Brotzu Lotion For Hair Loss? Maybe, Maybe Not. (See Photos)

Rob Treatments 23 Comments

In 2016, an Italian surgeon made hair loss headlines after announcing the accidental discovery of a topical formula that showed promise in slowing, stopping, and even reversing hair loss. Its name? Brotzu Lotion — titled after the creator himself: then-81-year old Giovanni Brotzu.

What happened next is what always happens: hair loss forums went wild.

Hair loss sufferers began researching the ingredients in Brotzu Lotion’s patent. They organized group buys to source, compound, and self-distribute crude versions of the lotion ahead of Brotzu’s expected 2018 release.

Some hair loss sufferers even contacted Dr. Brotzu himself — who, in correspondence, suggested that the lotion could turn back the balding clock by 5 years… and that there are no reported side effects.

Nearly two years later, where do we stand?

Since then, excitement for Brotzu Lotion has fizzled, returned, died, and just recently… exploded. The question is: will Brotzu Lotion — set for a 2018 release in Europe — actually live up to the hype?

I’m cautiously optimistic, with caveats. Emphasis on caution and caveats. This article explains why.

We’ll uncover the science behind Brotzu Lotion — its ingredients, mechanisms of action, and 120-day study results. Then we’ll dive into Brotzu’s before-after hair regrowth photos — along with some photos people claim are from Brotzu Lotion, but really aren’t.

Finally, we’ll reveal which kinds of hair loss the lotion may help — pattern hair loss (androgenic alopecia) or autoimmune-related hair loss (alopecia areata and alopecia universalis) — and if you’re planning on trying Brotzu Lotion, where to set your hair regrowth expectations.

Brotzu Lotion: A Hair Loss Breakthrough… Or All Hype?

Brotzu Lotion is a topically-applied hair loss lotion expected to arrive in Europe in late-2018.

At first glance, this is no big deal. After all, there are dozens of lotions used to combat hair loss — from FDA-approved drugs like minoxidil (Rogaine) to less conventional topicals like emu oil, rosemary oil, or even topical finasteride (Propecia). So what makes Brotzu Lotion worth any attention?

Three things.

Firstly, its inventor claims that for most users, Brotzu should reverse balding by five years within 18 months of use. That’s a huge claim in the hair loss world — one not even Propecia makes.

Secondly, a few great before-after hair regrowth photos are already circulating online — spurring excitement for many hair loss sufferers.

Thirdly, its ingredients and the way the lotion works (its mechanisms of action) are novel — meaning we’ve yet to see a topical target hair loss this way before (at least one that’s made it to market).

Let’s take these one-by-one.

Who Is Giovanni Brotzu — The Inventor Of Brotzu Lotion?

Whenever we hear of a new hair loss treatment, we should look at the person behind the discovery. Are they reputable? Are they operating under a pseudonym? Are they actually just a marketer? Or are they a scientist, working alongside a research team, with published literature to back up their claims?

Oftentimes, this all we need to determine if a new hair loss “breakthrough” is all-hype or the real deal. And encouragingly, in this case, Brotzu Lotion’s inventor (Giovanni Brotzu) is no quack.

Dr. Brotzu is a retired vascular surgeon. He’s the holder of several provisional patents for surgical implants, and his late father — a pharmacologist — was once a candidate for the Nobel Prize.

So how does one go from vascular surgeon to hair loss lotion creator? According to Brotzu, by accident.

Dr. Brotzu’s team was trialing a drug to treat a complication of diabetes: vascular insufficiency in the legs (which can lead to limb loss). When they saw the drug improved vascularity and hair growth on subjects’ legs, they reformulated it into a topical — and tested it on a nurse with hair loss on her scalp.

The results were impressive enough for Dr. Brotzu to pilot more case studies and then create a patent around the formula… which grabbed the attention of the Fidia Pharma Group — a pharmaceutical company. That’s when Brotzu Lotion picked up attention on hair loss forums… and when people started asking for photo evidence.

They didn’t have to wait long. Within the year, photos started circulating — along with study results.

Brotzu Lotion — Early Results (Hair Regrowth Photos)

So far, Brotzu Lotion has been studied on two types of hair loss: autoimmune hair loss (like alopecia areata and alopecia universalis) and pattern hair loss (also known as androgenic alopecia).

Results: Brotzu Lotion For Autoimmune Hair Loss (Case Studies)

Initial case studies (i.e., single-person tests) with Brotzu Lotion show promise for an autoimmune condition called alopecia areatea. This is when a person loses hair, usually in patches, anywhere on the scalp (the sides, tops, and backs of the head — and even the eyebrows). In advanced stages, this leads to hair loss everywhere on the body (alopecia universalis).

