Estrogen and Hair Growth

For the male readers of this blog, estrogen (also known as oestrogen) is not something that one would consider to be of any interest upon first glance.  For one, estrogen is a female hormone, so what male in his right mind would want to start taking estrogen and getting female secondary sexual characteristics and increased fat deposits  among other side effects?! Estrogen does have some beneficial properties for the heart, and is though to be one of the main reasons behind why females outlive males. However, I would still pass on it.

The reason I decided to write a post on estrogen, however, is because I recently read an extremely interesting 4 page interview from 2012 of our omniscient hair loss hero Dr. George Cotsarelis. While the main part of the interview is devoted to the oft discussed PGD2, there are a few other interesting subjects discussed.  The second page of the interview is what really surprised me in a good way.

On page 1 of this interview, Dr. Cotsarelis discusses the old and well known Dr. James Hamilton study from the 1950s in which it was found that men who were castrated before puberty (eunuchs) never went bald, but upon being given testosterone, those with a family history of baldness still started to loose hair.

On page 2, however, Dr. Cotsarelis mentions something that I had never read before and that got me quite excited: basically, even after someone has lost much of their hair due to androgenic alopecia, they can regrow a lot of it when given estrogen after castration!  His point is supposedly verified by many studies on transgender (I assume male-to-female, aka MTF) patients showing hair regrowth after their being castrated and getting on estrogen therapy.  While I do not think any of us men want to get castrated or take estrogen, this is still an incredible finding.

Over the years, I have read a number of articles in which doctors and professionals seem to suggest that once hair is gone (turns vellus/becomes extremely fine), it can never return.  This is also why Finasteride and Minoxidil virtually never get back any significant amount of hair for someone who is mostly or entirely bald.  There have been anecdotal posts on internet forums about Dutasteride actually regrowing large quantities of vellus/invisible-to-the-eye hair, but these have been few and far between.  Over a decade ago, Dr. Marty Sawaya caused an insane level of excitement on hair loss forums when she reported that one of her older patients gained back most of his long lost hair when on Dutasteride, but that whole episode was controversial and not replicated.

More recent research has suggested that a balding scalp still has all the follicle stem cells intact, but certain progenitor cells have become depleted.  Basically, the cells are there, but the activity is not there.  In this 2012 interview, towards the end Dr. Cotsarelis mentions that perhaps blocking PGD2 will allow the stem cells to make progenitor cells again.   However, this is not a certainty, and neither is there a given that long lost hairs will regrow again once PGD2 is inhibited.

I suspect that this powerful impact of estrogen on hair regrowth is still not strong enough to grow back all of one’s lost hair, since many/most older balding MTF transsexuals seem to get hair transplants even after getting castrated and getting on estrogen therapy.  I was planning to write a couple of posts on MTF transsexuals this year, and hopefully I can get more direct feedback from some of them on this highly interesting issue.

Another important thing that Dr. Cotsarelis mentions on page 2 is that there could be an inflammatory component to hair loss.  This also surprised me, because he seemed to be saying the opposite just two years later when being interviewed in 2014 (in response to Dr. Brett King’s groundbreaking results in curing alopecia areata) when he said that androgenic hair loss probably does not have an immune system component to it like alopecia areata.  Am I misunderstanding something here in the contradiction?  Doesn’t an immune system attack imply inflammation?

Finally, for men who take Finasteride (brand names Propecia, Proscar, Finpecia, Fincar etc…), one potential side effect is increased estrogen levels, which sometimes results in the dreaded gynecomastia along with fat gain in other body areas.   Their are numerous complaints on hair loss forums about this.  So besides the fact that estrogen therapy is not of much use unless you get castrated, another reason for a man not to take estrogen in the hopes of growing back some hair is…. man-boobs.

20 thoughts on “Estrogen and Hair Growth”

  1. Skin Perturbation PLUS Ruxolitinib (lotion) is the 100% cure here now? And you mention EVERYTHING ELSE but what could be a REAL 100% Cure? Why do you not ask the medical researchers?

    Tired hearing about new discovered protein interactions in which a cure for hair loss could be only 5 years away. Is the cure here right now? And you ignore it?

  2. I too think skin perturbation/slight wounding + an anti -imflamatory would have some surprising results.. and it is quite weird no one has even tried this…

    Every disease in the human body is caused by some form of tiny cellular chronic immflamation which doesn’t let he body repair itself…. the fact that the medical industry refuses to test this out in mpb patients is very worrying… i think they realised that if they give the population antiimflamatories… we will all live to 100+ which is NOT GOOD!

  3. Mpb follicles sensence prematurely a little like the aging process. Therefore it is hard if not impossible to get good regrowth. We need to find a way to clear the sensence cell out of the bulge to allow fresh cells to repopulate the stem cell niche

  4. Hola quisiera saber que opinan de la micropignentacion capilar???? Se utiliza en caso de querer llevar el pelo rapado y obtener mayor densidad. Parece una buena opción hasta que salga una cura. Y es menos agresivo que una cirugía. El administrador que opina???? Creo que es un tema que nunca se ha tocado.

