How To Stop Balding And Regrow Hair – Baldness is an accepted part of the aging process for some and a source of distress for others. Hair loss affects millions of men and women, but despite decades of research, there is still no cure. How close are we to finding a magic bullet for baldness?
Studies looking at hair loss are based on decades of research. Could a cure for baldness be just around the corner?
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Androgenetic alopecia, better known as male and female pattern baldness, is the most common type of hair loss, affecting an estimated 30 million women and 50 million men in the United States.
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In men, hair loss begins above both temples and recedes over time to form an “M” shape. The hair also tends to thin at the crown and can progress to partial or complete baldness. In women, the hair does not shrink and rarely leads to total baldness, but the hair often thins all over the head.
Male pattern baldness is hereditary and can be related to male sex hormones. Male hair loss can start as early as adolescence. It affects two-thirds of men by age 35 and 85% of men by age 50.
The causes of female pattern baldness are not clear. However, hair loss occurs more often in women after menopause, indicating that the condition may be associated with a decrease in female hormones.
With androgenetic alopecia affecting so many people, a permanent cure would not only ease anxiety for a significant percentage of the population, but would also be financially beneficial to the pharmaceutical company responsible for the discovery.
How To Regrow Hair For Men Naturally
Hair consists of a follicle (a pocket in the skin that secures each hair) and a shaft (the visible fiber at the top of the scalp). In the hair bulb, located at the base of the follicle, cells divide and grow to produce hair, which is made of a protein called keratin. The papilla surrounding the bulb contains tiny blood vessels that feed the hair follicles and deliver hormones to control hair growth and texture.
Hair growth occurs in cycles. A hair follicle produces hair for a few years and then goes into rest mode for several years.
Hair follicles, like all cells, have cycles. A natural part of the cycle involves shedding between 50 and 100 hairs a day.
Each follicle produces hair for 2-6 years and then pauses for several months. While the hair follicle is in its resting phase, hair falls out. There are approximately 100,000 follicles on the scalp, but because each follicle rests at a different time than the others when they produce hair, hair loss often goes unnoticed. The most noticeable hair loss occurs when there is a disruption in the cycle of growth and shedding, or if the hair follicle is effaced and replaced by scar tissue.
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Scientists now understand that baldness occurs through a phenomenon known as miniaturization. Some hair follicles appear genetically too sensitive to the action of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is a hormone converted from testosterone with the help of an enzyme produced in the follicle’s sebaceous gland.
DHT binds to receptors in hair follicles and shrinks them, making them thin. Over time, the follicles produce finer hairs and grow for a shorter time than usual. Eventually, the follicle stops producing hair, leaving the area bald.
Currently, a few therapeutic options are available to halt or reverse miniaturization. Most hair loss treatments only manage hair loss, rather than being a permanent solution.
Hair transplants are one of the most permanent solutions to hair loss. However, like all current treatments, it has its limitations.
Androgenetic Alopecia Treatment Options
The only two drugs approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of hair loss are minoxidil (Rogaine) and finasteride (Propecia).
The use of minoxidil for baldness was discovered by accident. Minoxidil has been used extensively to treat high blood pressure, but researchers have found that one of the drug’s side effects is hair growth in unexpected areas.
Minoxidil lotion is applied to the scalp and can work by increasing blood flow and therefore nutrition to the hair follicles. The American Hair Loss Association says that most experts agree that minoxidil is “a relatively effective drug in the fight against hair loss.”
The treatment has no effect on the hormonal process of hair loss and its benefits are temporary. Hair loss will continue if use is stopped.
Ways To Stop Hair Loss
The side effects of finasteride on hair growth were discovered during the development of a drug to treat the enlarged prostate gland.
Finasteride inhibits type II 5-alpha-reductase, which is the enzyme responsible for converting testosterone into the more potent androgen DHT. DHT levels are reduced by 60% while taking the drug, preventing sensitive follicles from being affected by the hormone and returning to their normal size.
This treatment does not work on women and its effect only lasts as long as it is taken.
Dutasteride (Avodart) is used to treat an enlarged prostate. Although the FDA has not approved the drug for the treatment of hair loss, doctors sometimes prescribe dutasteride off-label for male pattern baldness.
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Dutasteride works similar to finasteride, but may be more effective. Like finasteride, dutasteride inhibits the activity of type II 5-alpha reductase. However, dutasteride further inhibits type I of the enzyme. Blocking both types of enzymes further reduces DHT and reduces the risk of damaging hair follicles.
This drug has the same limitations as finasteride, meaning it only works when taken daily and may become less effective over time.
These therapies can slow or prevent hair loss and can stimulate regrowth of dormant but still viable follicles. However, there is little they can do for follicles that have already gone dormant. Using them at an earlier stage of hair loss will see more favorable results.
Hair transplant involves harvesting follicles from the back of the head that are resistant to DHT and transplanting them into bald areas. A surgeon will remove small plugs from skin that has hair and implant the plugs where the follicles are dormant. About 15% of the hair emerges from the follicle as a single hair and another 15% grows in groups of four or five hairs.
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At the end of the procedure, the person will still have the same amount of hair – it will just be more evenly distributed across the scalp. Treating hair loss with surgical procedures can be painful and expensive. There is also the risk of scarring and infection.
Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) is a form of light and heat treatment. LLLT has been shown to promote hair growth in both men and women. The researchers assume that the main mechanism involved in the process is the stimulation of epidermal stem cells in the follicle and the transfer of the follicle to the growth phase of the cycle.
Existing medications for treating hair loss have limited effectiveness and require continued use for the treatment benefits to continue.
Researchers continue to fight for the holy grail of hair loss cures by trying to better understand how the hair growth cycle is regulated. Instead of treating the symptoms of hair loss, scientists aim to find the cause, which, in turn, may provide fewer side effects. Recently, there have been many advances in the field of hair loss that could lead to promising new treatments.
The Best Hair Loss Treatments For Men And Women
Researchers at the University of Texas (UT) Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas have identified a protein called KROX20, which activates skin cells and tells them to turn into hair. Additionally, these hair precursor cells produce a protein called stem cell factor (SCF), which plays an important role in hair pigmentation.
When the SCF gene was knocked out of hair precursor cells in mice, they grew gray hair that turns white with age. Furthermore, when the KROX20-producing cells were removed, the hair stopped growing and the mice went bald.
“With this knowledge, we hope in the future to create a topical compound or safely deliver the genes needed by hair follicles to correct these cosmetic issues,” said Dr. Lu Le, associate professor of dermatology at UT Southwest.
Future work by the team will focus on finding out whether KROX20 and the SCF gene stop working properly and cause male pattern baldness.
F.d.a. Approves Alopecia Drug That Restores Hair Growth In Many Patients
A study conducted by the University of Edinburgh in the UK discovered 287 genetic regions involved in male pattern baldness. Many of the genes identified by the researchers were related to hair structure and development.
“We’ve identified hundreds of new genetic signals,” said Saskia Hagenaars, a Ph.D. student at the Center for Cognitive Aging and Cognitive Epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh. “It was interesting to find that many of the genetic signals for male pattern baldness came from the X chromosome, which men inherit from their mothers.”
The team’s findings could not only help predict a man’s likelihood of experiencing severe hair loss, but could also provide new targets for the development of drugs to treat baldness.
University of California-San Francisco (UCSF) researchers reported that the damage to a type of immune cell
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