Ecklonia cava is an edible brown seaweed, harvested in the oceans around Jeju-island, South Korea. This seaweed is broadly studied for its health properties. Already since the 11th century, people believe that it is helpful for beauty and growth of hair. Recent studies show that topical treatment with Ecklonia cava extract can have a positive effect on hair growth.
Ecklonia cava and hair growth
Hairs are produced from hair follicles which are embedded in the inner layer of the skin (dermis). Hair follicles are made up of dermal papilla cells. Growth of hairs is closely associated with the status of the dermal papilla cells. Ecklonia cava elicits several pathways involved in the multiplication of dermal papilla cells, which ultimately results in hair growth.
Studies show that Ecklonia cava enhances the lengthening of the hair shaft, the growth of dermal papilla cells and the release of the Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). Ecklonia cava also decreases the activity of 5α-reductase and therefore reduces the amount of DHT (di-hydro testosterone) in the body.
Ecklonia cava compared to minoxidil and finasteride
Ecklonia cava has been studied against two well-known drugs for the treatment of hair loss: finasteride and minoxidil. Finasteride inhibits the activity of 5α-reductase, which reduces the amount of DHT (di-hydro testosterone) in the body. Minoxidil promotes the growth of dermal papilla cells (hair follicles are made up of these cells). Studies verify that Ecklonia cava performs both of these functions:
- After 37 days of treatment, Ecklonia cava shows an increase in the size, depth and length of hair follicles. Whereas the hair follicles of the control group were still in the telogen (resting) stage, those in the Ecklonia cava and minoxidil treated groups were in the anagen (growing) stage.
- Ecklonia cava has a 14% stronger effect on the increase of hair follicle length than Minoxdil (1 ug/ml of Ecklonia cava: +12,4%, 1 ug/ml of Minoxidil +10,9%).
- Ecklonia cava inhibits the 5 α-reductase by over 66% and shows the same level of inhibition of 5 α-reductase as finasteride.
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Topical application of Ecklonia cava
The above mentioned results indicate that Ecklonia cava extract can be effective in the treatment of hair loss and can be used in topical form as a natural alternative to finasteride and minoxidil. Ecklonia cava even shows a stronger effect on the increase of hair follicle length than minoxidil.
Ecklonia cava is an active ingredient in both the shampoo and the lotion of Neofollics Hair Technology. The lotion contains, besides a high concentration of Ecklonia cava extract, more effective, scientifically proven ingredients, like Raspberry ketone. The shampoo also contains Ecklonia cava extract in a high concentration, Raspberry ketone and 1% Piroctone olamine (comparable with Ketoconazole).
Bak, S. S., Ahn, B. N., Kim, J. A., Shin, S. H., Kim, J. C., Kim, M. K., Sung, Y. K. & Kim, S. K. (2013). Ecklonia cava promotes hair growth. Clin Exp Dermatol, 38(8), 904-910. doi: 10.1111/ced.12120
Kang, J. I., Kim, S. C., Kim, M. K., Boo, H. J., Jeon, Y. J., Koh, Y. S., Yoo, E. S., Kang, S. M. & Kang, H. K. (2012). Effect of Dieckol, a component of Ecklonia cava, on the promotion of hair growth. Int J Mol Sci., 13(5), 6407-6423. doi: 10.3390/ijms13056407
Kim, S. K., Kim, J. A., Ahn, B. N. & Bak, S. S. (2013). Hair growth stimulator based on Ecklonia cava extract, preparation method thereoy, and cosmetic composition containing the same.