Baldness is not caused by excess testosterone as is commonly thought; nor is it inherited from your maternal grandfather. It’s caused by sensitivity to testosterone: an enzyme converts testosterone into a substance called dihydrotestosterone – which then causes the follicle to shrink and fall out. Male pattern baldness is inherited, but from both or either side of your genetic line. Why men go bald, we’re not sure – though there is a hypothesis that baldness was once a genetic advantage. People tend to associate baldness with virility and wisdom. The bald hunter-gatherer would have been a natural choice for a chieftain back when life expectancies were shorter and bald heads rarer. In our age of appearances not so much. Of 17 male members of Cabinet, two are bald (Chris Grayling and Sajid Javid). Studies correlate baldness with depression; the term “psycho-trichological” is used to describe the feelings of disfigurement, social avoidance and anxiety disorders that often arrive with premature baldness.
RepliCel is a regenerative medicine company focused on developing autologous cell therapies (or therapies that involve one individual as both donor and recipient) that address conditions linked to a deficit of healthy cells required for normal healing and function. Located in Vancouver, British Columbia, the company has developed first-of-their-kind cell therapies that will, they hope, treat conditions that now affect 1 in 3 Americans: pattern baldness, aging and sun-damaged skin, and chronic tendon degeneration.
For him, the first line of attack is acceptance. “Cut your hair as short as you can. If you can own it, you can beat baldness. But with the rise in hair transplants, most people aren’t in that mindset.” While anyone of any conscience will say that Larry David’s approach is preferable, in a world of quick fixes and fake news, it’s increasingly the Donald Trump approach that’s on the ascendancy.
Weinstein has big dark eyebrows and a kind face. Kind of an Elliott Gould vibe. I looked at his head. There was a spotty, thatchy outcropping of gray-black hair. Not exactly an overflowing abundance, but hair, to be sure. “I had nothing on top,” Weinstein said. “You can see—I grew my hair back! And it grew back more or less the color I had when I was young.”
Some treatments in development hold particular promise for women. Angela Christiano, a hair geneticist and Columbia University professor of dermatology, is hoping to begin clinical trials in a year or two on a procedure in which she dissects hair-follicle stem cells, grows them in the lab until she has several million, then injects them into the scalp, where, a very small study done with a human skin model has shown, they induce new hairs.
David made this claim back in 2000. But fast-forward a few years and his enhanced compensation strategy begins to look a little quaint. Androgenetic alopecia, or male pattern baldness, afflicts about half of all men aged 50 and they can’t all reinvent the sitcom. And significant advances in the £3bn hair regrowth industry mean that they have other, seemingly easier, options. The man who is “ideally bald” (to use Vladimir Nabokov’s description of his comic hero, Pnin) may soon become a rare sight.
But, there’s an even more important step to take – your participation and contribution. The topic of “a cure for hair loss” or “a hair growth treatment”, for many of us, is one of the most important issues in our lives. What are you doing to support its success? I realize that question may not have previously crossed the mind for many. It’s here now. For a personal example, I’m not a scientist who creates molecules in a lab, so I decided I would organize the hair growth treatment news and spread awareness. It’s been a gratifying practice for me.
“I was 21 when I noticed my hair getting thinner,” says David Anderson, 45, who has had seven hair transplants. He is now senior patient adviser at the Maitland Clinic in Liverpool, one of the country’s leading hair transplant clinics, where he raises awareness of the vulnerability of sufferers. “It was devastating. It completely consumed my existence. Now, I really regret that. But time and again, I’m meeting patients going through the same anxieties. It’s an epidemic. A lot of people don’t understand how it can make you feel.”
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The third and fourth stages are known as telogen and exogen, respectively. In telogen, the hair is supposed to be at "rest" until it finally detaches itself from the follicle and enters the exogen or shedding stage. Once the hair is detached from the follicle, the follicle remains inactive for about three months, after which a new cycle begins again.
