August 1985

Lack of Efficacy of Polysorbate 60 in the Treatment of Male Pattern Baldness

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Community and Family Medicine, University of California, San Diego.

Arch Intern Med. 1985;145(8):1454-1458. doi:10.1001/archinte.1985.00360080132020

• Anecdotal reports have indicated that the nonionic detergent polysorbate 60 may be of some value in male pattern baldness. In this double-blind placebo-controlled trial, a photographic and objective scalp measurement system was developed to assess new hair growth. No significant difference was detected between subjects treated for 16 weeks with polysorbate 60 and control subjects treated with glycerin, indicating that polysorbate 60 is ineffective. Of the 141 subjects who completed the trial, 25% perceived that they grew new hair, 67% said they did not, and 8% were uncertain. Subject-reported new hair growth did not correlate with measurements, indicating that the placebo effect may be a major factor in reports of baldness "cures."

(Arch Intern Med 1985;145:1454-1458)