In a 2016 presentation, Dr. Brotzu showcased Brotzu Lotion’s one-year hair regrowth results for a female child suffering from alopecia universalis. Here are her before-after photos:

That’s significant hair recovery — and for those with alopecia areata / universalis — incredible results.

Encouragingly, Dr. Brotzu’s patent cites more case studies (but no photos) and claims improvement for pretty much all of his subjects with autoimmune-related hair loss. In fact, he even presented more before-after photos of autoimmune hair loss subjects (here’s the link  — start at 10:30) at another conference. The takeaway? Similar results. See this screenshot:

Another near-full recovery from alopecia areata — and in 16 months.

What’s yet-to-be determined: how much hair regrowth alopecia areata / universalis sufferers can expect. So far, it looks like full recoveries are within the realm of possibilities.

But is the same true for pattern hair loss — a much more common type of hair loss? Can androgenic alopecia sufferers expect similar recoveries — or even to shave five years off the “balding clock”?

Unfortunately — at least so far — the data suggests probably not.

Brotzu Lotion For Pattern Hair Loss (A Clinical Study)

In April 2018, Dr. Brotzu presented preliminary study results of Brotzu Lotion for pattern hair loss.

As with any study, its design matters. So here’s a quick overview of the study design…

  • Subjects: 30 males, 30 females — all with androgenic alopecia
  • Treatment: 1mg of Brotzu Lotion, applied daily in balding regions
  • Duration: six months — with follow-ups at months 0, 1, 3, and 6

…And here’s what the team measured at each follow-up session:

  1. Scalp exam — to check for skin quality changes (i.e., side effects)
  2. Hair diameter — a surrogate for hair thickness
  3. Photographic analysis — to measure the total number of hairs, the percent of anagen hairs (hairs in their growth phase), and the percent of telogen hairs (hairs in their resting phase)

(Note: the investigators also measured hair fall during wash tests and tug tests. But for androgenic alopecia — these metrics are basically useless, so we won’t cover them).

Brotzu Lotion’s Six-Month Results For Androgenic Alopecia (And Photos)

After six months, here were the study’s findings:

  • Scalp exam — no changes (no side effects)
  • Hair diameter — no significant changes
  • Photographic analysis — an increase in anagen hairs (growth phase), a decrease in telogen hairs (resting phase), and no mention of the overall change in hair count

The two major takeaways are that 1) hair thickness did not change, and 2) while the ratio of hairs in the growth vs. resting phase improved, we still don’t know about the overall change in hair count (unless I missed it somewhere — which is possible, since the presentation was in Italian).

So how do these results translate into photographs?

Here are two subjects Dr. Brotzu highlighted in his presentation. First, a before-after photo of a male:

Next, a before-after photo of a female:

The takeaways? Very little regrowth for the male, and maybe slightly more regrowth for the female — though it’s hard to say. It seems like the female got her roots colored between photos, and in the “after” photo, her dyed blonde hair may just blend better into the scalp skin.

What Should We Make Of Brotzu’s Results For Pattern Hair Loss?

I’m not impressed, but I’m also not surprised.

When it comes to pattern hair loss, it’s hard to find a good treatment. In fact, most topicals / supplements on-the-market for androgenic alopecia (pattern hair loss) are either completely ineffective, or only demonstrate hair regrowth on paper (in a study) — with any marginal changes in hair count rarely translating to photos.

Long-story short: the above results are, sadly, ones we’ve come to expect for pattern hair loss.

But how is that possible? After all, people suffering from autoimmune-related hair loss showed major hair recoveries using Brotzu Lotion. Why aren’t we seeing the same results for pattern hair loss?

Well, autoimmune hair loss is not pattern hair loss. They’re entirely different conditions. And unfortunately, hair loss forums confuse the two all the time.

Autoimmune Hair Loss Is Not Pattern Hair Loss

Autoimmune hair loss presents as patchy hair loss anywhere on the scalp. Pattern hair loss presents as a receding hairline, a bald spot, or general “diffuse” thinning above the sides of the scalp.

Autoimmune hair loss is when the body confuses its own hair follicles as foreign invaders. Pattern hair loss is the result of an interplay between genetics, hormones, and skin remodeling (fibrosis).

Autoimmune hair loss accounts for less than 5% of hair loss cases. But pattern hair loss? 95% of cases.

While both conditions are linked to inflammation, but only pattern hair loss leads to scarring. And while both conditions result in hair loss, their pathologies — and thereby treatments — vary wildly.

The bottom line: we should never assume treatments for alopecia areata will translate to androgenic alopecia (pattern hair loss). It’s making an apples-to-oranges comparison.

So… Should We Dismiss Brotzu Lotion For Pattern Hair Loss Entirely? No

Firstly, we need to keep in mind that hair loss treatments take a long time to work.

