Background: Procyanidins are a family of condensed tannins, which have been shown to possess hair-growing activity in both the in vitro and in vivo murine models.
Aims: We report a 12-month clinical study aimed at treating male pattern baldness by external application of 0.7% apple procyanidin oligomers.
Patients/methods: A double-blind clinical test involving a total of 43 subjects was performed. Twenty-one men in the procyanidin group and 22 men in the placebo control group were subjected to analysis. In the first 6 months, we compared the procyanidin and the placebo groups to assess the medicinal effects of procyanidin oligomers. The application time of the procyanidin group was subsequently extended to 12 months, and the time course of its remedial value was examined.
Results: The increase in total number of hairs in a designated scalp area of the procyanidin group subjects after the 6-month trial was significantly greater than that of the placebo control group subjects (procyanidin, 3.3 +/- 13.0 (mean +/- SD)/0.50 cm(2); placebo, -3.6 +/- 8.1/0.50 cm(2); P < 0.001, two-sample t-test). Time course-dependent improvement in hair density was observed in the procyanidin subjects. No adverse side effects were observed in any of the subjects. Procyanidin therapy thus shows potential hair-growing activity.