XYON’s shampoo and conditioner line has been formulated with a selection of natural ingredients chosen for their potential hair health benefits. One key ingredient is red clover (Trifolium pratense) extract, which research suggests may help stimulate hair growth, thicken hair and reduce scalp inflammation. It could be an important addition to your hair care routine to help make the most of your hair loss treatment.
In this article, we’ll cover what red clover extract is, what compounds it contains and how these compounds might assist with hair growth and the maintenance of optimal scalp health.
What is red clover extract?
Red clover extract is derived from the red clover plant. It’s been used in both traditional and alternative medicines to treat a variety of conditions including high cholesterol and bone loss (NIH). You can take the extract in a few forms including oral tablets and capsules. At XYON, we’ve formulated the extract directly into our shampoo and conditioner to target its benefits to the scalp and hair.
Red clover extract for hair: Does it help grow hair?
Red clover extract does appear to support hair growth based on a few preliminary studies. We know that red clover extract contains an important class of molecules called isoflavones (Chen et al., 2021). Isoflavones may play a role in the regulation of the hair growth cycle by extending the active growth phase of the hair growth cycle and increasing the number of growth factors in the dermal papilla of the hair follicle (Lipovac et al., 2011). These actions could contribute to longer and thicker hair.
Red clover extract isoflavones have also been shown to help stabilize the extracellular matrix (ECM) and promote protein synthesis. The ECM is a network of proteins that surrounds cells to provide structural support and facilitate cell communication. Some of these proteins help maintain the size of the hair follicle and its regenerative properties (Loing et al., 2013).
Does red clover block DHT?
Red clover does appear to have an effect on dihydrotestosterone (DHT) production. As a refresher, DHT is the hormone most closely linked to the development of male pattern hair loss. Research suggests that the isoflavones present in red clover extract may be capable of blocking DHT production, in a manner similar to finasteride or dutasteride. But it's not clear how its potency compares to these medications. Red clover could be a useful complement to pharmaceutical hair loss treatments, but probably won't replace the need for a treatment like finasteride.
Red clover extract and scalp health
In addition to isoflavones, red clover extract also contains naturally occurring antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents that may be beneficial to scalp health. These help reduce the number of free radicals in the skin and regulate the immune system’s response to environmental triggers. Both of these benefits can help create a scalp environment that supports the healthy development of hairs.
Free radicals can damage structural components of skin and hair such as certain proteins. They’re produced as byproducts of cellular metabolism and also upon exposure to environmental factors such as sunlight and pollution. When free radical concentrations are left unchecked, they can contribute to premature aging (e.g. reduced hair growth, greying) (Trüeb, 2009). Antioxidants present in red clover extract may help combat this by neutralizing free radicals and preventing them from reacting with other molecules.
Anti-inflammatory agents help moderate the immune system’s reaction to environmental damage caused by exposure to sunlight or toxins produced by bacteria that live on the skin. Studies have shown that chronic, low-level scalp inflammation may interfere with the natural cycling of hair follicles and may contribute to the development of male or female pattern hair loss (Peyravian et al., 2020). Prolonged scalp inflammation may also contribute to the development of certain inflammatory skin disorders such as dandruff.
In reducing skin irritation, the anti-inflammatory compounds in red clover extract may help maintain the regenerative properties of hair follicles and integrity of scalp skin for optimal hair growth.
Does using red clover extract for hair have side effects?
Currently available data suggest that red clover extract is generally well tolerated and not associated with severe adverse reactions. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding are advised to avoid taking red clover.
Red clover extract for hair: Takeaway
Additional studies are needed to fully understand the ideal dosage and delivery methods for red clover extract, but early research and data show that using red clover extract could be beneficial to hair and scalp health. It should not be considered a substitute for pharmaceutical intervention, but may be a useful complement to an existing treatment regimen, such as Topical Finasteride, with SiloxysSystem™ Gel.