With new found advancements in biotechnology hair loss may become a thing of the past. For starters, scientists have discovered that hair follicles are self-generating. Hence, the problem lies in getting dormant or listless hair follicles to reanimate themselves and produce new strands of thick, strong hair. Let us look at some of the latest technological marvels that may render hair loss a relic in antiquated history books.
Currently a popular product for hair loss is Rogaine. The primary ingredient is minoxidil, and Rogaine is currently recommended by doctors to combat androgenetic alopecia, better known as male or female pattern baldness. Results vary from case to case, with some studies finding 2 out of 3 men developing newfound hair growth. The exact way in which minoxidil works to curb hair loss and trigger new hair growth is still now known, but FDA trials have shown that up to 85% of subjects experienced improvements in hair loss issues after being exposed to Rogaine products.
Propecia is also a popular drug that is specifically designed for men. It works by preventing the body from generating DHT-a potent androgen that has been clinically linked to hair thinning and eventual loss. It is also possible to take both Propecia and Rogaine at the same time, although the products must be taken in perpetuity in order to maintain their positive effects.
Many who are tired of taking drugs to deal with hair loss have turned to state of the art surgery procedures. It is now possible to take hair follicles from the side of a person’s head as well as the back of the head and transplant the follicles to the front. In the past, doctors would craft plugs of 12 to 20 hairs and implant them. However, the procedure proved disastrous in most men as they aged, developing what was known as the “corn-row” phenomenon. In other words, poles of hair would jut out from all sides. Fortunately, scientists now use follicular unit hair transplants to prevent such issues from developing in the future. Essentially, a surgeon will take 1 to 4 hairs and transplant them in very close proximity to one another to create a more organic aesthetic.
The future looks bright as scientists are working on stem cells in test tubes, working on follicular regeneration therapies. For instance, some scientists have taken hair follicles from the scalp and have grown them with dermal papilla cells. By recombining the follicles with skin cells it may be possible to create new hybrid follicles. As a result, scientists would be able to increase the total number of hair follicles available for hair transplantation. At the current rate many experts believe that the technology will be commercially available in the next 5 to 10 years.
Furthermore, scientists have recently discovered a gene known as “Sonic Hedgehog”. Playfully named after the mascot of the video game company Sega, the gene has the ability to convent resting hair into growing hair. Some pundits believe that the gene may have the ability to control both the growth and size of hair follicles.
Moreover, while genetic testing may not help people who already suffer from androgenetic alopecia, a form of male pattern baldness that is genetically derived, there is hope that future generations will never have to worry about genetically induced baldness again.
For instance, scientists found that men who inherited 2 particular variants of a gene were 7 times more likely to suffer from baldness than men who didn’t. A company in Iceland named deCODE Genetics had recently created a personalized genotyping service. Ergo, if a person is found to be susceptible to baldness thanks to their genotypic makeup, then preventative measures can be taken before the baldness process actually begins.
Finally, natural hair generation is only a few years away as a patent has been filed for a process known as follicle neogenesis. Pre-clinical trials have already begun. The goal of follicle neogenesis is to get hair follicles to regenerate by reactivating dormant genes that were once only active during the neonatal phase. Trial work is expected to be completed by 2018.