About Shapiro MD
Developed by dermatologists, Shapiro MD is a hair loss treatment system that uses a 3-In-1 topical treatment shampoo and conditioner to help those experiencing male and female pattern baldness achieve thicker, fuller hair in just 30 days. How?
Using only natural, pharmaceutical-grade ingredients, the proven system promises to block the hormone DHT from causing hair loss, while also using stem cells to rejuvenate follicles and stimulate hair growth.
Based on more than 10 years of scientific research, the website claims most patients see results after just a few days of regular use with Shapiro MD, although major improvements—such as thicker, fuller hair and improved texture—have been reported within weeks (usually 30+ days).
Just use a nickel to quarter size amount every time you shower, and the company claims their triple action formula will work best for retaining existing hair and promoting new growth in the crown and temple area. Which is why they tell us it has helped thousands of men and women over the years.
Look, there’s no question that losing your hair stinks. But is the Shapiro MD system really the most reliable way to stop hair loss and regain thicker hair? Is its patented formula based on verifiable breakthrough scientific research? Is it about to take the hair loss industry by storm, as mentioned in their long-form sales video?
The company makes a lot of big claims on the Shapiro MD website. Here, based on what we learned during our research, we’ll help you better understand their legitimacy.
What Causes Hair Loss & What Role Does DHT Play?
As we discuss in How to Choose a Hair Loss Product, there can be a variety of causes of thinning hair, including poor nutrition, infection, some medications, trauma, and poor grooming habits.
However, affecting nearly 40 million of the 55 million American men and women experiencing hair loss is something called male and female pattern baldness.
Without getting too technical, this involves an enzyme called type II 5-alpha-reductase that converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). When this DHT attaches to a hair follicle, it ‘instructs’ the hair to grow in continuously thinner cycles, until the follicle eventually becomes dormant and ceases producing hair altogether.
While there’s no cure for this DHT-induced hair loss, the are popular over-the-counter medications like 2%-5% minoxidil creams and shampoos. However, this ingredient might not be as effective for individuals who have been experiencing hair loss for five or more years, and it’s primarily used to stop hair loss, versus re-grow hair.
There are also prescription medications like finasteride, although it’s only for men and requires that you continue using it to experience benefits.
What About Shapiro MD’s shampoo and conditioner? What ingredients does it promote—and will they deliver?
Which Ingredients Are Found In the Shapiro MD Hair Loss System?
- About 0.01 to about 0.19 mg/ml of caffeine, which is about 0.001% to about 0.019% weight of caffeine/final volume;
- About 0.01 to about 0.2 mg/ml of a saw palmetto berry derivative, which is about 0.001% to about 0.02% weight of saw palmetto berry derivative/final volume
- About 0.5 to about 50 mg/ml of an epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) derivative, which is about 0.05% to about 5% weight of EGCG/final volume
Inactive ingredients (preservatives, foaming agents, moisturizers, skin conditioners, etc.) include: D1 water, Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate; Cocamidopropyl Betaine; Cocamide DEA; Dimethiconol dodecylbenzene sulfonate; TEA dodecylbenzene sulfonate; Glycol Distearate; Sodium Chloride; Fragrance; Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein; Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride; Panthenol; Methylchloroisothiazolinone; Methylisothiazolinone; and Citric Acid
Is there clinical evidence showing these ingredients are effective for addressing hair loss? Or, for specifically blocking DHT?
First, based on how frequently they’re referenced on the system’s website, you might’ve noticed the absence of any stem cells listed. Regardless, Margaret Foster Riley, a law professor and expert on food and drug law at the University of Virginia, was quoted in a USA Today as saying:
“Stem cells that are in contact with skin are not really alive anymore. So I don’t really see how a stem cell product is working on the skin. I suppose some of them may actually work in a way that cosmetics work otherwise, because of moisturizing capability. But it’s not stem cell capability that’s working there to the degree we know how stem cells work.”
Further, while there seem to be a handful of positive studies regarding saw palmetto, WebMD only lists it as possibly effective for addressing BPH, while Healthline notes that “research is limited on saw palmetto’s efficacy in treating hair loss.”
According to sites like these, as well as Examine.com, this seems to be much of the same situation when it comes to caffeine and green tea as well.
Are There Any Potential Side Effects Related to Shapiro MD?
Again, according to authoritative sites like WebMD and Examine.com (after all, we’re not medical professionals), the topical application of these four ingredients likely won’t cause any side effects. And if they do, they probably won’t be worse than mild irritation.
Shapiro MD expressly notes that their hair loss shampoo and conditioner are only intended for men who are 18 years old and above, as well as post-menopausal women.
Why this distinction? Here’s how the product’s website puts it: “Shapiro MD Shampoo is not recommended for women of childbearing age because of the theoretical risk of active DHT blockers on a potential unborn child.”
Finally, the website indicates the system won’t interfere with hair coloring, and it may be used together with Rogaine.
What’ll you pay for Shapiro MD’s ingredients?
How Much Does Shapiro MD Cost?
