Also known as Rogaine, this over-the-counter (OTC) medication can be used for men or women with alopecia areata or androgenic alopecia. This drug comes in foam or liquid form and is spread on the scalp each day. It may cause more hair loss at first, and new growth may be shorter and thinner than before. You may also need to use it six months or more to prevent further loss and promote regrowth.
Signage for Shiseido Co. is displayed outside the company's headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, on Friday, Feb. 28, 2014. Shiseido, Japan's largest cosmetics maker, is under reform after posting losses due to weak domestic sales and an impairment loss on goodwill associated with Bare Escentuals, which it bought in 2010. Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg
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.
Disruptions in the normal length of each phase, which can cause hair loss and hair thinning, may be the result of a number of internal and external stimuli. These are also what we call the triggers and causes of your hair loss. As a quick example, dieting can leave the body stressed and in need of important nutrients. Because of this stress, hair growth may be cut shorter than usual and there is an early onset of telogen or shedding of hair.
Hollywood has made movies about it. Industries have made billions from it. And if the volume of scripture is any indication, the Almighty God must have placed great value on his creation of the head of human hair. After all, He gave Samson—the strongest man of whom the Bible tells—his immense strength through his hair and declared a woman’s hair "a glory unto" her in the 11th chapter of 1 Chorinthians.
What's to know about alopecia areata? Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder that usually results in unpredictable, patchy hair loss. Approximately 7 million people in the U.S. have alopecia areata, and it can affect anyone of any age or gender. There is no cure for alopecia areata although some treatments are available to help hair regrow more quickly. Read now
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.
A clinical researcher who has spent decades researching the fields of pattern hair loss, alopecia areata, endocrinology of the hair follicle and hair follicle morphogenesis, Hoffmann works in his private practice, as a teaching professor in the Department of Dermatology at the University of Marburg and as a researcher on histopathology on hair diseases. He has participated in dozens of clinical hair studies and is the inventor of TrichoScan®, a computerized technique to measure hair growth.
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In 2013, RepliCel began working with the Tokyo-based Shiseido Company, Limited—a Japanese multinational skin care, hair care, cosmetics and fragrance producer—on a collaboration giving Shiseido an exclusive geographic license to use RepliCel’s RCH-01 hair regeneration technology in Japan, China, South Korea, Taiwan and the ASEAN countries representing a population of approximately 2.1 billion people. “Shiseido and RepliCel will collaborate on the continued improvement of the technology and will conduct human clinical trials in each of their territories with the goal of commercializing a safe and effective hair regenerative treatment to help those suffering from pattern baldness and thinning hair,” Buckler said.
Quietly, however, progress churns. Joseph is the pseudonymous proprietor of the Web site Follicle Thought, a popular destination for hair-loss obsessives. Follicle Thought is dedicated to “what’s next,” Joseph told me. “What could be coming? Obviously we have other things to cure. But, like, what is the world doing about hair? Hundreds of millions of people really want it. It’s a really deep, emotional, psychological issue for people.” He paused. “I’ve put so much thought into that question.”
“This industry can be ruthless—full of liars,” Farrell told me. “Just imagine how emotional people can be about their hair. If it didn’t work, some bruiser could throw me right out the window!” He laughed. “I’d rather sell hamburgers than make people ugly. But they’re always just so beautiful. I’ve done it almost forty-seven thousand times.” (Forty-six thousand and seventy-four, he later clarified, in more than thirty years.) He was originally a hairdresser; he learned the ways of wigs from a stylist on the set of a Ronald McDonald shoot. Now he’s an unabashed proselytizer. It’s all in the details, he said. “Clockwise growth patterns. Counterclockwise retention. Gravity splits according to your growth patterns and gravitational force. Irregularly shaped hairlines. The density, the texture, the colors, the highlights, the grays, the curls, the curl clash. I mean, this is rocket science! We have proprietary techniques!”
