ScalpMED is a hair regrowth brand that sells products for both men and women. The company claims "Nothing Grows Your Hair Back Better Than ScalpMED" and that they own 11 patents.
But do ScalpMED products contain research-backed ingredients for hair growth or are these just marketing claims? Is ScalpMED for Men or ScalpMED for Women better-formulated? Do the products contain any additive ingredients that are questionable from a health perspective? And how do real users rate and describe the effects of ScalpMED?
In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more as we analyze the ingredients in ScalpMED products based on medical studies to give our take on whether or not the brand is likely to be effective.
We'll share some concerns we have about the brand and feature real, unsponsored ScalpMED user reviews.
ScalpMED for Men Review
ScalpMED for Men is primarily composed of two topical treatments called "Nutrisol" and "Vitadil-5A," the ingredients of which are shown above.
Retinol can promote hair growth according to a medical review published in the Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin journal.
The study authors explain that the increase in hair growth from retinol alone was not statistcally significant, but when combined with minoxidil (which is an ingredient in Vitadil-5A), this ingredient was highly effective.
Panthenol is clinically shown to support a healthy scalp, as we documented in our Keranique reviews article, but we can't find any evidence that it directly causes hair growth.
We're unable to identify any other ingredients in Nutrisol that we consider effective for hair loss.
Minoxidil is the active ingredient in Vitadil-5A. This is an FDA-approved drug ingredient for hair loss, and is proven to work. A 2022 clinical trial found that minoxidil at a 5% concentration increased hair count by 11% in men experiencing hair loss.
Our concern is that ScalpMED fails to clearly publish the minoxidil concentration of this product on their website at the time of updating this article. This is highly unusual. We've reviewed many hair loss brands and this is the first time we've come across a brand failing to clearly publish this important distinction.
Overall, we consider ScalpMED for Men likely effective for hair loss because it contains an FDA-approved ingredient, and retinol may make that ingredient even more effective.
The good news is that ScalpMED for Men is free of any questionable active ingredients, but we don't currently recommend this product due to our questions about the minoxidil concentration.
But how do real users rate and describe the effects of ScalpMED? We'll review in the next section before analyzing the ingredients in ScalpMED for Women.
Real, Unsponsored ScalpMED Reviews
A TikTok user named Dorothy has a video with a ScalpMED product demonstration and includes before-and-after images:
@dorothydore If you are experiencing hair thinning,hair loss or just want to take care of your scalp I definitely recommend trying @scalpmed products! They have different treatments and supplements for women and men depending on what you need! You can go to my Instagram profile and click the link in my bio to learn more about their ingredients and see before and after pics. You can use code DOROTHYDORE for 10% off your order!🤗 *PR . . . . . #hairlosssolutions #hairthinningproducts #healthyhaircaretips #scalphealthtips #scalpmed #scalpmedgiftedme #hairlossremedy #healthyhairadvice #thickeninghairproducts #showerroutinetok #hairregrowthtips ♬ original sound - Dorothy 🌹
A TikTok user named Sarah Viana shows how to properly use ScalpMED products:
@sarahcviana Hair treatment to help with Hair loss🤩 #fyp #scalpmed ♬ Love You - SHYY BEATS
ScalpMED for Women Review
The ingredients in ScalpMED for Women are exactly the same as the ingredients in ScalpMED for Men, as shown above.
This isn't necessarily a problem, because minoxidil (the active ingredient in ScalpMED) is proven effective for hair growth in both sexes.
As we detailed at length in our minoxidil for women review article, there's a considerable amount of clinical evidence that minoxidil increases hair growth in women, which is why the ingredient is FDA-approved in both sexes.
However, just like the system for men, ScalpMED fails to clearly publish the minoxidil concentration on its product page, so we don't recommend this product.
Strange Health Claims on ScalpMED Website
There are a number of strange and uncited health claims on the ScalpMED website.
