Valproic Acid and Hair Growth

Last year, I discussed new groundbreaking research from South Korea in relation to the development of a new peptide called  PTD-DBM. This product can activate the Wnt/β-catenin pathway and accelerate hair regrowth via wound-induced hair follicle neogenesis. One part of the findings also dealt with valproic acid and its impact on hair.

Valproic Acid and Hair Growth Research

In the above work that was led by Dr. Kang-Yell Choi, the researchers also found that topical valproic acid (VPA) sped up hair growth in mice. Valproic acid (also known as valproate and sodium valproate) is a medication that is used to treat epilepsy, seizures, bipolar disorder and migraines. However, this chemical can cause significant side effects and is not something to be take lightly.

In the past, there have also been other studies that found hair growth benefits of valproic acid (brand name Depakote). For example, these 2014 findings from South Korea suggest VPA grows hair in humans when used in a topical version.

Several other studies have indicated that valproic acid can change hair color and also change hair texture. However, most of the past research on this subject matter seems to be on small sample sizes. And a majority of these findings seem to be coming from one country: South Korea. Including these clinical trials from 2012.

Valproic Acid and Wounding

Early this week, commentator “John Doe” posted a link to an interesting new study titled “Transcutaneous implantation of VPA-encapsulated dissolving microneedles induces hair regrowth“.

Besides the discussion about valproic acid and hair growth, the study covers the fascinating phenomenon of this unique idea of valproic-acid-encapsulating dissolving microneedles (DMN-VPA). Apparently this method creates dermal micro-wounds than enhance the effects of the VPA upon hair growth. This also seems to support the wounding concept behind the technology of Follica.

Valproic Acid Hair Researcher Dr. Kang Choi.

One of the co-authors of this new paper is the same Dr. Kang-Yell Choi that I mentioned earlier in the post, and the research is yet again conducted in South Korea. Mr. Choi has his own wikipedia entry, and he deserves a photo in this post. He works at Yonsai University. According to the scientists behind this latest research:

“Micro-wounding-mediated implantation of DMN-VPA upregulates expression of Wnt/β-catenin pathway, alkaline phosphatase, proliferating cell nuclear antigen, loricrin and HF stem cell markers, including keratin 15, and CD34 more effectively than topical application.”

Injecting an Epilepsy Drug into the Scalp

At first, I was considering adding the above findings at the top of my next “brief items of interest” post. However, earlier today, my alerts notified me of a new article in newscientist magazine titled “Male balding may be cured by injecting epilepsy drug into scalp.

I can not access the whole article, but it is about injecting valproic acid into your scalp to regrow hair. If anyone manages to read the whole article, please post about it in the comments. It seems like this predominantly South Korean led area of research is now finding its way into the US.

Valproate and Hair Loss

  • One unusual thing I noticed is that there are a lot of search results on Google that suggest valproic acid can also cause hair loss in people who are taking it orally for seizures and other such conditions.
  • One 2018 article found that oral valproic acid is more likely to cause hair loss. This valproate induced hair loss is typically diffused, nonscarring, and dose related.
  • A while back I covered a self-experimenter by the name “Swisstemples” in detail. One of the ingredients in his protocol is VPA.

49 thoughts on “Valproic Acid and Hair Growth”

  1. I wonder if Aclaris is using a mild acid to penetrate several skin layers for JAK to try and activate the hair follicles. Quickly, it occurred to me that given they are about to start Phase 2 trails that we will probably get a quick update on to whether JAK is working when they have their second quarter conference call on I believe around May 28th. They might tell us if the stopped trials since it was not working or that they are getting good initial results.

  2. I’ve got access to the article, but it doesn’t add much beyond your own summary of the latest 2018 study. There is also a reference to the South Korean 2014 study you link to.

    Perhaps the most interesting new part was a mention of further work being done to ‘…test a spring-loaded injector they have developed for self-administering at home…’ A link to this paper was then included:

  3. Funny…I actually had the thought not too long ago, what if they could grow hair back, but in came in all weird…would people still do it? If the regrown hair was somehow all wiry and impossible to style, or much darker/lighter than your actual hair. I guess in the color case you could dye all of it…but the texture case is different.