For reference, studies show that finasteride (Propecia) takes two years before reaching full efficacy. Minoxidil (Rogaine) takes 6-12 months. And Dr. Brotzu himself said that the lotion needs 18 months for the full effect.

Brotzu Lotion’s study was only six months long. Maybe a six-month study wasn’t long enough to see significant results. We won’t know until Fidia Pharma releases more data.

Secondly, the Brotzu family continues to release more androgenic alopecia before-after photos… and some of these photos do show significant hair recovery.

In fact, following backlash in one hair loss forum, Dr. Brotzu’s son registered a username (and chimed in) to defend his father’s lotion — and with a new case study. His response, translated: “Statistics are used in medical congresses, photos are used in advertising.”

He then shared photos of a better responder — a male using Brotzu Lotion for two months

…and to me, these results are significant, and worth sharing. Which makes me wonder why Dr. Brotzu didn’t share more photos like this during his presentation.

Brotzu Lotion: Key Takeaways From Study Results (So Far)

In any case, we have enough information to draw a few conclusions:

  1. Brotzu Lotion, on average, may work well for autoimmune-related hair loss
  2. Brotzu Lotion, on average, may only marginally improve pattern hair loss in six months
  3. Brotzu Lotion, for a small percentage of pattern hair loss sufferers, may work amazingly

And while I have reservations about Brotzu Lotion reversing our baldness “clock” by five years, I also find the lotion’s mechanisms of action to be novel, fascinating, and a step in the right direction for hair loss treatments.

In fact, the way the lotion works is almost like minoxidil (Rogaine) meets a topical finasteride (Propecia) — but through different mechanisms, and without the side effects (so far).

And to understand how, we need to understand Brotzu Lotion’s ingredients. [Note: the following section gets a bit technical, and if you’re not interested, there’s a summary of everything at the bottom of this article.]

Brotzu Lotion’s Ingredients

According to its patent, Brotzu Lotion primarily consists of three ingredients:

  • Propionyl-L-Carnitine — an amino acid (protein)
  • S-Equol — a non-steroidal estrogen derived from soy
  • Dihomo-Gamma-Linoleic Acid (DGLA) — an omega six fatty acid

This is already a bit of a mouthful. So let’s break down each ingredient, rationalize why they’re included, and explain how all of them — when combined — may be synergistic for our hair.

How Brotzu Lotion’s Ingredients May Help Regrow Hair

Ingredient #1: Propionyl-L-Carnitine

When it comes to any hair loss topical — whether it’s minoxidil (Rogaine) or rosemary essential oilpenetration and metabolism of the “active ingredients” are key to a topical’s success.

For instance, if a hair loss topical ingredient helps regrow hair, but its ingredients can’t penetrate the top layer of our scalp skin, it’s useless. It won’t reach all the way down to our hair follicle dermal papilla cells — the place the ingredients must reach in order for the lotion to work.

And if that same ingredient penetrates our scalp skin, but it can’t be metabolized (absorbed) by our hair follicle cells, then it’s still useless. We need our scalp tissues to absorb (and use) those ingredients. Otherwise, they’ll just sit there indefinitely.

In the topical world, there’s a name for substances that help with penetration and/or metabolism: carriers. For example, minoxidil’s carrier (among many) is a substance known as propylene glycol. It helps minoxidil penetrate and absorb into the skin, which is why manufacturers add it to minoxidil to manufacture Rogaine.

Brotzu Lotion’s equivalent to a “carrier” is an ingredient called propionyl-l-carnitine.

Propionyl-l-carnitine is a protein. It’s also a derivative of l-carnitine. It’s associated with antioxidant activity  and, importantly, the improved transportation of fatty acids to cells…

…which is exactly why it’s used in Dr. Brotzu’s formula. Propionyl-l-carnitine increases the metabolism of a certain fatty acid ingredient (keep reading), and it also improves the metabolism of its two main ingredients.

So what are Brotzu Lotions main ingredients? A plant-derived compound that helps reduce DHT, and a fat-derived substance that improves blood flow: S-equol and dihomo-gamma-linoleic acid (DGLA).

Ingredient #2: S-Equol

S-equol is a compound derived from soy. It’s part of a class of chemicals called isoflavones. Specifically, it’s a phytochemical (a chemical from a plant). Even more specifically, it’s a phytoestrogen — a plant estrogen that looks structurally like human estrogen, but when we ingest it, it has a much weaker effect.

How Might S-Equol Improve Hair Growth? It Decreases Androgen Activity (DHT)

Research suggests that S-equol may help reduce a hormone known as dihydrotestosterone, or DHT.