The Shapiro MD hair loss system (one 12 fl oz bottle of shampoo and another of conditioner) is priced at:
- 1 System: $69.95
- 2 Systems: $119.80
- 4 Systems: $199.80
If you choose the single system, you’ll pay $7.95 S&H, while all other options including free rush shipping.
Regardless of the amount you purchase, Shapiro MD products come with a 60-day refund policy, less S&H. According to the company’s Terms, this begins on the day your Product is shipped from their fulfillment center.
Need to request a refund? Customer service can be reached at (877) 907-4047 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shapiro MD Arbitration Agreement
While extraordinarily common among consumer products and services, it’s important to note that all Shapiro MD purchases are subject to an arbitration agreement. This basically stipulates that instead of settling a disagreement in court, this would occur via third-party binding arbitration.
Further, the site's Terms specify:
“You agree that Shapiro MD’s entire liability for all CLAIMS shall be limited, in the aggregate, to the lesser of (i) USD $500.00, or (ii) the total amount of money You paid to Shapiro MD in the one (1) month period immediately preceding the incident on which Your alleged claim is based.”
What Do We Know About Steven Shapiro & Michael Borenstein?
Shapiro MD was co-founded in January 2011 by Steven D. Shapiro M.D., Ph.D., and Michael T. Borenstein M.D.
Before starting the company, Dr. Shapiro’s bio indicates that he earned his medical degree from UMDNJ New Jersey Medical School and performed his residency in Dermatology at the University of Miami School of Medicine. Currently, Dr. Shapiro provides his services at Gardens Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery Center in Palm Beach Gardens, FL.
Dr. Borenstein is also a board-certified dermatologist on staff at Gardens Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery Center, who completed his internship in Internal Medicine and residency in Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery at the University of Miami School of Medicine. Currently, his bio indicates he’s a specialist in medical, surgical, and cosmetic dermatology.
Despite their experience in medicine and the fact that the company’s been in business since 2011, we didn’t encounter any customer feedback for their hair loss shampoo or conditioner at the time of our research. Neither they nor their parent company, Immudyne PR, were listed with the Better Business Bureau as of 5/13/17.
However, we did locate the 4,068,636, 8,985,124, and 9,532,941 patents listed on their website. We discussed the first two earlier, but interestingly, 4,068,636 is for a thermostatic device for automatic choke control granted in 1978, so we’re not quite sure how it relates.
Now, let’s find out how this hair-loss system relates to other OTC hair loss shampoos and conditioners.
Is Shapiro MD Better Than the Competition?
Did we encounter any formulations exactly like Shapiro MD’s shampoo and conditioner-based system? No.
However, you only need to type the phrase “caffeine shampoo” into your nearest search engine to see that there are dozens of formulations that contain at least this stimulant (along with others like argan oil, niacin, and biotin).
During our research, we found most of these priced in the $10-$15 range, although many could be found for $8 or less. On top of this, some brands were sold through national big box stores, potentially getting it in your hands faster, saving on S&H, and making the return process as easy as hopping in your car if you end up dissatisfied.
Expanding your search to “hair loss shampoo and conditioner” will reveal dozens more options, many of which contain the minoxidil mentioned above.
And based on what we learned from authoritative sites about the level of clinical evidence supporting its ingredients—along with the fact that these competitors could be found for about half the price—it’s easy to imagine they might provide more bang-for-your-buck than Shapiro MD’s system.
Let’s carry this thought over to the final section as we wrap up.
Our Final Thoughts About Shapiro MD’s Hair Loss Shampoo & Conditioner
Here at HighYa, we’re not necessarily focused on price, but on the overall value provided by a product. But at twice the price as much of the competition—and using a formulation that’s reported by authoritative sites to have minimal clinical support for its efficacy at addressing hair loss—it might be difficult to recommend Shapiro MD as a first choice.
Furthermore, even if they did have robust clinical support, the company tells us this shampoo and conditioner team is only effective for addressing hair loss around the crown and temple area. So, if your hair loss is occurring in between these regions, it might not be the first choice, either.
Finally, combining these details with frequent claims on their site and in their promotional video that Shapiro MD:
- Is a “proven solution that addresses the most common cause of hair loss for men.”
- Is the “most reliable way of blocking DHT and stopping hair loss to regain thicker hair.”
- Contains “the 3 most powerful naturally occurring DHT blocking ingredients.”
… we can’t help but feel, as consumers ourselves, that the system’s real-world benefits are being oversold. The manufacturer also doesn’t provide any validation for their claim that “a massive 85% of our patients have reported back with great results.”
Bottom line? If you’re worried about hair loss, be sure to read through How to Choose a Hair Loss Product. Then, make an appointment with your doctor about whether or not any of these options are viable based on your specific diagnosis.
If you feel like rolling the dice on Shapiro MD, though, the company seems to stand behind the system with a 60-day refund policy. Just keep in mind you'll lose your original shipping charges (if you ordered the single option), plus whatever it will cost you to send the bottles back to the company.