  4. Interesting… Is it just me or this method dicovered by that Korean scientist, who seems to be a very respectable guy, was recieved with much more excitment in other forums than here ?
    Theres very little discussion about this potential new treatmetn/cure here. I see people.talking about Follica/Tsuji/Jak/Brotzu way more often despite the whole enthusiasm that this korean research has been recieved elsewhere.
    This really sounds to be a least a very.promising treatment that can thicken our existing follicles to a normal, healthy state, 10 times.more powerful and efficient than minox. But the study suggests it can totally revive the hair follicles that have been dormant state, and the most exciting thing is that its a method that can be done more easily with much less costs than like Tsuji wich is for me too sciencd fiction tech wise, too costly

    We should have a nasa for every potential cure lol, not just for jak

    1. His original work that I covered in my past post about him received almost 100 comments.

      This is a new development that is less than a week old, and yesterday’s article from newscientist is way too recent. I think people will get on board if more results or trials come out when it comes to this unique methodology of delivering VPA.

      1. You’re right, admin. Its relatively new and therefore not as popular yet as the old players who are on this race for new hair treatments for much longer time like follica, tsuji etc.

        But is it my mistake or the finding about this protein actually happened in 2013 ? Qt least thats what I read on reddit fron that “insider”. I could be wrong as my english is lacking lol.

    1. Thanks Netshed. Representatives of both Dr. Hayatdavoudi and Dr. Lupanzula in Europe emailed me about there new offerings. Will wait to hear more updates about their patient results and compounding processes.

  5. I wonder if follica is using valproic acid in his topical cocktail?? You get scalp dermabrasion wounding as mentioned in his protocol then use RAIN topical which includes valproic acid…I’m sure follica knows about this angle..

  6. I sometimes wonder if we are close because so much is going on or if it was like this all the time and everything just keeps failing. Not just in the world of hair loss but in other areas as well, cancer, Alzheimers etc. That people who are not on the inside but are motivated are constantly disappointed and still think the cure is near.

  7. @ Admin thanks for writing a post about it! :-)
    This whole Topic reminds me to News I saw few months ago where several sites wrote about studies about “Scalp Threading with Polydioxanone Monofilament Threads”. A procedure for Face Lifting with actually strings implemented under the Skin. This already is allowed without FDA approval. Search the web for it you will find a lot. …

  8. Inducing hair follicle neogenesis with secreted proteins enriched in embryonic skin.

    We found that treatment of adult non-hair fibroblasts with cell-free extract from embryonic skin conferred upon them the competency to regenerate hair follicles. Mechanistically, exposure to embryonic skin extract or to the combination of the 3 proteins altered the gene expression to an inductive hair follicle dermal papilla fibroblast-like profile and activated Igf and Wnt signaling, which are crucial for the regeneration process. Therefore, a cocktail of organ-specific extracellular proteins from the embryonic environment can render adult cells competent to re-engage in developmental interactions for organ neogenesis.

    hmm… sounds like maybe our problems are solved as long as your body doesn’t reject it?

  9. How do you create an 8.3% solution of valproic acid. I know that if you mix sodium valproate with distilled water, you can get the solution but I have no idea what kind of amounts of water and sodium valproate you need to mix together to get a 8.3% solution.

  10. Wasn’t swisstemples also using lithium salts for the same reason, post wounding? Interesting that the two compounds, indicated for the same psychiatric disorders, have a similar effect on wnt channel activation.

    I wonder if there’s any overlap between psychiatric disorders and male hair loss? Besides the fact that it drives us crazy, of course.

  11. This has got to be it. One more week (might actually start this week) and those shiny bald heads get covered with JAK lotion in a Phase 2 Trial. Its here now.

    Aclaris should mention if they are getting any results or ending trials by their next conference call for investors. They have to provide updates on any meaningful developments, and products in Phase Trials is usually meaningful.

    I’ve had it with research this, and research that. I just want the solution now. I have staked my reputation on JAK and I will stick with it since its the fastest possible chance for us to get all of our hair back. There are already people with AA hair loss who were completely bald and now walk around with all their hair. All of this happened in just a few years. Let history repeat for AGA. I also think they will bring in the price to something very reasonable strongly believe $200 month. Just a guess. Not the $100K a year. We need the product Fast, We Need it to Work, We need it reasonably priced.

    If only it proves to work very well. We should get our first info in a few months.


    1. Yes. I think Jak or some sort of wounding protocol are the nearest term solutions that could come to marketing in next 3-5 years. Everything else is just theoretical or academic at this point.Unless something comes out of left field, like brotzu. But I am not holding my breath for that.

  12. There is no question: Wounding protocols are going to be the standard treatment for this problem in the near future.

    1. What about Shiseido and RCH-01? They are supposed to be finishing up their latest trial right now and mentioned a potential 2018 release in Japan. Am I wrong about that?

      1. Hey whatever works I am for, but having something that has proven to grow all hair (on AA type hairloss) where you simply slap it on your head an already FDA approved drug I think is the best opportunity anytime soon.

