Hair loss can be prevented but once it’s gone, there is nothing in your kitchen cupboards that will bring it back. Fortunately medical science is working on some answers. People have been working on solving baldness for decades but until recently the best options were thick plugs, toupees, and all kinds of questionable ointments. Now there are medicines and technologies that are showing real results which is great news for the eighty percent of men who experience male pattern baldness or one of the millions of men and women who lose their hair for other reasons. If preventative measures haven’t worked for you, you may need to ask your doctor about some of these options.
4) Peptide therapy
Senescent cells are cells which no longer function but refuse to die. When cells in the scalp go senescent they can stop facilitating new hair growth when an old hair falls out and release hairs which have not yet reached the phase of their life where they would naturally fall out. Researchers in the Netherlands have developed a peptide therapy which seeks out and destroys senescent cells, allowing more room for healthy cells to grow in their place. Trials on mice have shown the therapy can promote new fur growth in naturally aged mice who had begun to lose their fur, as well as in mice that were genetically engineered to age rapidly. This is a very new study but they are already planning to start human trials. In addition to helping the rodent subjects reclaim their lost fur, the therapy also had some positive effect on kidney regeneration. If all goes well, hair loss reversal may be the least exciting of this new therapy’s effects.
SMO4554 may not be the most glamourous name, but that won’t bother anyone when we’re all walking around looking like rock stars. SMO4554 is a new drug that targets the neural signalling pathways that regulate the hair growth cycle. A typical hair cycle lasts between five and seven years and has three stages: The anagen phase, the catagen phase, and the telogen phase. The telogen phase is a three month period of rest that occurs at the end of the cycle after the hair has fallen out but before a new one begins to grow. Hair loss often occurs when genetic or environmental factors cause neural signalling pathways to close up resulting in a whole bunch of follicles to enter the telogen phase all at once and never leave it. Although still in trials, SMO4554 may correct this problem by reopening the signalling pathways so that the hair growth cycle can get back on track.
2) Stem cell therapy
Stem cell research is going to revolutionise medicine. Stem cells are being researched as a potential cure for cancer, heart disease, genetic disorders, and now thank goodness, baldness. Following in the footsteps of hair transplantation technology that has been in use since the 1800s, stem cell transplant therapy injects stem cells directly into the bald area to promote new hair growth. Hair plug treatments made popular in the 1980s and still in use today can be extremely noticeable because the plugs which are taken from other areas of the scalp are about four millimetres in diameter. Plus the surgery can be painful and leave scarring. With stem cell transplants the hair is allowed to grow in naturally. This treatment is still in testing stages.
Don’t try to pronounce it, but if there’s a miracle for hair regrowth, tofacitinib is it. Marketed as Xeljanz, tofacitinib is a drug originally intended to treat rheumatoid arthritis. In clinical trials however, three quarters of study participants found they had significant hair growth. Now the drug is being investigated as a possible treatment for alopecia areata and a topical version is in trials as a potential remedy for male pattern baldness.
There’s no shame in the natural progression of baldness, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try to get your hair back if you want to. As science progresses, there is more and more hope that baldness will become a thing of the past.