DermaSmoothe 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 Drugs.com, 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!