An interesting Internet meme has recently emerged: women using vaginal yeast infection products to grow their hair longer or to reverse hair loss.
A quick search of YouTube will net you hundreds of testimonial videos from women who've used this to treat their hair. Some of them have even begun organizing "Monistat Hair Growth Challenges" online. A local TV station in San Antonio also reported on the trend recently.
Using a feminine product to grow your hair sounds crazy -- but does it really work?
The short answer: possibly.
The active ingredient in these products is miconazole nitrate, an antifungal agent. So how does an antifungal chemical help your hair grow?
Well miconazole's chemical structure is similar to another antifungal agent called ketoconazole which has been shown to block dihydrotestosterone, the hair-killing hormone responsible for female- and male-pattern hair loss.
In fact, several studies (Skin Therapy Letter, Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery, International Journal of Cosmetic Science, Journal of Dermatology Science, Journal of Dermatology) have evaluated ketoconazole as an "anti-androgen," meaning it combats the kill-off of hair follicles. Since miconazole is similar in nature to ketoconazole, it makes sense to think that it could also be effective at stopping female-pattern hair loss.
It's important to remember that vaginal creams haven't been clinically evaluated as a hair loss treatment -- and I don't recommend trying this without a doctor's consent.
Here are a few things you should keep in mind:
Does It Work?
While it does seem possible that miconazole could help grow your hair, it's important to remember that this specific ingredient hasn't been clinically tested to prove its effectiveness in growing hair or treating hair loss.
Theoretically, it is possible and there is anecdotal evidence that supports this possibility, but until it is properly tested, there's no way to know for sure how well or if it works. Also remember that every person is different and you may not have the same response to a treatment that others do.
Because this product hasn't been tested for hair regrowth, I would not advise anyone to spend their money on this treatment or to take it in place of clinically proven therapies.