Red Clover flower

I made an exciting new discovery recently, a hair growth active called Capixyl. Of course, I am a big believer in copper peptides, the key active in my Truth Vitality Advanced Complex. Yet, I always want to be sure that the latest and greatest is on my radar. When I was told about Capixyl, I decided to take a deeper look. 

Capixyl is a blend of a peptide, acetyl tetrapeptide-3 (and) extract of red clover. You’d be forgiven for thinking that these are about face creams than hair growth, after all acetyl tetrapeptide-3 is often marketed as a skin conditioner. As for red clover, I knew that it is full of isoflavones. The mechanism of how these two actives work on hair growth turns out to be really interesting.

Let’s start with red clover extract. I mentioned that it is rich in isoflavones, compounds that have antioxidant properties. Well, it is particularly big on one in particular called biochanin A, which is classified as a phytoestrogen. One thing that biochanin A is good at is inhibiting 5-alpha-reductase.

You’ve probably heard of dihydrotestosterone (DHT). It causes hair loss by shortening the growth cycle, producing progressively shorter and finer hair. DHT is formed by the action of 5-alpha-reductase on testosterone. So keeping 5-alpha-reductase in check is a good thing and biochanin A, does a much better job (according to a study) at this than the potent antioxidant EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) found in tea.

Now for the peptide, acetyl tetrapeptide-3. We are back to DHT again. One of the other side effects of this hormone is loss of connective tissue integrity surrounding the hair follicle, plus there is an increase of inflammation and oxidative stress in the scalp. Acetyl tetrapeptide-3 stimulates extracellular matrix proteins reinforcing the structures surrounding hair follicles, this provides the hair with a firmer anchor and reduces damage to it.

Acetyl tetrapeptide-3 boosts type III collagen synthesis, as well as collagen VII, a major constituent of the anchoring fibrils located in the basement membrane (DEJ) around the hair papilla. Acetyl tetrapeptide-3 is supposed to lengthen the hair shaft (source) and increase follicle length by 35% after only eight days of treatment.

Although Capixyl has been around for a couple of years and won an industry award not long ago, it hasn’t made it into haircare primetime. I believe this is because it is an expensive ingredient and claims about its effectiveness are restricted as the FDA has only cleared minoxidil for hair growth. This could change as I have been testing it for a few months and am impressed by the results. So watch this space.