DermaSmoothe Scalp Oil

DermaSmoothe Scalp Oil
May 18th, 2011

dermasmoothe scalp oilDermaSmoothe Scalp Oil is a prescription treatment my Dermatologist prescribed me for my genetic hair loss. Apparently its use for hair loss is extremely rare because I haven’t found any information about its ability to help with hair loss, or to increase hair growth. I’m writing about DermaSmoothe because I like to document my experience with all treatments I’ve tried for genetic hair loss. I know there are other people out there (probably just a few) that were prescribed DermaSmoothe for their hair loss and are seeking more information about it also.

First of all, DermaSmoothe Scalp Oil is normally prescribed for people with scalp psoriasis, and atopic dermatitis, which is a type of eczema. On the official DermaSmoothe website (Hill Dermaceuticals), and on websites like WebMD and, there is no mention of the oil treating hair loss, thus my doctor must be using it off-label (meaning it’s not approved to treat hair loss, but it could still potentionally help).

As a low to medium-strength topical corticosteroid, DermaSmoothe treats scalp inflammation. That’s why my doctor prescribed it– she believes my scalp is inflamed, and the concept is if you reduce the inflammation, you reduce the hair loss. This is a great theory because inflammation could definitely make hair loss worse. Pre-treatment, my scalp looked great to me (no signs of psoriasis, no signs of any problem, except occasionally I get a little flaky skin, so DermaSmoothe would also help with that). My doctor says she prescribes DermaSmoothe to most of her female patients with hair loss and they love the results because it makes their scalp healthy.

• My experience with DermaSmoothe Scalp Oil
I forget how much the 4 oz oil costs, but I think it was $30-40, and my insurance covered a small portion of it. The medication is made with peanut oil, but there’s no warning about this on the packaging, so unless you read everything thoroughly, this could be a potential problem for someone with severe peanut allergies.

My doctor told me to use the DermaSmoothe once a week. You apply a thin film of the oil on your scalp (which should be wet/damp), massage it in, put on a shower cap, and then leave it on for eight hours. The official instructions say to leave it on for at least four hours, and then you wash it out with regular shampoo. The oil feels nice on my scalp, and it feels similar to Emu Oil. It has a scent that is kind of annoying to me, but tolerable (balsam pine) – it reminds me of some shampoo I’ve used in the past. Using the DermaSmoothe is easy – I just can’t go anywhere because my hair is covered in oil, but the first time I used it I felt excited that maybe it would do something positive for my hair loss.

The first time I washed the oil out, I was alarmed that so much hair fell out. WTF? I thought it was supposed to help my hair loss! My hair already sheds a lot, but it seems like a lot of treatments that are supposed to help hair loss only make me shed worse. I’ve used the DermaSmoothe about four times now, and every time I experience twice the amount of shedding for three days afterwards. I have this same problem with Nizoral shampoo, with hair dye, and with some other shampoos. Initially I had written off DermaSmoothe a few months ago, after using it for the third time and freaking out about all the hair I was losing. Last night I used it once again and I have hairs falling out everywhere. They are literally jumping out of my head. Needless to say, I think I’m done with DermaSmoothe. With Rogaine you always hear about the dread shed, but since there’s no information about DermaSmoothe helping hair loss, I am not willing to guess that it has to get worse before it gets better.

My doctor seemed shocked when I told her about the increased hair loss and thinks I have an allergy to propylene glycol, which is in the oil, and it’s in hair dye. It’s also in Rogaine. I don’t think it’s propylene glycol that is causing the excessive hair shedding, but who knows for sure. If I had to guess, I would guess it was the active ingredient in the DermaSmoothe that was causing my hair to jump ship. I find it hard to believe all the women my doctor treats for hair loss have great results with DermaSmoothe, except me. She never actually said it helped with their hair loss… just that it made their scalp feel better.

DermaSmoothe does list hair loss as a possible side effect! However it also lists excessive hair growth as a side effect too (which I find hard to believe).

