Treatment of male androgenetic alopecia with topical products containing Serenoa repens extract

Australas J Dermatol. 2016 Aug;57(3):e76-82. doi: 10.1111/ajd.12352. Epub 2015 May 25.


Background/objectives: Male androgenetic alopecia (AGA) is a common hair problem. Serenoa repens extract has been shown to inhibit both types of 5-α reductase and, when taken orally, has been shown to increase hair growth in AGA patients. The aim of this study was to assess the efficacy of topical products containing S. repens extract for the treatment of male AGA.

Methods: This was a pilot, prospective, open, within-subject comparison limited to 24 weeks using no placebo controls. In all, 50 male volunteers aged between 20 and 50 years received topical S. repens products for 24 weeks. The primary end-point was a hair count in an area of 2.54 cm(2) at week 24. Secondary end-points included hair restoration, investigators' photographic assessment, patients' evaluation and discovering adverse events.

Results: The average hair count and terminal hair count increased at weeks 12 and 24 compared to baseline. Some of these positive results levelled off at week 24, presumably because the concentrated topical product containing S. repens extract was stopped after 4 weeks. The patients were satisfied with the products and the side-effects were limited.

Conclusions: The topical application of S. repens extract could be an alternative treatment in male pattern baldness in male patients who do not want or cannot tolerate the side-effects of standard medications, but the use of a concentrated S. repens product beyond 4 weeks may be necessary for sustained efficacy.

Keywords: 5-alpha reductase; Biothymus-M; Canfield; Serenoa repens; androgenetic alopecia treatment; male pattern baldness treatment.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Adult
  • Alopecia / diagnosis
  • Alopecia / drug therapy*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Hair / drug effects
  • Hair / growth & development*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phytotherapy / methods*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage*
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Serenoa*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Thailand
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Plant Extracts