        If Shiseido comes through then great but seems as if it would cost a fortune to have tens of thousands of cells grown and injected in a medical procedure. Think, just stopping whatever factor is causing hair to fall out to turn off then allowing hair to regrow is the best solution of course as long as it has no side affects.

      2. Evidence so far suggests that Shiseido should be good for stopping hairloss, but not necessarily for regrowing it.

        Personally, I’m excited about it, but I’m not going to fly to Japan for some injections and biopsies if I can just get something done in North America that will actually grow new hair.

        So it’s going to be fin + follica for me, until better things come out in this hemisphere.

        1. Right, that makes sense. I would be hugely excited to have something that stops hair loss. If we can regrow some, even better!

  13. Time for a real Treatment. I really hope JAK works. It is here now. In fact some have already tried it although it has proven not to work at least without being dissolved into lower skin layers. Thus if it works with Aclaris version then how long do you think it will take until people use it? Not long. And I do not think Aclaris will take long either just too much profits at stake. With the AA study its like they are doing TWO Phase 2’s.

    We should know very soon.

    1. Adding, assuming the trials start April 1st (yes April Fools day how ironic) we could possibly here something by June 1st. It takes about 30 days to begin to see growth. They are not going to keep applying the drug if after 2 months there is no indication of growth. Thus either way I think beginning in June 1 and After we will here in a sentence or two how things are going or cancelled. They have to provide updates to investors on how things are going plus if it does not work they will let every know they cancelled the Phase 2. They are not going to wait as long as mid 2019 to give the first bit of news. The news will come sometime soon after June 1st. Just my opinion.

      Time to get my hair back just like some of the AA people have done. They did, why not me. Its that simple.

      1. One more additional comment. Aclaris Pipeline chart shows the Topical for AA type hair loss in the middle of Phase 2. It must be working otherwise they never would have tried for a Phase 2 in AGA this soon. It does not mean that it will work for AGA but at least it is probably working for AA type hair loss.

        We are in the bottom of the 9th and walking to the plate preparing to lose or win the game. It’s all happening Right NOW.

      2. Nasa they will have to go through all phases of trials here in the usa. Fda protocol. The email that someone here received from aclaris straight up said its several years away from being released. Will they give us results before 2019…maybe but who knows. I hope it works and works well but the only thing we have in the near future 3 to 5 years is follica, sisheido….kerastem if they tweek there results to really give people 30 hairs cm2 like they claim.

        1. Time will tell. Let’s hope that it works great then watch what happens. Agreed no earlier than dec 2019 but my guess IF it works that’s when we should be able to get it from someplace. Just an opinion.

        2. If Jaks do work for AGA, I’m sure that release date will be in the near future. The only barrier to a timely release is called FDA, but since President Trump seems concerned with his own hair loss issues, I’m sure that he will slam his fist should FDA try to gate keep Aclaris from rolling out any potential working AGA treatment.

          1. A big IF Aclaris shows JAK works for AGA. Then expect a quick release from somewhere with the already FDA approved drug. And, the White House will give it a big push. Yes as dumb as that sounds the right president who is for hair drugs to regrow hair helps.

            By next Monday for the first a fairly large company is going to slap on bald heads JAK with other ingredients to saturate lower skin levels. It should only take 4 weeks to know if hair is growing. After 3 months they should know how well it is going to work. By their next conference call they probably will say they cancelled the phase 2 from lack of results or that it seems to work. But do not expect any photos IF it works for 6 months, at least

            Next week History begins.

  14. Is Sheisedo suppose to release anything? Also, is everyone pretty much nullifying Brotzu? Also for thought, anyone ever monkey around with progesterone?

    1. shiseido and brotzu have both said 2018 release themselves, Fidia say’s potentially before during summer 2018. Shiseido and replicel said “2018”.

  15. I think the author of this blog is right not to jump on the Brotzu train. I’d be very surprised if this is going to amount to anything. On the other hand I am not sure why the good doctor would bascially destroy his reputation with unrealistic claims? What’s somewhat positive is that smarter people than me seem to think that the premises of the lotion are sound. So let’s see. Apparently he is going to talk at a conference in April. Chances that this going to work are below 10% in my opinion in case anyone wants a bet (just kidding, I have too much skin/hair in the game for that).

    1. It is more likely that the lotion does indeed work. The question is how efficient will it be. In his latest email a few days ago the Doctor said that Fidia confirmed his first results on AGA so it looks like that we can trust the doctors words from his interviews. The 5 year claim could be true. Maybe its coincidence but my hair loss started in 2013 (diffuse thinner) and the process of thinning took exactly 5 years. Now my scalp is clearly visible so I would not say that the 5 year claim does not make sense. Even his son confirmed it again a few weeks ago that the 5 year claim is true and that the lotion works like finasteride + minoxidil together.