• Bottom Line
Obviously speak with your doctor about your hair loss to get a diagnosis and treatment plan. From my own experience, DermaSmoothe Scalp Oil is not something I will continue using for my genetic hair loss. It causes excessive hair shedding and causes me to freak out more than I already do, which can only make things even worse. The oil is intended to treat psoriasis and atopic dermatitis, so if you have a visible skin affliction, your doctor may prescribe DermaSmoothe or something similar. As a psoriasis treatment DermaSmoothe does get good reviews, and psoriasis could cause hair loss, so in that case the treatment could actually benefit you. What about DermaSmoothe for scarring alopecia, alopecia areata, and traction alopecia? I don’t know – again your doctor would be the best person to consult. But for androgenetic alopecia / genetic hair loss – personally I wouldn’t rush out to try DermaSmoothe. If anyone has tried DermaSmoothe Scalp Oil, I would love to hear your opinion about it!! And please tell me why every product meant to help hair loss only makes my hair fall out more!

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Tags: Categories: Hair Loss Treatments

6 ResponsesLeave a comment
  • Jana
    May 18, 2011 at 11:21 pm

    I was wondering why you tried the treatment so many times if it made your hair fall out?

    • Jeni - Hair Loss Hell
      May 18, 2011 at 11:47 pm

      Yeah that’s a good question! The first time I used it, I thought maybe it was a fluke that more hair came out – maybe I just massaged my hair so much that it loosened up more hair than normal. After the second and third time I said never again! But I used it last night because it had been a few months and I was reading about inflammation and hair loss and I got paranoid and thought I’d give the DermaSmoothe one more shot, and now I’m really done with it!

  • Karen
    January 2, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    I have been using dermasmoothe for about 2 weeks now for redness on the top front portion of my scalp. I also have significant thinning hair. When I put the oil on my scalp it feels wonderful. I was also given a special shampoo to use with it. I stopped using Nioxin shampoo, it was too harsh and it has the SLS you were describing. I really believe my hair loss is related to the coloring of my hair every 4-5 weeks. I have stopped and I look like a skunk but I feel hair is growing in and I am afraid to color it again. I’m 58, maybe its time to go gray. Derma smoothe did not cause any noticeable hair loss other than the fact that I have to wash my hair more often while I’m using it. Keep on blogging and thanks for all the tips. My dermatologist suggested Rogaine, but I am holding off as well. I don’t think that is the answer quite yet.

  • Sangeeta
    December 23, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    I see that most of the treatments you have been trying are with chemicals. Have you tried anything more natural? I heard olive oil, coconut oil, lavender oil, rosemary oil and pretty much anything natural can help with hair loss. I am doing a little experiment of my own to help with my hair loss and the worst part is that I am in my mid twenties. Suffering with hair loss since my teen years. No coloring or dying whatsoever! You described it well..its hell! I am also going on biotin because I read that it can help as well. Hopefully, I can update with my experiment in a few weeks! Best of luck to both of us!

  • Suze
    June 19, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    Help in past 3 months have lost 90% of hair on top of head. Finally switched dr and new one running tons of tests, also went to see dermatologist . Natural blonde never colored hair don’t even use toxic hair products. Only use chemical free products. This hair loss is a traumatic time, and of course stress causes more hair loss. Looks like it is basically autoimmune related. Still waiting on more labs before scalp biopsy. Now I find out my fibromyalgia might be contributing to hair loss. Anyone else with fibro having this type of reaction, and is anyone possibly using rogaine along with an rx I got from dermatologist called derma smoothe. If so how are you using them. Rogaine apply to dry hair and the DS you have to wet hair apply and sleep with plastic cap. Soooo at a loss with this and hoping others might have some helpful insight. Also I am 60 yrs old and very active outside with horses.

  • Debbie
    May 25, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    I am so glad I read this!!!! Thank you so much! I just got back from a new dermatologist. He wanted to give me shots every to weeks of cortisoids in my head. Um no, then he wanted me to use a Ketroloasol ( sp) shampoo, for what reason I don’t know why) Finally he gave me the prescription for the Derma Smooth Oil. I was so hesitant, He said to use it every night, ( I cant wash my hair every day, yes, I color my hair) The guy was as old as the hills and bald too. I asked will this work, he said sometimes, come back in 4 weeks. Well,nope I feel like I would be using snake oil on my hair. I also looked it up and it is for Porisisis ( again sp) I don’t have that, and believe me I know as I had that as a kid.
    I am very disappointed. I am not getting it filled. Yes , I have anxiety disorder, and stress and I don’t need more. They assured me when I called for the appointment they could help. Well, I am going to continue looking. I would rather go grey ( 64) too , or wear a wig than do that stuff. I have enough things going on with my body, ( bad knee!) Thank you for the help. Not gonna waste my time sanity or money! Bless you girl! Sorry for your loss!!!!

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