not clearly demonstrated. Inhibition of cell proliferation in the dermal papilla and a vascular process based on the inhibition in local production of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) have been proposed. The increase in 5 alpha reductase activity is genetic and depends on androgen receptor polymorphism, characterized by a decrease in the number of CAG sequences on the exon 1. Male AGA is associated with an insulin-resistant process and to a higher risk of polycystic ovary in the lineage. Therapeutically, this hormone-dependent process explains the well demonstrated efficacy of 5 alpha reductase inhibitors. In women, except in some rare cases, alopecia is diffuse and the mechanisms are different. Their origin is unknown, and probably ambiguous. Based on an association with Hashimoto's thyroiditis, an auto-immune origin could be suggested in some cases. Alopecia is unaffected by thyroid substitution. Pharmacological doses of oestrogens (pregnancy, contraception) have a beneficial effect on such alopecia, probably through different mechanisms: anti-androgen effect, increased VEGF, proliferative effect of dermal papilla cells. However, it is important to mention that the dermal papilla has an aromatase, particularly in the occipital area, the activity of which has not been assessed in female alopecia. In practice 5 alpha reductase inhibitors are ineffective in women. It is likely that the predominance observed in the frontal and vertex areas, occasionally in elderly women, is a result of the two combined disorders, the almost physiological androgen-dependent hair loss combined with diffuse loss. Pharmacological doses of oestrogens associated with anti-androgen progesterone-like agents are widely used with positive results, but not demonstrated by clinical trials.
Influence of estrogens on the androgen metabolism in different subunits of human hair follicles. The molecular pathways involved in estrogen-mediated induction of hair growth in androgenetic alopecia are unknown. Some authors found that estradiol (E) inhibited 5alpha-reductase (5alpha-R) activity and therefore we addressed the question whether 17alpha- or 17beta-E are able to modulate the activity of 5alpha-R, 3beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3beta-HSD) or 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (17beta-HSD) in isolated compartments of human hair follicles. For this purpose, scalp biopsies from volunteers were taken and from each biopsy root sheaths, connective tissue sheaths and dermal papillae (DP) were dissected and incubated in the presence of 3H-testosterone (T) and, in addition, either 17alpha-E, 17beta-E, progesterone or finasteride for up to 48 hrs. Thereafter high-performance liquid chromatography analysis of culture supernatants was performed to detect T-metabolites. At the tested concentrations, finasteride was found to be a major inhibitor of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) formation. Even 1 nM finasteride inhibited DHT synthesis in DP by 86% and 1 nM progesterone by 75%. Estrogens were less able to inhibit the synthesis of DHT in DP (e.g. 100 nM 17alpha-E: 20%; 100 nM 17beta-E: 60%). Whether E directly inhibits 5alpha-R in DP's or whether the effect of estrogens might be explained by an increased conversion of T to the weaker androgens such as androstendione (via 17beta-HSD), androstenediol (via 3beta-HSD) or 17beta-E (via aromatase), thereby diminishing the amount of T available for the conversion to DHT, remains to be shown.
Estrogen and progesterone receptors in androgenic alopecia versus alopecia areata. In some situations, hair growth is under hormonal control. Androgenic alopecia is characterized as hormonally driven hair loss in the genetically susceptible individual. During pregnancy, hair growth is increased, as estrogen appears to prolong the anagen phase. However, postpartum hair loss is common, and thus may be related to a decrease in estrogen and or progesterone levels. In contrast, alopecia areata is not considered to be under hormonal control. We compared the immunohistochemical staining characteristics of nine cases of androgenic alopecia with those of 13 cases of alopecia areata using estrogen receptor (ER) and progesterone receptor (PR) markers. Estrogen receptor positivity in the dermal papilla was found in only two of 13 cases of alopecia areata, and in one case of androgenic alopecia. Six of 13 cases of alopecia areata demonstrated focal reactivity with the progesterone marker in a similar location, while only three cases of androgenic alopecia showed positivity with this antibody. Examination of the perifollicular fibroblasts for the ER marker showed positivity in one of 13 cases of alopecia areata and in one case of androgenic alopecia. Two cases of alopecia areata revealed focal staining in this location for the PR marker, while the androgenic alopecia cases failed to stain. These results indicate that estrogen and progesterone receptor expression is not significantly increased or decreased in the pilosebaceous units or surrounding mesenchymal cells in androgenic alopecia vs. alopecia areata. Therefore, an indirectly mediated process of estrogen/progesterone control on hair growth and development must be presumed for cases of androgenic alopecia.


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