Some 30 million women in the United States have hereditary hair loss (compared with 50 million men), according to the American Academy of Dermatology, though that figure does not include the millions more who struggle with thinning hair because of pregnancy, menopause, stress and other health conditions. Barely 5 percent of women are said to be good candidates for hair transplant surgery because women lose hair everywhere, meaning that, unlike with men, there is rarely a luxuriant spot on the back of the head from which to harvest hairs unobtrusively.
The most permanent solution for those who have lost or are losing their hair is hair transplants. Follicles are harvested from the back of the head and seeded into bald areas. Techniques have vastly improved and no longer do these look like fake “plugs”. Skilled surgeons can provide the patient we a very natural looking head of hair. A recent technological innovation is robotic assisted hair transplantation which help the surgeon be more precise and keep scalp scarring minimal. The limitations?
Dr. Melissa Piliang, a dermatologist at the Cleveland Clinic, said that Rogaine works better on the top and crown (for reasons not fully understood, the frontal hairline tends to be more resistant to treatment) and ideally should be started as soon as women notice thinning. “Any regrowth you get is a minimal amount,” Dr. Piliang said. “So the more density when you start, the better results you get.”
“If you don’t want a scar because you like to wear your hair short, you might opt for a “scarless” hair transplant,” says Dr. Joyce. Also known as follicular unit extraction (FUE), grafts are harvested one at a time with tiny punches that heal virtually undetected so you can still buzz your head. “If you’ve gone so bald that you don’t have a lot of donor hair on your head, we can do FUE extractions with body hair such as on your chest, stomach, back, and sometimes even the pubic area,” says Dr. Joyce.
HCell Inc. announced this week in a press release the addition of two new members to its Board of Directors. Robert P. Ryan PhD and Marlene Haffner MD PhD comprise the additions to the Board. HCell mentions in the release that the respective additions will be supportive to HCell through their combined experience in orphan drug development and FDA regulatory processes.
Scientists from the Indiana University School of Medicine have for the first time created skin with hair follicles using mice stem cells. Research was led by Professor Karl Koehler. The team was able to grow both the epidermis and dermis layers of skin to create a realistic skin model. An interesting quote from Professor Koehler: “It looks like a little ball of pocket lint that floats around in the culture medium. The skin develops as a spherical cyst and then the hair follicles grow outward in all directions – like dandelion seeds.”
“There’s the ‘I don’t date bald men’ line – hard to argue with, but still an injury to one’s pride.” Then there are a surprising number of people who call out “baldie!” in the street, or equate a shaved head with homosexuality and/or neo-Nazism. “I’ve had baldist/homophobic abuse in the street a couple of times and I’ve even been asked on the Tube: ‘Are you BNP, mate?’ When I expressed bewilderment at this, I was told: ‘It’s the hair, innit.’”
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.
Follicum announced yesterday it has successfully completed the development of a topical formulation for FOL-005. The company had been working in parallel to develop an optimal topical version of FOL-005 while an injectable version of the peptide was being used in a clinical trial. Now that the topical formula is completed it will be trialed in a further phase 2 clinical trial which will likely begin very late 2018 or early 2019.
We’re not exactly sure about that “growth potential” stuff; for our purposes, the question is whether the product works to stop hair loss. Several of the confusing phrases the company uses actually address that question. The shampoo works to protect mitochondrial DNA, an important component in protecting and growing hair follicles, with fatty acids. It also contains ingredients which prevent further damage to the follicles. In other words, it protects and strengthens the hair you already have.
As the name suggests, androgenetic alopecia involves the action of the hormones called androgens, which are essential for normal male sexual development and have other important functions in both sexes, including sex drive and regulation of hair growth. The condition may be inherited and involve several different genes. It can also result from an underlying endocrine condition, such as overproduction of androgen or an androgen-secreting tumor on the ovary, pituitary, or adrenal gland. In either case, the alopecia is likely related to increased androgen activity. But unlike androgenetic alopecia in men, in women the precise role of androgens is harder to determine. On the chance that an androgen-secreting tumor is involved, it's important to measure androgen levels in women with clear female pattern hair loss.
Finasteride (brand name Propecia) is the closest to a hair loss cure pill that scientists have discovered to date. This is a DHT hair loss cure. DHT is made when 5 alpha reductase converts testosterone, and Propecia has been found to be an effective inhibitor of DHT by preventing this process from happening. It works internally, at the root of the cause. Therefore, DHT sensitive hair follicles in the front and top of the scalp don’t have to fight off nearly as much DHT.
Certain foods have also been found to aggravate or worsen hair fall, such as sugar, which triggers the overproduction of the male hormone, androgen, which in turn causes the hair follicles to shrink in size and for hair to fall out or stop growing. Fish products that are known to contain high levels of mercury like tuna, mackerel and swordfish can also cause hair weakening and excessive hair fall. Studies have also found that fried foods are associated with the production of high levels of DHT.
“Everyone wants to try it,” Altman told me. “We get inundated with e-mails saying, ‘Tell me what the price is, I really don’t care, I’ll buy it.’ ” Weinstein looked at me. “You have your hair,” he said. “I don’t know why you’re interested in this,” Altman chimed in, with wildly unrealistic but much appreciated enthusiasm for my reporting. “ ’Cause eighty million people don’t! There’ll be eighty million people reading this article!”
RiverTown Therapeutics is in the Follicum camp: RT1640, the compound that David Weinstein developed, is applied topically. Compared to the aforementioned companies, though, RiverTown is way behind. Weinstein and his business partner, Michael Altman, are currently looking for investors to fund clinical trials. But only they have the flashy declaration that the founder has managed to grow back his own hair. Through coverage on sites like Follicle Thought, RiverTown is now a cult favorite in the hair-loss community.
Some immediately see a doctor for Rogaine or Propecia, seek out over-the-counter miracle baldness cures, or even look into hair transplants. Others, though, take a more measured approach and begin using shampoos which can help slow hair loss in a safe and natural way. Groom+Style has written about the reasons for hair loss in men previously. The causes of hair loss in women and children are slightly different. You might also be interested in how to keep your hair healthy in other, natural ways.
You’ll find ketoconazole in Nizoral anti-dandruff shampoo, and preliminary research indicates that it may be effective in treating hair loss. Researchers found that both 2% ketoconazole and minoxidil regimens improved hair density, size, and proportion of anagen follicles. Ketoconazole also is effective in treating a fungus called Pityriasis that often inhabits the scalp.
Key features: Dr. Zeichner recommends the Keratin Oil Shampoo and Conditioner by OGX for thinning or fine hair that needs the extra strength. This budget-friendly option uses keratin proteins mixed with argan oil to nourish, condition, and strengthen strands, and it's only $16 for the set. The smoothing formula can also increase elasticity for less breakage and split ends.