Dihydrotestosterone (or DHT) is a hormone made from testosterone. It’s also suspected to play a major role in pattern hair loss. Why? Because 1) DHT is elevated in balding scalp tissues, and 2) men who can’t produce DHT (due to castration or a genetic deficiency) never go bald.

As a result, many hair loss treatments target to reduce scalp tissue DHT. And while DHT certainly isn’t the only factor in AGA, the evidence is clear: if we reduce DHT to castration levels (for example, with dutasteride), we can usually stop pattern hair loss progression for most men.

S-equol is one compound that may help reduce DHT levels, and thereby help fight hair loss.

One study showed that men supplementing with soy isoflavones showed increased serum equol and decreased serum DHT. If the same relationship holds true for a lotion with s-equol and scalp tissue DHT, then s-equol might help lower scalp DHT, and make for a great ingredient in a hair loss-fighting topical.

In fact, one hair loss sufferer active on some hair loss forums claims to show photographic improvements from combining mechanical stimulation (PDO needle threads) and his own homemade equol topical. See these photos (they’re often confused as before-after photos for Brotzu Lotion, but they aren’t):


Going into the science behind how S-equol reduces DHT is out-of-scope for this article. If you’d like a more in-depth analysis, feel free check out part one of this Master Guide For Reducing DHT. It covers the science behind S-equol, and every major “angle of attack” for reducing DHT for the purpose of improving hair loss.

We can think of topical S-equol like a topical finasteride (Propecia). While S-equol and finasteride work through different mechanisms, they both help reduce DHT levels.

According to Dr. Brotzu, S-equol makes Brotzu Lotion 80% more effective — likely due to its synergies with the lotion’s final (and critical) ingredient: a fatty acid known as dihomo-gamma-linoleic acid (DGLA).

Ingredient #3: Dihomo-Gamma-Linoleic Acid (DGLA)

DGLA is a type of polyunsaturated fat, and specifically, an omega six fatty acid.

Omega six fatty acids have a bad reputation in certain hair loss circles (like Ray Peat). For years, I wrote off most omega six fatty acids as “generally problematic”. But a reevaluation of the literature suggests that certain omega six fatty acids may be beneficial not only for our health, but also for our hair.

DGLA may be one of the good guys. There’s an overwhelming amount of evidence supporting its benefits.

For starters, people who are DGLA-deficient tend to develop significantly more inflammatory-based conditions — like diabetes, atopic dermatitis, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer and cardiovascular disease.

This is probably because DGLA tends to exert broad anti-inflammatory effects. It also helps slow cell growth, and some researchers even think DGLA could enhance the effectiveness of certain cancer treatments.

…But How Might DGLA Improve Hair Growth?

Interestingly, DGLA’s anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor benefits are attributed less so to the fatty acid itself… and more so to what DGLA turns into inside our bodies: something called prostaglandins

…and interestingly, prostaglandins and hair loss are closely connected.

The Prostaglandin-DGLA-Hair Loss Connection

Prostaglandins are substances our bodies make from polyunsaturated fats (omega 3’s and 6’s). They help our tissues recover from injuries and infections. And there are so many prostaglandins (prostaglandin D2 (PGD2), prostaglandin E1 (PGE1), prostaglandin F3 (PGF3), etc.) that scientists need a lettering-numbering system built around their molecular structures to keep track of them all.

In general, different prostaglandins exert different effects. Some prostaglandins are pro-inflammatory; others are anti-inflammatory; others are both.

And interestingly, certain prostaglandins linked to chronic inflammation are also linked to pattern hair loss. Here’s how.

The “Bad” Prostaglandin: Prostaglandin D2 (PGD2)

Prostaglandin D2 (PGD2) is a pro-inflammatory prostaglandin, and studies show that PGD2 is chronically elevated in balding scalps. For unknown reasons, PGD2 seems to stop hair follicle stem cells from becoming progenitor cells — a critical step in hair follicle development (and the hair cycle). The end-result: a decrease in hair lengthening in mice and humans — or in other words — hair shortening.

This is typically one of the first signs of pattern hair loss: slower-growing hair. And once that hair disappears and fibrosis (scar tissue) sets in, it becomes a lot harder to regrow. This is why PGD2-reducing drugs like Setitpiprant are currently undergoing hair loss trials for FDA-approval. The hope: if we can reduce the presence of this “bad” prostaglandin, maybe we can regrow some of the hair that was lost.

But interestingly, not all prostaglandins are bad. In fact, some prostaglandins are considered “pro-hair” — mainly because of their anti-inflammatory properties. And just how researchers are developing drugs to decrease the “bad” PGD2, they’re also developing drugs to increase the “good” prostaglandins.