      Dont know why the admin is silent on this topic. At first it seemed that he qas quite interested because the science behind this lotion makes sense. A 85 year old with a high reputation will risk his name and his fathers name who was nominated for the nobel prize, just to sell snake oil?

      Then we have the evidence that people who created alternative lotions based on the Brotzu lotion got impressive results. You can see all the pics on the HLT thread.

      1. Ah don’t get me wrong – I hope it works for at least some of us. It just feels so unrealistic that a lotion you don’t even need a prescription for could really be a game changer in a sector that’s worth billions. But I too got the impression that the theory behind it is sound and the doctor is credible.

        Let’s hope for the best. We will be wiser in April.

        1. @admin – I think you got the right dose with Brotzu. He is credible enough to be covered but you are sticking to the facts without too much speculation. This makes this place legit. I am sure you will have something to write about one way or another soon.

    1. Is this microneedling a high adavanced technique that induces the emergence of new folicles ? Is it something that you can not do with dermaroller ?

      Maybe the combo microneedling and a very powerfull drug taken topically can make plenty of hair regwoth. Right now, I cant think of any other drug that can potentially do that other than jak.

      What is making me hopeful is the fact that they are coming to a common denominator, wich is wounding, and what each of this company may offer as a product to revitalize hair folicles is what makes then different to one another.

      I think that we are indeed about to witness a new era of hairloss treatments in the comming years that will obliterate fina and minox that involves wounding. The premise seems the same, but the topical products will be different.

  16. The cure is never going to come. At least not this way.

    You have fibrosis and calcification since childhood plus the scalp bone development which you cannot stop. On top of that, dht does its part and here we are. Only by eliminating dht and raising estrogen to relax the scalp muscles and reduce bone density in scalp (of course all these apply to the rest of you as well) is regrowth possible. I went from nw5 to nw3 in three months with just Propecia on a diffuse pattern and having low t levels. Of course it was bound to fail and I stopped due to my endocrine system almost shutting down. Either you become a woman or bald. We are stuck with this for at least 100 more years. Save the tears. The future isn’t for bald or balding men. They will target the issue in childhood because that is where it starts. They will go for the genes. The ridiculous notion of “I rub some stuff on my head and hope” will die in a few years. Shave it and live your life.

  17. Admin, I emailed you a zip file with about 10 pdf primary literature articles on hair loss, I take that you received it? If you need access to articles then just ask! The sharing of information and knowledge is what gets things fixed.

    1. Hi Phil you made around 10 comments about Follics recently (including many with the same links in them). I deleted half of those repetitive comments.

      I also do not open zip files from anyone as I am not sure if they have a virus in them. In your email to me you also pointed out about Follics and it seems like that product and website is your main point regarding the “sharing of information and knowledge” that is going to to fix things? If it is something else, please e-mail me your points first with internet links to any sources…rather than any files in zip folders that I will never open. I will open any internet links you send me this week.

      You also posted the same Finasteride side effects links too so I kept one and deleted the others. We truly appreciate your warnings and concerns for our safety and are very glad to have you on our side.

      1. ADMIN, well it’s nice to know that you’re cautious. Though the pdf files contained in the zip were downloaded through a vpn through a secure proxy server for an academic medical center…I’m 100% confident there’s nothing malicious in the zip file. And it would be impossible for me to post the links unless it was through google drive, and I don’t feel like doing that for security reasons. The article you seek on valproic acid also just so happens to be in the zip file I sent you.

  18. I am taking sodium valprate or (valprate acid) for bipolar disorder, which i started in july last yr, my hair has been falling out and has become so thin that if i continue to take it i will loose all of my hair, i am going to stop taking it. My hair used to be beautiful and thick, not anymore. So i dont belive for one minute that it will help grow hair back.

  19. I just came accross this article, i do not know if is still active, but here are my thoughts. 4 months ago, i started looking into the valproic acid studies for hairgrowth by South Korea, they already run all tests, and free patented the formula. I decided to go for it. Using a 9% weight solution of valproic acid, 50 % ethyl alcohol, 45 % sterilized water and 5% glycerin. Applied twice a day…morning and night. The first and second month, I saw no visible results, but third month I started noticing balding spots at the crown started getting darker i am just on my fourth month, there is new hair appearing, very fine, baby hair type, but new hair for sure(neogenesis).Treatment is supposed to be about 6 months…i will complete it ! Extra comments…i started supplementing with Biotin, as an article said valproic acid affects the biotin levels, thus causing hairloss…I am almost 48, and going bald on the crown area. I am happy to be getting results

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