I’d come to think that the simplest answer was the right one: this was regular male-pattern baldness, elaborately covered up. But the Air Force One incident only deepened the mystery. What kind of hair afflicted by male-pattern baldness rises in the back? I suddenly had no idea which parts of his head contained which hairs. Watching the flaps on the back of his head shoot up again and again, I became unmoored in my beliefs.
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.”
Chemotherapy is also one of the primary causes of balding among cancer patients, men and women alike. While not all chemotherapy treatments result in hair loss, some that involves the use of drugs like Altretamine, Carboplatin, Docetaxel, and Idarubicin can cause hair thinning and hair fall. In such cases, the hair loss varies from person to person and the dosage of drugs administered. Hair fall doesn't occur at once, but rather after several weeks of treatment until hair fall rate increases after one or two months of exposure to chemotherapy. Radiation therapy as part of cancer treatment can also result into hair loss but typically only in areas where the radiation is targeted.
“The DHT hormone (dihydrotestosterone) can contribute to thinning in women who are genetically predisposed to female pattern thinning,” Fusco says. For those whose case falls into this category, she advises a prescription shampoo with ketoconazole 2 percent, as it has anti-androgenic properties. “Ketoconazole has been proposed to disrupt the pathway of DHT leading to thinning of follicles.”
But there is a Canadian company who has been working diligently to change that. And if they’re right—and so far the research indicates they are—baldness may become a thing of the past for those who choose not to tolerate hair loss anymore. And they're not only attacking baldness, Aging skin and tendon degeneration are on the cutting block as well. It's great news for the tens of millions of older Americans who suffer from these malladies. But the most fascinating part lies in the source of the cure. It’s you. The company focuses on the development of cell therapies using a patient's own cells.
Like the long-suffering friend who inspired her to undergo the procedure, Ms. Telford quickly saw an improvement in her hair. New hair growth usually take at least four months, but at the two-month mark, she has already spotted some baby hairs. “Not a gazillion,” she said, “but it’s a start.” She’s planning to return for follow-up treatments every six months, and has high hopes of ditching the wigs and wearing her hair in a pixie.
Even though modern folklore, and even some limited scientific studies, have suggested that the mother's side of the family is largely responsible for a genetic predisposition toward baldness, the truth is balding is not all our mothers' fault. In fact, doctors now say baldness patterns are inherited from a combination of many genes on both sides of the family. There are some environmental factors that come into play, too.
The patient, a small, vaguely European man in his late forties, had rings on his fingers and a bloody, rectangular gash on the back of his head. It looked like a chunk of missing carpet. Bernstein pointed at the white opening of exposed scalp, and explained how easy it would be to stitch skin together over the gap. This was a traditional process for follicular-unit transplantation. Then Bernstein led me into a second room, where another patient was seated with his face in a massage-table-like padded hole. A portion of the back of his head was marked off. To his right was a boxy gray machine, roughly four feet by four feet, with a jutting mechanical arm. This was the ARTAS Robotic Hair Transplant.
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.)
Aclaris Therapeutics, the company who acquired the rights from Angela Christiano to use JAK inhibitors in alopecia disorders, is currently involved in a wide range of alopecia trials. The company has multiple ongoing trials for alopecia areata, including a trial for eyebrow regrowth, and also a new trial planned for AGA or androgenic alopecia. Full article here.
In either sex, hair loss from androgenetic alopecia occurs because of a genetically determined shortening of anagen, a hair's growing phase, and a lengthening of the time between the shedding of a hair and the start of a new anagen phase. (See "Life cycle of a hair.") That means it takes longer for hair to start growing back after it is shed in the course of the normal growth cycle. The hair follicle itself also changes, shrinking and producing a shorter, thinner hair shaft — a process called "follicular miniaturization." As a result, thicker, pigmented, longer-lived "terminal" hairs are replaced by shorter, thinner, non-pigmented hairs called "vellus."