Hair loss hype or a permanent cure? Bloomberg Businessweek compares a new topical regimen to common hair loss treatments for men. One editor goes behind the scenes to see if this clinic really has a permanent hair loss cure in “Does a Danish Clinic Have a Cure for Hair Loss?”
A Cure for Common Hair Loss?
Forty percent of men and women will have noticeable hair loss by age 40. And the problem only grows – pardon the pun – as we age. Men’s and women’s hair loss is a poignant reminder that our bodies cannot stay young forever. But luckily, if we catch thinning hair fast enough, we can take preventative measures.
The most common medical treatments for male pattern baldness are topical drugs like finasteride and minoxidil that must be applied daily, for life. (Because when you stop using them, your hair loss will return almost immediately.) An expensive but effective option is hair transplant surgery. But, as with any surgery, there are risks and recovery involved, and the results, although semi-permanent, likely will need to be redone after 15-20 years as the hair follicles naturally age. Pricey LED light combs have dubious benefits. Hair growth supplements like Viviscal Man effectively nourish thinning follicles to help promote thicker hair growth and reduce hair fall. It does need to be taken every day for at least three to six months for maximum results. But Viviscal is backed by clinical research, and when you stop taking Viviscal your hair growth progress will continue in line with your natural hair growth cycle for a little while, unlike topical hair loss drugs.
Hyped Hair Clinic: the Harklinikken
Lars Skjoth is the “handsome, charismatic and well-coiffed” founder of Harklinikken, which is Danish for ‘hair clinic’. At his clinics in Denmark; Dubai; Germany; Norway; Tampa, FL; Beverly Hills, CA, and via online consultations, he and his team lead a carefully culled group of follicularly challenged men through a twice-a-day evening application of a special tonic. The ingredients are top secret — Skjoth will only say that the formula is “based on cow milk and plant derivatives” — and it is moderately expensive compared to other drug free treatments. The initial consultation is $50, and then the treatment with special shampoos is up to $120 a month.
Through the special screening process, Harklinikken specialists weed out about 30% of the applicants who have hair loss due to autoimmune illnesses like alopecia, baldness due to scarring, or anyone unlikely to see a minimum of a 30% increase in growth. The elite group who are accepted then undergo a detailed questionnaire that includes height, age, weight, exercise, stress levels, and smoking and drinking habits. Then, that info is entered into an algorithm that Skjoth developed and has been continuing to revise for the past 20 years. The algorithm determines the specific formula of the purported hair loss cure that is shipped to the client.
The tonic is applied twice at 30-minute intervals, usually before bed, then shampooed out with the special shampoo twice the next morning. Compliance is key — and results drop off dramatically for users who do not adhere to the regimen. But according to Harklinikken, after four months of treatment, most clients who follow the program faithfully will recover between 30-60% of their lost hair thickness. The clinic’s before-and-after photos do look compelling. The clinic claims famous anonymous clients as success stories, and a laudatory first-person report published in Marie Claire in February.
But more consumer testing and customer data needs to be done before Harklinikken‘s formula can be deemed an unequivocal and widespread success as a hair loss cure. The clinic’s staff do cherry pick their participants, and thus, their results, when they reject those with pre-existing conditions before treatment begins. As the clinic grows in popularity, and their formula and process comes under more scrutiny, the results will be more definitively proved or disproved as data and information becomes available.