Last fall, the San Francisco startup Hims began a small publicity blitz. Its ads were all over in-boxes and social-media feeds and TV screens; they were even out in real life, on paper placards. Above a picture of a handsome young man with long, luscious dark hair, there was a bold claim: “Thanks to science, baldness is now optional.” Hims, which also sells shampoos and erectile-dysfunction medication, has a minimalist aesthetic, designed by Partners & Spade. (The agency has done work for famed disruptors such as Warby Parker and Casper.) It also has an in-house journal called Savoir Faire. And, within all that attractive packaging and identity branding, the company was very casually offering the holy grail. My latent obsession led me to ask some questions of the ad campaign. It turns out that Hims’s baldness pills are just finasteride, and their topical solution minoxidil. Thanks to expired patents on those products, Hims is able to sell them cheap. And yet ultimately they’re providing the same old solution. Another false prophet.
Things get interesting when we discover a patent which was filed by Sangamo in May 2017 titled “Targeted Treatment of Androgenic Alopecia.” As with virtually all patents, the lengthy text of the patent is difficult to read or to create a concise summary from. An intriguing aspect of this news is Sangamo works in several technology spaces, including previously mentioned genome editing and gene therapy, either would make an advanced type of hair growth therapy we have never seen before. One caveat to mention is the company’s pipeline does not currently display any indication for alopecia, meaning the therapy is not fully developed yet, so it will be some time before trials begin. We certainly hope to hear more from Sangamo Therapeutics as soon as possible about their interesting development for hair growth technology.
Many other women, though, start noticing thinning hair on top of their heads. Doctors say the defining sign is a widening of the part. The hairline itself is usually intact, but the hair becomes less dense behind it. Doctors will often run a battery of tests to make sure there are no treatable medical conditions, such as anemia, thyroid problems, tumors, or hormonal problems. "Ninety percent of the time, it's normal," Patel said.
Rub the gel-like sap/juice of the aloe vera leaf directly on your scalp. Leave it on for a few hours and then rinse with lukewarm water. Do this three to four times a week. You can also mix a tablespoon of aloe vera gel with wheat grass juice to boost hair growth. Wheatgrass is also rich in protein, vitamins C and E and other minerals. Drink the wheatgrass juice mixed with aloe vera extract for two weeks to stop hair breakage and minimize hair fall.
This particular research which was published in the Nature journal showed that a synthetic version of sandalwood, called Sandalore, binds to the OR2AT4 receptor in hair folliles and prolongs their anagen (growth) phase. The hair follicles studied were treated in a petri dish. Paus has subsequently announced that a completed clinical trial of 20 female volunteers using a topical version of Sandalore showed a reduction of daily hair loss. There is also another larger clinical trial ongoing now which hopes to confirm the effect and announce results in early 2019. Paus has gone as far to say “there is even a chance that this might be able to bring the hair back.” We’ll keep our fingers crossed.
In-office laser light treatments or at-home handheld devices, such as the HairMax LaserComb, supposedly grow new hair by stimulating blood flow to the area (think: an amped-up version of a scalp-stimulating shampoo). Just don’t expect the device to make your noggin go from looking like George Costanza’s to Jerry Seinfeld’s. “These lasers won’t grow any new hair. If anything, they may just help you hang on to some of the hair that you already have a bit longer,” says Dr. Joyce.
In this section we take a look at current hair loss cures in 2018. Using one or more of the treatments below is your best shot at keeping your hair around. However, if a cure is defined as a permanent fix to an ailment, these are far from that definition. Each of these treatments have their own limitations. Most are seen more as hair loss management treatments, rather than permanent hair loss cures.
Though, it is important to point out that a lot of these companies are developing procedures that involve implanting hair, which means there is a chance they will be expensive — as we mentioned before, traditional hair transplants are costly. But a few companies and products such as Follicum’s FOL-S-005 and Fidia Pharma’s Brotzu Lotion are being designed as topical treatments.