Valproic acid

    aka
    • valproate

    TLDR an anticonvulsant repurposed for hair loss via histone inhibition

    Valproic acid, first made in 1881 used since 1962, is primarily known for its use as an anticonvulsant and mood-stabilizing drug, and has recently garnered attention in the field of dermatology for its potential effects on hair growth and alopecia treatment. Scientifically, valproic acid operates by increasing the levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain, but its effects on hair growth are thought to be mediated through different pathways, possibly involving the inhibition of histone deacetylases (HDAC) which can influence gene expression beneficial for hair follicle health and activity.

    Research has highlighted valproic acid's capacity to induce hair regeneration in both animal models and human dermal papilla cells by activating alkaline phosphatase activity—an enzyme associated with hair growth and follicle development. Studies indicate that valproic acid can promote hair growth by elongating the hair shaft and delaying the transition to the catagen (regression) phase, alongside promoting the anagen (growth) phase in vivo, providing a promising avenue for alopecia treatment.

    The community's engagement with valproic acid reflects a keen interest in its utility for hair loss, with discussions often revolving around personal experiences and the exploration of valproic acid as a novel treatment. Community members share anecdotal evidence of its efficacy, particularly when used topically, noting improvements in hair density and growth. However, experiences vary, and while some individuals report positive outcomes, others call for more extensive research to conclusively determine its effectiveness and optimal application methods.

    In summary, valproic acid presents a promising, albeit still under-researched, option for treating alopecia by potentially enhancing hair growth and follicle health through mechanisms distinct from its neurological effects. While initial research and community experiences offer hope, the call for further scientific investigation is clear to fully establish valproic acid's role in hair loss therapy.

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