Enter prostaglandin E1 (PGE1): a prostaglandin that reduces inflammation, expresses near healthy hair follicle sites, and is also the current target (and attention) of a few pharmaceutical companies trying to create a new hair loss treatment… including Brotzu.

The “Good” Prostaglandin: Prostaglandin E1 (PGE1)

That fatty acid in Brotzu’s formula — DGLA — is a precursor to PGE1. In other words, DGLA is what our bodies use to make PGE1. The more DGLA, the more PGE1, the better our chances for healthier hair.

DGLA Increases PGE1, Which May Improve Our Hair

According to Dr. Brotzu’s patent, prostaglandin (PGE1) may help our hair in three ways:

  1. PGE1 decreases DHT — it inhibits the enzymes that convert free testosterone into DHT
  2. PGE1 is a vasodilator — it increases blood flow
  3. PGE1 increases angiogenesis — it encourages the formation of new blood vessels

In fact, Dr. Brotzu argues that PGE1 may improve microcirculation better than minoxidil (Rogaine). In this interview, he states that PGE1 stimulates not just one — but both — types of cells that interact to form our blood vessels: endothelial cells (the inner lining of our vessel walls), and pericytes (the smooth muscle “surface” of our blood cells). According to Dr. Brotzu, minoxidil (Rogaine) only affect pericyte cells — making it less effective.

Should We Try To Make Our Own Brotzu Lotion? No.

Brotzu Lotion isn’t yet slated for a US release, and as a result, some hair loss sufferers are trying to organize group buys to make the topical at home.

But while Dr. Brotzu’s patent theoretically gives you everything needed to make the Brotzu Lotion, there’s still a lot that can go wrong with the DIY approach.

Here are the two biggest problems.

Problem #1: DGLA Isn’t Widely Available

DGLA is only found in trace amounts in mammals. It also isn’t commercially available in the US (to my knowledge). That means that you can’t buy it. You can, however, buy gamma-linoleic acid (GLA). And GLA is the precursor to DGLA.

GLA is abundant in plants, human breastmilk, and herbs like borage (and thereby borage oil). And humans seem to convert GLA into DGLA in a dose-dependent manner — meaning that if we eat more GLA, we’ll make more DGLA, and theoretically, we’ll make more PGE1.

You might be thinking, “If GLA turns into DGLA, and DGLA turns into PGE1 — then what difference does it make? Why can’t I just buy GLA to increase my PGE1 levels?”

Well, inside our bodies, DGLA can turn into one of two things: arachidonic acid, or prostaglandin E1. See this chart below — which represents the different metabolic pathways polyunsaturated fats take in our bodies.

As you can see, what happens to a polyunsaturated fat depends on its molecular structure (omega 3, omega 6, etc.) — and the source of the polyunsaturated fat (i.e., if it’s plant-derived, shellfish-derived).

What’s relevant below: the orange boxes (and their flowcharts).


Keep in mind: Dr. Brotzu’s lotion is formulated to encourage the conversion of DGLA into PGE1. But if we blindly supplement with GLA — hoping it will all convert into DGLA — this may not always happen.

In fact, some percentage of GLA will become something called arachidonic acid — which is the precursor to the “bad” prostaglandin PGD2.

In other words, taking DGLA blindly or without the right adjuncts may increase both PGE1 and PGD2, which may have a neutral or negative overall effect on our hair.

Interestingly, among human populations, the following factors of GLA consumption vary wildly:

  1. Our ability to convert GLA into DGLA
  2. The percent of DGLA we convert into PGE1
  3. The percent of DGLA we convert into arachidonic acid

…and to make matters more confusing, those percentages also change depending on which part of the body we’re studying!

Researchers believe that the above is mostly determined by our genes — and specifically, our expression of genes that help produce the enzymes required to convert GLA into DGLA, and DGLA into all of its byproducts.

Interestingly, this may also be the reason why a small percentage of Brotzu Lotion testers are seeing amazing results — and in just a couple of months. They may have the genes needed to better metabolize the topical — which might explain why their hair regrowth is dramatically better than most other users.

Problem #2: Stability

The ratios of Brotzu Lotion’s ingredients matter, and anecdotes from both Dr. Brotzu and hair loss forum “group buys” suggest that it’s very hard to keep the formula stable.

In fact, some speculate this could be why it’s taking longer than expected for Pharma Fidia to release Brotzu Lotion in Europe. It seems like every few months — the latest expected release date passes.

