Study May Provide New Hair-Loss Solution

Loss hair comb in women hand

Scientists appear to have moved one step closer to a solution for hair loss. For the first time, researchers have been able to grow entirely new hairs on human skin.

The new technique would be drastically different than current treatment options available for hair loss, as it would use people’s own cells to generate new hair. In the study, researchers removed cells from the base of human hair follicles and grew them in drops hanging down from the lid of a petri dish. They then injected the cells into hairless human skin that had been grafted onto mice. In five out of the seven grafts, new hair follicles grew. Further tests confirmed that the follicles were human.

But baldness hasn’t been solved just yet. The type of hair produced was very small and fine, according to researchers. Only 22% of the genes that normally operate in follicular cells were functioning in the grafted cells. More work needs to be done to see if longer, thicker, better quality hair can be grown, but researchers are optimistic that an effective treatment for baldness can be developed.

Current treatments for baldness do not involve producing new hairs. Hair transplants, for example, simply shift hair by moving follicles from the back of the head to the front, leaving scars on the back of the head, which may be a particularly unappealing option for women. Other treatments focus on trying to revitalize existing or dying hair follicles, rather than on growing entirely new follicles. This new technique could theoretically be used in both men and women suffering from hair loss.