Shapiro MD

The Shapiro MD product line is the result of more than 5 years of work by dermatologists Steven D. Shapiro M.D. and Michael T. Borenstein M.D.Ph.D. on topical dihydrotestosterone (DHT) blockers. Dihydrotestosterone, or DHT, is a natural but powerful metabolite of the human body and is believed to be the main cause of hair loss in both men and women. It’s a chemical derivative of testosterone, created when the metabolism of androgen gets involved with an enzyme called 5-alpha-reductase. It’s formed primarily in the prostate gland, testes, adrenal glands and hair follicles.

The Shapiro MD shampoo and conditioner contains the three most potent naturally occurring DHT blockers in an innovative sulfate free base to be safe and effective in improving hair thickness and fullness. 

1. Caffeine

Caffeine is the most commonly ingested drug in the world and a powerful antioxidant.  Numerous clinical studies have shown caffeine to be effective at blocking DHT. In a study published in the International Journal of Dermatology, researchers saw in vitro growth inhibition of human hair follicles exposed to testosterone. In the same study, the deleterious effects from testosterone were counteracted by low concentrations of caffeine under the same conditions. Additionally, and most importantly, caffeine stimulated growth in the cultured hairs in the same study and under the same conditions. Caffeine penetrates the skin through hair follicles and stratum corneum within 2 minutes in a shampoo formulation.

2. Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG)

EGCG belongs to the family of catechins. It contains 3 phenol rings & has very strong antioxidant properties.  It is the main active component in Green Tea leaves. EGCG inhibits 5-alpha reductase & reduces androgen action by repressing the transcription of the androgen receptor gene.  It also accelerates keratinocyte differentiation & protection of hair follicles from radiation. In vitro exposure of human hair to topical EGCG demonstrated changes that were consistent with in vivo changes for cell proliferation markers in pathways well known to participate in hair growth. EGCG stimulates human hair growth through its proliferative and anti-apoptotic effects on dermal papillae cells of hair follicles and may prolong anagen phase of hair growth cycle.  In a rat model of baldness, rats given oral green tea had a 33% hair regrowth rate compared to placebo and saw no hair loss. The control group lost hair.

3. Saw Palmetto Berry Extract (SPBE)

Also known as serenoa repens liposterolic extract, SPBE is well known to act with anti-androgenic effects and has been extensively used for Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy. It is a competitive, non-selective inhibitor of 5-alpha reductase types I and II that binds to the DHT receptor on hair follicles. Male patients treated with oral serenoa repens extract showed a significant increase in hair growth in a two year study. 100 men aged 20 to 40 participated in the study. Oral serenoa repens extract was taken orally.  38% of participants increased their hair. Greater than 52% grew or maintained their hair.  No adverse events were reported.

  • Immunopathol Pharmacol. 2012 Oct-Dec;25(4):1167-73.Comparative effectiveness of finasteride vs Serenoa repens in male androgenetic alopecia: a two-year study.
  • Esfandiari A, Kelly AP. The effects of tea polyphenolic compounds on hair loss among rodents. J Nat Med Assoc 2005 Aug;97(8):1165-9.
  • Hiipakka R, Zhang HZ, Dai W, Dai Q, and Liao S. Structure-activity relationships for inhibition of human 5-alpha reductases by polyphenols. Biochemical Pharmacology, Vol 63, Issue 6, 15 March 2002, pp. 1165-1176.
  • Kwon OS, et al., Human Hair Growth enhancement in vitro by green tea epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) Phytomedicine, 14(2007),551-555.
  • Exp Dermatol. 2011 Dec;20(12):1015-7. Epub 2011 Sep 22. Effects of topical application of EGCG on testosterone-induced hair loss in a mouse model. Kim YY, et al.
  • Int J Trichology. 2012 Jul-Sep; 4(3): 185–186. Role of Caffeine in the Management of Androgenetic Alopecia. Bansal M, et al.
  • Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2007;20(4):195-8. Epub 2007 Mar 29. Follicular penetration of topically applied caffeine via a shampoo formulation. Otberg et al.
  • Altern Lab Anim. 2012 Mar;40(1):51-7. The in vitro use of the hair follicle closure technique to study the follicular and percutaneous permeation of topically applied drugs. Stahl J, et al.
  • Fischer TW, Hipler UC, Elsner P. Effect of caffeine and testosterone on the proliferation of human hair follicles in vitro. Int J Dermatol 2007 Jan; 46(1):27-35.