Brotzu Lotion For Hair Loss: Key Takeaways

Brotzu Lotion contains S-equol, DGLA, and propionyl-l-carnitine. Together and in the right ratios…

  • S-equol helps reduce free testosterone (and thereby DHT)
  • DGLA turns into PGE1, which helps increase blood flow and reduce DHT
  • Propionyl-l-carnitine enhances the penetration and metabolism of both S-equol and DGLA

In a way, we can think of Brotzu Lotion like a safer topical finasteride + minoxidil. After all, finasteride (Propecia) reduces DHT. Minoxidil (Rogaine) increases blood flow and may increase PGE. And Brotzu Lotion? It decreases DHT, improves blood flow, and increases PGE1 — but through entirely different mechanisms than finasteride and minoxidil… and without any reported side effects (so far).

Brotzu Lotion shows significant promise for autoimmune hair loss conditions like alopecia areata — probably because it targets inflammatory biomarkers involved in the early stages of alopecia areata onset.

Brotzu Lotion also shows some potential for pattern hair loss (androgenic alopecia), but nothing worth getting too excited about. A six-month study shows the lotion helps stop pattern hair loss, with only marginal visual improvements to hair growth. Any claims of “reversing the balding clock by five years” have yet to be proven.

Having said that — there seem to be a few pattern hair loss sufferers who respond very well to the formula. These users likely have the right genes / gene expression to metabolize high amounts of DGLA into PGE1, and as a result, get more out of the topical’s mechanisms of action. In addition, these users may also have suffered from rapid-onset AGA (aggressive pattern hair loss in a few months or years). In rapid-onset AGA, balding areas are more so affected by PGD2-induced hair shortening, and less so affected by scar tissue development (since that happens later). As such, a rebalancing of prostaglandin expression in balding tissues (which is what Brotzu Lotion helps to do) may be all these users need to see hair recoveries — since scarring has yet to settle in for them.

Scarring is also likely why Brotzu Lotion works better for alopecia areata than androgenic alopecia. Alopecia areata isn’t typically a scarring form of hair loss, whereas androgenic alopecia is a scarring form of hair loss — and potentially mediated by a combination of genetics, chronic tension, androgens, and chronic inflammation.

Questions? Comments? Thinking of trying Brotzu Lotion when it’s available? Feel free to leave a comment below. I do my best to get back to everyone.

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Comments 23

  1. Hi Rob,

    Fascinating information regarding the Brozu lotion, but i do have a question, you mentioned at the top about how you need certain carriers to penetrate the skin, would you say then that rosemary oil or pumpkin seed oil needs a carrier? If so which one?

    1. Post

      Hey Sarah,

      Great question! And for the most part, yes. Essential oil (like rosemary) should be 1) diluted, and 2) always paired with a carrier. In many cases, fat-based oils make great carriers — like emu, jojoba, olive oil, etc. — because their molecular structure helps improve penetration. In fact, most rosemary oil-based creams you can find in stores (like Whole Foods) will already have that rosemary compounded with a fat and/or other carriers.

      With that said, pumpkin seed oil is sort of like its own carrier! So in general, you wouldn’t need a carrier oil with pumpkin seed oil. In fact, there are a few readers here using pumpkin seed oil as a carrier for rosemary oil.

      I hope this helps.


  2. Hi
    Rob and sarah

    Im one of those who use rosemary and pumpkin seed oil, twice weekly with rosemary shampoo wash out next morning.

    I dilute the rosemary by 3 drops into one table spoon of pumpkin seed oil. Been doing this since around January along with massages for excellent results.

    About the article rob.

    1. Without the loosening of scalp tissue which increases vasculation and blood flow . And allowing carbon dioxide, and preventing plaque build up.

    2 . Without decreasing estrogen and prolactin

    3. Without sorting out thyroid.

    A person i believe cannot see results of reversing androgenic alopecia.

    The cream in question only does 20 percent of the required treatment.

    Im taking alot of inspiration from danny roddy and yourself. An a internal systematic approach with couple external treatments do the trick.


    1. Post

      Thanks for commenting Paz. And yes, the lotion falls under the category of a standard hair loss treatment option — a life-long commitment (to keep results), and a target at the inflammatory (but not structural) level. The first things to tackle are likely chronic scalp tension; next would be the inflammatory cascade (PGD2, DHT); and finally, the last things to target are the results of that inflammatory cascade (increased TGFB-1 which leads to fibrosis + calcification in the blood vessels supporting the follicles).

      The lotion starts further upstream than most other topicals — which is good — but it’s still not targeting what causes the inflammation in the first place.


    2. Hey Paz,

      what kind of pumpkin seed oil do you use for this? Probably not the edible oil, right? 😉 This is something I might try soon. I’ve made the mistake of using rosemary oil undiluted and irregularly.

      From what kind of alopecia do you suffer if I may ask?

  3. Hi,

    Completely off topic here, but i’ve been doing research on prostate health and i have a feeling an enlarged prostate links with hair loss.

