Skeptics (among them, Dr. Wesley) are starting to come around after a 2014 randomized double-blind study published in the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology found a “statistically significant” difference in hair density for women who used a laser comb compared with those who used a sham device. (“Comb” is something of a misnomer. The device looks like a hairbrush crossed with a cordless phone; it is glided back and forth across the scalp, roughly a half-inch at a time, usually about 15 minutes three times a week.)
The follicles on the sides of the scalp are more genetically resistant to DHT, which is why male pattern baldness often results in a “crown” of hair. But its downsides are serious. “With women, finasteride is not an option,” says Dr. Wolfeld. “It’s not FDA-approved for women to take, so we don’t prescribe it.” In fact, due to the drug’s effect on hormone levels, pregnant women are advised to not even touch broken or crushed tablets.
Of course, there are plenty of men who wish desperately to restore their youthful locks, and a few — we can think of one powerful one — who cling to elaborate comb-overs, but many balding men simply clip their hair short and go on with their lives. Dermatologists say hair loss is emotionally harder for women, who are often deeply embarrassed by thinning hair even though it's quite common. By the time they reach 50, about 40 percent of women are experiencing what's known as female-pattern hair loss, said Gopal Patel, a dermatologist with Aesthetic Dermatology Associates in Media. Women of African descent struggle with even more conditions that can damage hair follicles and cause bald spots.
Know the different types of wigs. Synthetic wigs are easy to style and are less expensive than human hair wigs. On the other hand, wigs made from human hair have a more natural look and feel, and are more preferred by those with permanent cases of hair loss. Though they take longer to style, human hair wigs are worth an investment if you plan on wearing it for a relatively long period of time.
Kuntzman described the “snake oil” era of hair restoration, in the early twentieth century, when salesmen offered nonsense treatments, often with horrific results. One involved “cylinders of skin taken from the abdomen and sewn into your scalp to function as a sort of belt loop” for new hairs, Kuntzman said; another used paraffin injections that left some customers with lifelong horn-like head bumps. Most of the really ugly stuff ended in 1938, when the Food and Drug Administration began regulating the industry.
If you have something that works for you, don’t change. Search for products that have plenty of positive feedback and don’t just trust Amazon reviews, but dig deeper. Again, most shampoos that claim to halt hair loss and grow new hair are nothing more than snake oil. Stick with ingredients that are clinically proven to work and backed by scientific study.
Many pharmaceutical companies and researchers are in the search for a hair loss cure. This is because 7 out of 10 men and 4 out of 10 women suffer from androgenic alopecia (genetically caused hair loss) in their lifetime. In the United States that amounts to around 80 million men and 40 million women currently suffering from hair loss. Of course, a permanent cure would relieve a huge percentage of the population.
I feel inspired to share on the Updates thread a few uplifting comments I received from readers in the past week. Following my admonition to a previous commenter that sending out short, supportive emails to hair growth companies (without asking for extra information that you know they are not ready to share) would be a worthwhile endeavor and boost morale, I received some encouraging responses from two frequent visitors of this site who followed through on the idea. Their comments are shared below. 🙂
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.
Finasteride (Propecia). The drug is recommended for male use only, and is in pill form. The drug basically slows down hair loss, while promoting gradual hair growth. The drug works by stopping the enzyme, type II 5-alpha reductas, which is known to produce DHT. The dosage is one pill a day, and has been found to be effective on 80% of men. Like minoxidil, it works best if the bald patches still have tiny, fine hairs. Results are visible within six to three months, and studies of those who have continued its use for two years show longer, thicker hair than those who used it for only for a short time.
While diet alone won’t save your hair, there may be some truth to the old adage that you are what you eat. “You’re not going to have the healthiest hair if you’re living off doughnuts, because being nutrient-deficient weakens strands and makes them more prone to breakage,” says Denise Kernan, owner of DK Hair Techs, Inc., a member of the International Society for Hair Restoration Surgery, and a hair transplant technician who has worked on everyone from senators to sports stars to actors to mafia guys (she won’t name names to protect the privacy of her clients).
When men have hereditary hair loss, they often get a receding hairline. Many men see bald patches, especially on the top of the head. Women, on the other hand, tend to keep their hairline. They see noticeably thinning hair. The first sign of hair loss for many women is a widening part. In rare cases, men see noticeably thinning hair. And in rare cases, women can see a receding hairline or bald patches. The reasons for this are unknown.
