And, for all of these collective efforts, Christiano reminded me, the only things that have really worked were discovered accidentally. Soon to join minoxidil and finasteride will be Xeljanz, or tofacitinib: originally developed for rheumatoid arthritis, it has remarkable effects on hair growth for patients with alopecia areata, an autoimmune disorder that causes patients to lose hair in big patches over their entire bodies.
Minoxidil (Rogaine, generic versions). This drug was initially introduced as a treatment for high blood pressure, but people who took it noticed that they were growing hair in places where they had lost it. Research studies confirmed that minoxidil applied directly to the scalp could stimulate hair growth. As a result of the studies, the FDA originally approved over-the-counter 2% minoxidil to treat hair loss in women. Since then a 5% solution has also become available when a stronger solution is need for a woman's hair loss.
I recently published an article covering a story in the press of SkinTE helping to possibly save the life of a burn patient (see Articles). In that post I shared an image from SkinTE’s website which shows an application for hair growth. What some may not be aware of is the fact that Dr. Denver Lough, CEO of PolarityTE, has done some legitimate hair follicle research while at Johns Hopkins University. Whether or not this will increase the chances of a “HairTE” product to become a success, we can’t say. However, it may be of interest to recall two peer reviewed articles that Lough and colleagues published involving the proteins LGR5+ and LGR6+ stem cells and hair growth.
Finasteride inhibits an enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT, or dihydrotestosterone, the hormone that causes hair loss in men, and unlike minoxidil, this drug can actually help hair grow back, as well as prevent further loss. All you have to do is take one pill a day, and according to Dr. Evan Rieder, dermatologist in the Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology at NYU Langone Health, two-thirds of men taking this treatment will see improvements in hair density over time.
Yet another company has made news this week for phase 2 trial progress. Concert Pharmaceuticals announced today that they have completed enrollment for their phase 2a trial using CTP-543 in alopecia areata. CTP-543 is an oral JAK inhibitor which acts on JAK 1 and 2, it’s also known as ruxolitinib. Concert’s version of ruxolitinib has been modified by the company’s proprietary deuterium chemistry technology which the company hopes will improve its effects on AA.
After a severe illness, I lost more than half of my formerly beautiful long hair. Since then, I've tried many shampoos claiming to encourage regrowth of healthy hair. Well, I found it! This shampoo really works. It smells great and has resulted in my hair being stronger and shiny; it no longer breaks easily and my hair stays on my head rather than in the hairbrush! Yay! Be sure to follow the instructions for use. A little goes a long way.
The best fix by far for replacing lost hair is a transplant. Back in the day, docs used plugs that resembled cornrows (definitely not natural looking). Today, guys have more options. You can go for “the strip method” where a doctor surgically removes a strip of hair from the back of your head, dissects every hair graft under a microscope, and then plants the individual grafts onto hair-thin areas of your scalp with tiny incisions.
After the new article featuring Medipost’s hair growth cosmetic was published, Jay Lee PhD of Medipost, began chiming in on the comments section. He first shared that Medipost is currently engaging in a larger clinical trial for the CM3 product which would include higher scale Norwood’s. Then, in a following comment he revealed that Medipost is developing a potentially more advanced hair growth product as well. Here are his words:
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.
Minoxidil is a similar treatment to finasteride and is also available in the UK as a generic or as the well known brand-name “Regaine”. Minoxidil can be bought over the counter, unlike Propecia or finasteride, and comes in the form of a lotion, foam or cream that is rubbed into the scalp every day. Minoxidil is less effective than finasteride (only 60% of men who used Regaine Extra Strength reported regrowth after 48 weeks) but is still a viable option for men seeking treatment. It is also suitable for use by women, and can be used to treat alopecia areata. However, as with finasteride, any beneficial effects will cease once treatment has stopped.
“I think their effectiveness is not as significant as finasteride or minoxidil,” says Dr. Wolfeld, “however, it’s something that can be used quite easily by patients at home. If they use it two or three times a week, I tell them it can help to thicken their hair.” Results can take up to 18 months to show up, so Dr. Wolfeld stresses that patience is a virtue.
3. Hair fibers. The best (and easiest) way to hide a widening part or sparse patch is with hair fibers. They’re tiny, charged fibers that adhere to your scalp (until your next shampoo). Toppik Hair Building Fibers ($25) come in a range of colors so you can easily find one that matches your own hair. (In a pinch, you can also brush a powdered eye shadow that matches your hair color along your part.)
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.