On the "DETOX MY SCALP" product page, the brand claims that hair thinning is caused by a "toxic scalp." This phrase is highly unscientific and we haven't come across any research suggesting that scalp toxicity is what causes hair thinning.
The brand goes on to claim that cholesterol is a toxin, which is simply false. Cholesterol is a chemical compound produced by the body that serves a number of important functions like helping the body make cell membranes.
Suggesting cholesterol is toxic would be like suggesting red blood cells are toxic.
ScalpMED also claims that most OTC shampoos contain "extremely harsh" ingredients that contribute to hair thinning:
There are no examples cited of these ingredients or proof provided at all for this claim.
We have reviewed tens of shampoos (organic and non-organic) on Illuminate Health and have not come across any evidence for this claim. While many OTC shampoos contain questionable additive ingredients like synthetic preservatives, we haven't come across any clinical evidence that they contain ingredients which will directly cause hair loss or thinning.
Questionable Clinical Research on ScalpMED Site
There are a number of strange and poorly-cited research claims on ScalpMED's website, including the graphic above which comes from a clinical trial that the brand fails to link out to or publish the full results from.
While it's arguably a good sign when a consumer products brand conducts research, clinical research that's published in-house is a lower standard of evidence than clinical research published in a peer-reviewed medical journal, which is the type of research we cite on Illuminate Health.
It is not fair to consumers to claim that a product is "clinically proven" to work without transparently sharing the entire research study.
ScalpMED does not appear to be proven to work in any peer-reviewed clinical studies published in medical or scientific journals.
We recommend that consumers entirely disregard claims of clinical efficacy made from manufacturer-funded studies that are not published in reputable journals.
ScalpMED also highlights the patents granted to their company, but this doesn't really mean anything in regard to the efficacy of their products in our opinion. You prove that products work by publishing testing showing that your products work. Claiming to have patents just means a company has protected their IP, which means nothing to consumers.
Overall, we haven't come across any convincing research using actual human trial participants showing that ScalpMED is more effective than any other hair regrowth treatment containing minoxidil.
Failure to Clearly Publish Ingredients
At the time of updating this article, ScalpMED does not clearly publish ingredients for some of the products sold on their site.
No ingredients list is published for the "THICKEN MY HAIR" shampoo.
No ingredients list is published for "REPAIR MY HAIR" conditioner.
No ingredients list is published for a hair spray called "CORTEX ENLARGER."
No ingredients list is published for a product called "DETOX MY SCALP," nor is any proof provided that the scalp needs to be "detoxed."
It's a consumer safety issue to fail to publish ingredients, because without this critical information consumers cannot determine whether or not a cosmetic product is safe.
We strongly advise consumers to avoid hair products without a clear ingredient list.
Our Clean Hair Growth Picks
Happy Head Topical is our top hair growth solution.
This formulation uses FDA-approved hair loss ingredients like minoxidil which is clinically shown to increase hair count by 11%.
The brand also publishes the percentage concentration of each active ingredient, which is a sign of quality and transparency.
Interested consumers can check out Happy Head Topical Finasteride & Minoxidil at this link to the product page on the brand's official website.
Nutrafol Hair Serum is our top over-the-counter (OTC) hair growth and hair quality promoter.
This product contains Lactobacillus probiotics which were shown to promote hair growth in a medical review published in the Molecules journal.
Niacinamide is included, and a 2021 clinical trial concluded that "Our data demonstrate that niacinamide could enhance hair growth."
Interested consumers can check out Nutrafol Hair Serum at this link to the product page on the brand's official website.
Pros and Cons of ScalpMED
Here are the pros and cons of ScalpMED as a brand in our opinion:
- Contains FDA-approved hair loss ingredient
- Free of harmful additives
- Retinol may make minoxidil even more effective
- Questionable claims of clinical backing
- Questionable health claims on website
- Brand fails to clearly publish ingredients for all products
- We can't find strong evidence it's more effective than regular minoxidil