But in November, after 10 years of research, Rogaine introduced a new 5 percent minoxidil formulation for women. It’s a mousse (instead of a liquid) that needs to be applied only once a day instead of twice, which means that it can be more easily incorporated into a woman’s evening skin-care routine. Teal replaces the blue and silver palette of the men’s Rogaine, and the packaging bears a lotus flower. (Also last year, Pantene introduced its Hair Regrowth Treatment for Women, which is 2 percent minoxidil.)
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.
If you’re a lady and can remember the one difference in directions (or just scope out the instructions online) we recommend saving the cash. Similarly, you could go generic with Equate Hair Regrowth Treatment for Men or Costco’s Kirkland Signature Hair Regrowth Treatment Minoxidil Foam for Men. These alternatives offer the same percentage of active minoxidil and near-identical inactive ingredients for as little as half the price — a great option for both genders.
Christiano is more of a skeptic. Lab results are nice, she said, but “you can grow mouse or rat hair sixteen ways till Sunday. They grow beautifully!” She laughed. “Humans, not so much.” She points out that there’s so much we still don’t understand. For one: Why does the hair on the back of men’s heads stick around, even when all the rest drops? She also counsels caution when playing God with hair loss. Some companies are seeking hair-restoration cures by attempting to modify developmental-cell pathways. Those pathways, Christiano says, “are potent, and so it’s tempting, but you have to make sure it’s well enough controlled that you don’t initiate a cancer signal.”
Dr. Hawkshaw and his team were lead to test WAY-316606 for hair growth after studying the effects of cyclosporine A (CsA) on hair growth. They found that CsA reduced the expression of SFRP1 in human hair follicles. After looking for other drug candidates that had a similar effect on SFRP1, WAY-316606 was identified. The team has already tested WAY-316606 on isolated human hair follicles which were donated from hair transplant surgeries, and plans to test the drug in human clinical trials in the future. A timeline for a human clinical trial has not been set yet, Follicle Thought will update this as news is presented.
Hair grooming, but more importantly, having a head-full of hair is as important to men as it is to women. To women, it may be an important accessory of beauty, and for men, it adds to a sense of manliness, enhances their looks and makes them more appealing and attractive to women. Balding to men is associated with aging (only old men are expected to lose hair) and therefore, having hair on one's head is a sign of virility and masculinity.
Laser light therapy is not a baldness solution, and the HairMax takes a time commitment: You have to use the product for 15 minutes a day, three days a week and you have to keep using it indefinitely to get results. Still, laser light therapy has no major side effects, and may be best for men who have noticed some increased shedding and want to maintain more of the hair they have on their head.
I also reached out to Histogen and Follicum a few weeks ago as well thanking them for all their hard work in bringing a safe and effective treatment to people all over the globe with hairloss issues and expressed how much we all value these companies. I held back from asking about market release as you had suggested. I received a very nice reply from Histogen.
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.
Cloning has seen many false starts and wrong turns, Christiano told me. Now her team is building “an artificial skin with a dermis and an epidermis, with molds made to mimic the dimensions of hair density,” she explained. “When the artificial skin matures we pull out the pre-formed hairs and insert them into the skin.” Bernstein is convinced that, in the next ten years, cloned hair will happen. “And then the supply and demand problem is solved,” Bernstein said. “Without Bernanke!”
Buckler said it started in 2003 with the academic research of Hoffmann and McElwee at the University of Marburg in Marburg, Germany. At the time they were trying to understand what was happening in the hair follicles of people suffering from androgenetic alopecia—a common form of hair loss in both men and women—or the underlying cause of hair loss.
The views expressed in this article intend to highlight alternative studies and induce conversation. They are the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of hims, and are for informational purposes only, even if and to the extent that this article features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.
Researchers from the NIH and the University of Alabama, Birmingham have discovered a connection between the body’s innate immune regulation and hair graying. It was found that the transcritpion factor known as MITF, which plays an important role in melanocyte function, also plays a major role in hair graying. When the body’s immune system is dealing with a pathogenic infection such as bacteria or virus, molecules called interferons will send out signals to the body to take action against the pathogen. If MITF loses control of interferon response in melanocyte stem cells (due to an immune system response), hair turns gray. Essentially, immune system response may contribute to the process of hair graying according to the study.
Head over to the main Articles page to read an update from head researcher Junji Fukuda PhD of Yokohama National University. This is the research that spurred the “french fry hair cure” craze of recent news headlines. I asked Junji in a Q&A if he has received any interest from bigger companies to commercialize his technology. Find his answer and more insight to what lead him to hair follicle research in the full article.