Doing a little hair research and came across this article...
The use of Polysorbate for hair restoration was pioneered by the Finnish doctor, Dr. Illona Purola. Dr. Purola was a cancer specialist who was conducting research on skin cancer when she discovered that Polysorbate 60, when applied to the scalp, promoted the regrowth of hair. Her research involved first mice and then men, and she obtained good results using Polysorbate on both of them. Although she started with Polysorbate 60, she later switched to Polysorbate 80 because it worked even better.
Polysorbate for hair loss first came to the public's attention in the United States thanks to Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw, who popularized the use of polysorbate 80 for alopecia (hair loss) in their best-selling book, Life Extension: A Practical Scientific Approach. In that book, Pearson and Shaw reported that that the use of polysorbate 80 in studies has resulted in an average of 60 percent hair regrowth after just six months of daily use.
Two theories have been proposed by Dr. Purola and others to explain how polysorbate aids hair regrowth. First, Polysorbate, a known cleanser, emulsifier, and surfactant, helps rid the hair follices of the hormone, dihydrotestosterone or DHT. DHT is the testosterone fraction that is believed to trigger male pattern baldness in men. Second, Polysorbate is known to trigger histamine release, which increases blood flow and nutrition to the hair follicles. Although histamine is usually considered the culprit behind seasonal allergies, in actuality this substance is essential for cell growth and reproduction. In fact, since histamine is a growth factor, applying to the scalp a substance that triggers histamine release may also promote hair growth. In animals, administration of polysorbate 80 triggers the production of histamine in mast cells and plasma histamine concentrations rise after administration of polysorbate 80. In humans, the administration of polysorbate 80 causes effects in the body similar to the bodys response after histamine administration. One way polysorbate 80 may result in hair regrowth may be through its ability to trigger histamine release in the scalp, stimulating cell growth.
Either or both of these theories may be correct, but the first one relating to DHT removal has received the most attention.
Polysorbate is an extremely safe and completely harmless substance, and it is even used as a thickening agent in ice creams, mayonnaise, and salad dressings. So, if someone wished to try it as a topical application to stop hair loss, you would think that no one would care- and certainly not the U.S. government. However, since the early 1980s, the Food and Drug Administration, the Federal Trade Commission, and the United States Postal Service have been on a relentless campaign to discredit Polysorbate as a hair restorer, and the case even went to trial. At trial in 1992, there were 107 people who were willing to testify that Polysorbate had produced excellent results for them, and they brought with them before and after pictures, yet the government prosecutor had zero witnesses- expert or otherwise- to testify that it didn't work. Nevertheless, the outcome was that it became illegal to claim that Polysorbate aided hair growth. What is ironic is that the only hair regrowth product permitted by the FDA, topical Minoxidil, also known as Rogaine, has a very spotty record of boosting hair growth, plus it only has the potential to work at the crown of the head in back, that is, if it works at all. Plus Minoxidil is known to be a dangerous drug originally developed to treat high blood pressure. However, according to the research of Dr. Purola and others, Polysorbate works all over the scalp, including the hairline in front, plus it is perfectly safe. For goodness sake, you can eat Polysorbate, and millions do unwittingly in numerous products that they ingest every day; so how much safer can you get than that?
The only other drug approved by the FDA for male hair loss is Finasteride (trade name,Propecia), which is a pill that you swallow. It is known to have feminizing side effects, including sexual side effects that may include impotence, decreased sex drive and a decrease in amount of ejaculate. If the film coating of the tablet has been broken or the tablet crushed, it should not be handled by a woman who is pregnant or plans to become pregnant. Any contact with finasteride by a developing male fetus could result in abnormalities of the external sex organs.
Polysorbate is an oily liquid. It is commonly used as an emulsifier in pharmaceuticals. It is also a surfactant, which means that it lowers the surface tension in liquids and viscous materials. It is often used in cosmetics to solubilise essential oils into water-based products. It is used in ice creams to prevent milk proteins from coating the fat droplets and to help the ice cream hold its shape and texture even as it melts.
Polysorbates are derived from the union of sorbitol (a naturally occurring sugar found in fruits and berries) with a monounsaturated fatty acid, such as oleic acid (which is found in olives, almonds, and avocadoes). Polysorbate 80 (which is the most effective form for hair loss) contains oleic acid. But there are other Polysorbates, such as Polysorbate 20 and Polysorbate 60. For instance, Polysorbate 60 combines sorbitol with stearic acid. Polysorbate 60 is also effective against hair loss, but Polysorbate 80 has been found to work a little bit better, and it costs no more.
Polysorbate 80 is often the main ingredient in high-priced hair restoration formulas, particularly those that make reference to the "Finnish formula" or the "Finnish miracle." But these high prices for polysorbate are not justified because polysorbate is not expensive to make, and it is widely available commercially at low prices.
For best results, Polysorbate 80 should be used every day. A liberal amount should be massaged into the scalp all over. If possible, leave it in for 30 minutes before shampooing out. Another option would be to leave it in all night, and then shampoo it out in the morning. Within two or three months of daily use, new hairs should begin to appear. At first, bright side lighting and a black background may be needed to see the thin and short hairs that first come in. In some studies, hundreds of men in their 50s and 60s reported more than 60 percent average regrowth from using polysorbate daily for a full year. Note that during the first week, it is possible to observe an increase in hair shedding due to the loosening of hairs in resting phase atrophic follicles. But over time, Polysorbate is not only likely to promote new hair growth but to make the exisiting hair more thick and rich and lustrous. Now in use as a hair restorer for over 25 years, Polysorbate 80 has tens of thousands of users and advocates from all over the world.
The Carcinogenic Potency Project of the University of California at Berkeley found zero carcinogenic potential for Polysorbate when applied to both mice and rats. They found no potential to induce tumors in mice and rats- even at very high doses.