  5. Lo que si me gusta de la micropigmentación es que es poco agresivo. Tengo algunas dudas: con el paso del tiempo y cuando tenes que hacer retoques no quedará una mancha homogenea??? realmente en persona no se nota???
    Yo todavía tengo pelo ose que se mezclaría con el mismo, por lo menos hasta que salga una solución. Y otra duda es si no afecta el pelo existente y si realmente desasaparece con el paso del tiempo, que no quede manchado en caso de volver a tener el pelo mas largo. Espero que me puedan dar sugerencias. En argentina hay alguno bueno?????

  6. Nose nada sobre el tema. miralo aver… yo pensaba que era un tatuaje ypor lo tanto se queda siempre… y si tienes pelo y a la vez te haces la micropigmentacion entonces eso si que se notara.

  7. Alguien que me pueda dar mas información sobre micropigmentación capilar??? en argentina conocen a alguien??? Quedará natural? Gracias.

    1. Diego….. no haces mas que preguntar y preguntar sobre absolutamente todo… no te lo tomes a mal pero creo que deberias coger las riendas e indagar un poco tu.. sino cualquiera te dice algo y te lo cres.. busca clinicas por argentina, valoraciones, videos en youtube… esta todo por internet… te digo esto por que me da cierta pena verte tan desesperado preguntando a todo el mundo.. suerte.

  8. A mi me parece que para eso están estos blog. Cada uno tiene derecho a preguntar lo que quiere. Es mas vos mismo le contestaste a Diego diciendole que la micropigmentación era una buena alternativa y cuando el te preguntó mas información vos le dijiste que no sabías nada del tema. Si no sabes nada del tema no recomiendes porque podes llevarlo a tomar una mala decisión. Justamente todos los que estamos aca es porque estamos desesperado por el tema pelo. Porque hace mas de 20 años que no sale nada. Nadie tiene derecho a agredir a nadie.
    Diego fijate en Argentina hay una empresa que se llama Pigmentalia, de Alejandro Chueco, parece que es buena.

  9. Gracias Gustavo! voy a ver esta clínica que me recomendaste. Respecto a lo que digan los otros, no me interesa, si quiero preguntar voy a seguir preguntando, siempre hago lo que siento y lo que quiero en la vida. Por eso me va bien. Tampoco estoy desesperado, solo me estoy informando para no equivocarme. Es un tema que me preocupa pero no es para tanto. Lo importante está dentro de mi casa, mi familia. Saluditos!!!!!

  10. Como que gente desubicada? te he dicho que no te lo tomaras mal pero esque no es normal que preguntes 10 preguntas al dia sobre 10 temas distintos… esta muy bien que hagas lo que quieras en la vida.. yo tambien lo hago y esta muiy bien pero no cres que te debes a ti mismo un poco de esfuerzo en encontrar tu soluciones? sino dependeras de los demas… yo no he agredido a nadie , le he dado mi opinion a diego sobre la micropigmentacion que me parece una solucion increible pero esque en vez de mirar el de que se trata la micropigmentacion, empieza a preguntar si crea manchas si noseque y nose que.. nose me parece muy raro que siendo lo afortunados que somos en tener internet haya gente que aun asi con estas herramientas a su disposicion tengan que preguntar como si no tuviesen informacion alguna… yo creo que el desubicado eres tu gustavo que yo le he contestado varias preguntas a diego, ya que soy hispanohablante y me estas agrediendo tu diciendo que estoy desubicado.. asique por favor no seamos hipcritas. yo solo quiero que diego pueda independizarse un poco en este tema y no sea presa de lo que ponga el admin en el blog ya que es un hombre como nosotros que se le cae el pelo y tampoco es un oraculo.. saludos.

  11. “respecto a lo que digan los otros, no me interesa” .. no te interesa lo que te digo pero si te interesa cuando soy el unico que responde a tus preguntas? esto es una broma no? sois asi todos los argentinos? si no sabes hablar ingles aun asi hay miles de fuentes de informacion para todo en internet.

  12. Y gustavo , precisamente le conteste mi opinion( lo que el buscaba) y luego le he dicho lo de las preguntas por que precisamente yo no soy nadie para recomendarle clinicas, por eso le recomende que se informara el mismo, por favor le mi mensaje antes de decir que hay gente desubicada que el unico desubicado eres tu.

  13. Ultima cosa Gustavo.. hace unos dias le dije al admin que deberia poner una nota en este blog diciendo que el no “responde a preguntas” ya que suficiente trabajo tiene con INDAGAR EL MISMO en internet para mantenernos informados… y que paso?? me dio las gracias puesto a que la gente le hacia tantas preguntas que le agobiaban…. mis mensajes son un poco agresivos ahora por que me ha molestado muhco tu comentario de desubicado cuando le estoy ayudando a tu “amigo”.

  14. It seems to me that everyone has a right to ask many times as desired and not feel like answering that do not. Besides not know the ages of the people who come on this blog, there are more people than there is no known internet search properly. Why resort to these blog, precisely because it is easier. The attack does not lead anywhere. I do not know but I understand Diego. All are about the same in this blog, so if someone bothers people asking a lot to go and ready. Thank You.

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