    I havent looked at studies for this but its interesting how as men get older their prostates are likely to enlarge in fact for men age 80 and over they are almost always enlarged and as we can see men also lose hair as they get older

    Im going through some prostate health issues myself as well as hair loss, so ive been looking at treatments to calm the inflamation and on a Diet approach a mediterranean/whole food plant based diet is the best for reversing prostate issues, apparently animal meats give rise to inflamation.
    Also what was interesting was the treatment approach for reducing an enlarged/inflamed prostate was reducing DHT levels using Saw Palmetto or having more soy in diet that seems to be very popular in helping the prostate as well as hair loss.

    Also maybe this could be why men who live the meditteranean lifestyle and in asia dont bald as much as in the west because they keep their prostate health in check.

    I dont know but its worth looking at prostate health in regards to hair loss, they pose similar treatments like the original use for finasteride was to heal an inflamed prostate ect.

    1. Post

      Hey Mark,

      Your intuition is correct! In fact, finasteride (Propecia), which inhibits the enzyme type II 5-alpha reductase, was originally created to treat prostate conditions closely linked with high prostatic DHT levels. In other words, finasteride was first intended to reduce DHT in the prostate, and improve symptoms of men with enlarged prostates.

      It was only by coincidence that later on, researchers also found that the type II 5 alpha reductase enzyme was the same enzyme used to convert free testosterone into DHT in balding scalp tissues.

      Saw palmetto works to reduce DHT levels as well, which is why it’s sometimes recommended as a less aggressive, alternative treatment to BPH.


  4. Hmm so Brotzu uses S-Equol.
    Rob i remember you mentioning S-Equol in the DHT Master series, i have been trying to find this S-Equol as a supplement but having no real luck, i understand as well that you’ll need the gene to metabolize it but its worth trying anyway.

    With that said does anyone know of where to get hold of S-Equol?

    1. Post

      Hey Daniel,

      A percentage of us can produce S-equol from the bacteria inside our large intestine. If you’re looking for summaries of the literature, this site is a great resource:

      It helps to keep in mind that equol comes in two forms: S-equol, and R-equol. And if you’re interested in supplementing, you can also supplement with things further upstream, like substances that eventually become equol (soy isoflavones) or produce equol (bacteria).

      In terms of soy isoflavones — you could try looking for isoflavone supplements with daidzein or genistein. There are a lot out there.

      In terms of bacteria — you could try looking for a supplement that contains Lactococcus 20-92 (see

      It’s important to keep in mind that while equol isn’t nearly as powerful as most human-produced estrogens, it still is a phytoestrogen, and thereby still has estrogen-like effects when taken in very high dosages. Usually therapeutic dosages aren’t that high, and generally for men lead to a reduction in DHT without most side effects. But just keep it in mind if you decide to supplement orally.


  5. Another excellent article Rob! I truly do believe that hair regrowth is very possible under certain scalp conditions and if your metabolism is in good shape.

    I agree with you that fibrosis is a large issue in hair loss, but I think that the loss of the subcutaneous fat layer of the scalp is what really causes the hypoxic environment for the hair follicle.

    Is there evidence in your scalp massages helping replenish the subcutaneous fat layer under the scalp? Also, what oils or lards do you believe are most effective in replenish the fat layer under the scalp to become plump and oxygenated again?

    Thank you so much for the quality research.

    1. Post

      Hey Mike,

      Thanks for reading!

      I don’t want to discount the importance of subcutaneous fat erosion in pattern hair loss, because it’s certainly there. The question has always been… is it associative to the scarring, or causative?

      Interestingly, a new study by George Cotsarelis of prostaglandin D2 fame, along with over a dozen other investigators, demonstrates that in wound healing, hair follicles and fat develop separately but not independently. In fact, the hair follicle has to develop first, and then the follicle signals to the fat tissue:

      And from an interview with Dr. Cotsarelis…

      ““Essentially, we can manipulate wound healing so that it leads to skin regeneration rather than scarring,” said George Cotsarelis, MD, the chair of the Department of Dermatology and the Milton Bixler Hartzell Professor of Dermatology at Penn, and the principal investigator of the project. “The secret is to regenerate hair follicles first. After that, the fat will regenerate in response to the signals from those follicles.””

      When I published my paper on a hypothetical pathogenesis model, I wrote that subcutaneous fat erosion and hair follicle miniaturization were two consequences of fibrosis / calcification — which Cotsarelis’ paper supports. But interestingly, it seems like if we remove that scar tissue and regenerate the hair follicles, the subcutaneous fat should also return — and that moving in the opposite direction of loss (regrowth), hair follicles come first, then adipose tissue.

