Ecklonia cava is edible brown seaweed. It is mainly harvested in the deep oceans surrounding the islands of Jeju Province, South Korea. This seaweed has a very high polyphenol content and is widely studied for health properties. Since the 11th century, there has been a belief in Korea and Japan that it is beneficial for the beauty and growth of hair. Recent studies show that topical treatment with Ecklonia cava extract can have a positive effect on hair growth.
Hairs are produced from hair follicles embedded in the innermost layer of the skin (dermis). Hair follicles consist of dermal papilla cells. Hair growth is closely related to the status of the dermal papilla cells. Ecklonia cava elicits several pathways involved in the multiplication of dermal papilla cells, ultimately resulting in hair growth (Kim et al., 2013).
WORK MECHANISMS OF ECKLONIA CAVA ON HAIR GROWTH
Ecklonia cava, more specifically the active component Dioxinodehydroeckol, improves hair shaft elongation, improved dermal papilla cell growth and the release of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) (Bak et al., 2013).
Ecklonia cava also decreases 5α-reductase activity and therefore decreases the amount of DHT in the body. Dieckol is the most active component in Ecklonia cava for the reduction of 5α-reductase (Kang et al., 2012).
ECKLONIA CAVA COMPARED WITH KNOWN MEDICINAL PRODUCTS
Ecklonia Cava has been studied against two known drugs for the treatment of hair loss. These products inhibit the activity of 5α-reductase and promote the growth of dermal papilla cells. Studies have shown that Ecklonia cava performs both functions.
Compared to minoxidil, Ecklonia cava shows that after 37 days of treatment, the size, depth and length of the hair follicles increase. While the hair follicles of the control group were still in the telogen (resting) stage, those in the Ecklonia Cava and minoxidil treated groups were in the anagen (growing) stage (Bak et al., 2013). In a comparison between hair follicle lengthening due to treatment with Minoxidil and Ecklonia Cava, 1 µg / ml Ecklonia Cava had a mean increase of 12.4% in hair follicle length compared to the control group. This is more than the results with 1 µg / ml Minoxidil (+ 10.9%) (Kang et al., 2012).
The referenced studies show that Ecklonia cava and its active components stimulate hair growth through the growth of dermal papilla cells, the inhibition of 5α-reductase activity, hair shaft elongation and the release of IGF-1. These findings indicate that Ecklonia Cava Extract is a potential therapeutic compound for the treatment of hair loss and could be used in topical form as a natural alternative to hair growth stimulating drugs.
Bak, S. S., Ahn, B. N., Kim, J. A., Shin, S. H., Kim, J. C., Kim, M. K., Sung, Y. K. & Kim, S. K. (2013). Ecklonia cava promotes hair growth. Clin Exp Dermatol, 38(8), 904-910. doi: 10.1111/ced.12120
Kang, J. I., Kim, S. C., Kim, M. K., Boo, H. J., Jeon, Y. J., Koh, Y. S., Yoo, E. S., Kang, S. M. & Kang, H. K. (2012). Effect of Dieckol, a component of Ecklonia cava, on the promotion of hair growth. Int J Mol Sci., 13(5), 6407-6423. doi: 10.3390/ijms13056407
Kim, S. K., Kim, J. A., Ahn, B. N. & Bak, S. S. (2013). Hair growth stimulator based on Ecklonia cava extract, preparation method theory, and cosmetic composition containing the same.