From hair loss to anti-aging, Dr. Alex Khadavi’s interest in understanding how the skin and hair function has led him to create products addressing these issues in innovative ways. The Los Angeles-based, board-certified dermatologist is the creator of Revivogen, a topical solution to combat hair loss, Clearogen, a topical hormonal acne treatment and RejuveMD, a new anti-aging therapy.
His quest for better products was personally inspired, when, as an undergraduate student at UCLA, he discovered he was already beginning to show signs of hair loss. From UCLA, Dr. Khadavi went on to study medicine at George Washington University, in Washington D.C., and complete his residency in dermatology at the University of California, San Francisco. Today he serves as an Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology at the University of Southern California, in addition to owning the Dermatology and Laser Centers in Encino and Thousand Oaks, California.
Who or what was your inspiration for creating RejuveMD and why?
Over the years as a practicing cosmetic dermatologist, I was very dissatisfied with the anti-aging therapies that where available. These antiquated treatments would not only take months for them to be effective but where associated with redness, dryness and overall irritation. I focused on finding the factors that where responsible for aging and seeking how the body can repair itself and reverse the aging process. My search led me to the most powerful natural ingredients that the body can use to replace the dwindling components of the skin, growth factors.
With so many doctor brands on the market already, and many that are based on growth factors, what makes RejuveMD unique?
There are only a handful of doctor’s brands that focus on growth factors. All these brands, however miss the fact that in order for growth factors to work, not only do they need to be in sufficient quantities, but must use an effective delivery system to get these large, delicate proteins into the skin. Without a functional delivery system, the growth factors will simply remain on the top layer of the skin and get disintegrated without reaching the second layer of the skin where they are needed to reproduce the dwindling supply of the foundation of the skin: collagen, elastin and GAG’s. RejuveMD uses a Targeted Liposomal Delivery System to optimally delivery the maximum amount of these growth factors into the dermis of the skin where the functional cells, the fibroblasts, are stimulated to produce these very important components of the skin.
Tell us more about your research work in hair loss and hair growth and what the future of hair replacement might look like.
I became concerned about my own hair loss when I began to lose my hair at the age of 20. I still remember one unsettling experience. I was in the gym and I could see myself in all the mirrors. There was no escaping it; from every angle I could see clearly that I was suffering from hair loss. At that time the only available product for hair loss was prescription Rogaine. I was a premed student at UCLA and became very interested in hair loss, its causes and its treatments – especially in regard to male pattern hair loss. My moment of enlightenment was when I learned that Dihydrotestosterone or DHT was the key hormone that began the whole cascade of events leading to hair loss. Since then I have been experimenting with both pharmaceutical and natural DHT blockers for treatment of hair loss, which eventually led to development of Revivogen.
The future of hair replacement will be Follicular Neo-Genesis (FNG). FNG uses the fact that the hairs in the lower back of the scalp are not sensitive to DHT, and that the stem cells from this area can be extracted, grown outside the body and then injected into the hair line and balding areas of the scalp. This will produce hairs that are not sensitive to DHT and will grow forever, just like a transplanted hair, without the trauma of hair transplantation. This will be available for consumers within the next 4-6 years.
What are 3 top tips you give to your LA patients who want their skin to stay young looking forever?
Besides using RejuveMD daily, it is most important to avoid the direct sunlight and use physical sunblocks like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Performing TCA (trichloroacetic acid) chemical peels or needling of the skin are great means to rejuvenate the skin, making it look younger and smoother. Sleeping on your back will reduce ‘sleep lines’ on the face. Also getting a good amount of sleep (7-8 hours per night) is critical to look and feel youthful.
Aside from RejuveMD, as a dermatologist, what other skincare products and/or prescription products do you rate and why?
Retinoids like Retinol and Tretinoin (Retin-A) are favored topicals used for their anti-aging benefits, but they may be associated with irritation and redness. They have a long history in clinical use and have had impressive outcomes when patients have used them over the years. Niacinamide is also an important ‘natural’ ingredient that may be incorporated in skincare as it has benefits in skin renewal and reduction of minor acne breakouts on the skin. Besides these ingredients, peptides fail to perform to the level of growth factors and therefore I cannot recommend the mass of products that work primarily by peptides.
What are your predictions for how stem cells, gene therapy and telomerase modulators will impact the science of aging skin in the future?
The future will involve growth factors, stem cells, gene therapy and telomerase modulators, but unfortunately many of the products that have been released into the anti-aging skin market are ineffective. For example, stem cell products use plant stem cells, which may be great if you are growing plants, i.e. leaves and stems of plants, but do very little in anti-aging of the skin as proven by the paucity of studies and studies which lack any real efficacy. Telomerase modulator products are also disappointing since there has been little effectiveness in any commercial product. Gene therapy is currently utilized by dermatologists and plastic surgeons with some very promising anecdotal reports, but the FDA has recently put a stop to any administration of gene therapy by physicians in the US.
We have to wait until these therapies become mainstay since just having the right ingredient or pathway will not make an effective treatment. There needs to be appropriate administration, delivery and studies.