      So it’s complicated! But if any treatment theoretically helps improve the health / size of our hair follicles — and remove scar tissue — it should also improve subcutaneous fat. Maybe some people with regrowth can chime in about whether that fatty layer feels thicker. It might be tough to differentiate from skin elasticity.

      In terms of oils — what have you tried? I’m not sure the equation is as simple as a fat-based topical increasing the subcutaneous fat layer — but at the same time, any topical with hair-promoting properties should technically help improve our lost subcutaneous fat layer. That means any topical that helps reduce DHT and TGFB-1, or halt/reverse fibrosis, should be top-of-mind.


  6. Hi Rob/ Paz

    Excellent article Rob, had heard of this a few years back but suspicious when approval was being pushed out.

    Paz read about pumpkin seed oil with Rosemary and will add to my regime. Just wondering does it work on hairline. I stopped massages a few months back due to an injury and feel that my hairline has become lighter.
    Reading about saw palmetto in another comment, I had issues with this herb and think readers should read side effects carefully before choosing this treatment.
    Rob, i’ll drop you a mail soon and keep up the good work.

    Best wishes

  7. Hi Rob!

    I’d like to ask you some question for my “massage trip”:

    1) I’ve got a general thinning pattern, do you suggest me to try the combo coconut oil + head massages?

    2) I’ve always had graisy and oily hair, so since 10 years I’m used to have a shower once a day using completely natural product, do you anyway suggest me to eliminate them from my routine?

    3) in this last months i use aloe gel as a carrier for rosemary oil in order to fight a strong seborrhoeic dermatite on my head, may i keep going to use these or i should stop using them for their healing properties that could hinder the massage efficacy?

    Thanks so much Rob! I hope to have some improvement and to make a contribute for your research and work!

    1. Post

      Hey Frinz — thanks for reaching out. I sent you an email a few days back about this. Could you confirm that you received it?


      1. Hi Rob! I didn’t receive anything yet. May you try to send it back again?
        Thanks so much!

      2. Post

        Hey Frez — thanks for the update! I’ve replied to your emails. Please let me know if you’ve received my responses. In the past few months I’ve had email deliverability problems where, during my reply emails, an email will get dropped by the sender but neither I nor the sender will receive a notification about it. It turns out a few high-volume spammers were spoofing my domain in emails, which lowered my sending reputation. Now I’ve taken measures to make it harder for spammers to do that, and even if they still do it, it shouldn’t hurt my sending reputation as it did in the past.


      3. I might have been affected by that, too. Haven’t heard from you in a long time, but not sure if you ever found the time to reply. 🙂

    1. Post

      Hey Akash,

      Thanks — I’ll be sure to add that treatment as part of another article covering stem cells and hair loss!


      1. Hey Rob,

        great article. Finally a new one, thanks a lot. 🙂

        I sent you a link a couple weeks ago regarding a treatment which also uses stem cells along with a peptide. Might be interesting to cover that one, too.


      2. Post

        Thanks Manuel! I’ll be sure to include it in the stem cell article. I finally have some downtime and am in a position to research and write a few more articles over the coming months. I look forward to sharing the findings with everyone. Also — a forum is coming! So be on the lookout for that.


  8. Hi Rob!

    I’ve read your book and I have a few questions over Diet i’d love to have your opinion on.

    1. Whats your take on nuts and seeds (Like Pumpkin seeds or hemp seeds, considering omega 6/omega 3 balance) do you have them in your diet and how often do you use cooking fat is it with every meal?

    2. Whats your take on Intermittent Fasting in regards to adding it in your lifestyle? (for hair health)

    3. Whats your take on adding in soy proteins like organic tempeh or Tofu for a protein variant instead of eating meat everyday? (Something i want to cut back on)

    I recently visited a trichologist and he did a hair health analysis using a microscope, what he showed me is how much gunk and dirt was clogging my scalp, it was really nasty looking! Of course it was through a microscope but he said i need to shampoo as i told him i hadn’t shampooed in 4 months and he mentioned how he knows about the ‘No-Pooing’ movement and says its generally a bad idea, so for now he advised i used a scalp exfoliate like nioxin which ive used now, my hair is much cleaner after using.

    So im a bit unsure if no shampooing really is a good thing, i can understand the need to avoid the harmful chemicals in commercial shampoos, but my hair does get greasy if i dont use it and it does smell a bit too (something my friend pointed out), so perhaps we could still use healthier organic shampoos like with argan oil in it?

    Heres a link of the ‘healthier’ DHT blocking shampoo i’d like to use:

    Lastly i’m looking forward to your new update on the book, im excited to see what new things you’ve added! Good luck for the launch as well as the launch for the forum, hope these articles dont get closed down, theres some valuable info here in the comments too, anyway thanks Rob, all the best!

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