Hair loss or Androgenetic alopecia (AGA) is characterized by the miniaturization of the hair follicles in susceptible individuals and occurs in a defined pattern on the scalp.
Hair loss in aging men and women is characterized by these “damaged hair follicles.” Normal hair growth depends on a cycle in which periodic regeneration of the underlying hair follicle occurs through a process directed by stem cells.
Within the follicle, normal stem cell function is essential for hair follicle regrowth. What has been discovered in just the past few years, through studies of wound healing in burn victims and other patients, is that it is possible to actually grow new hair follicles and, as a result, new hair. The formation of new follicles and hair growth was shown to be associated with a cascade of cellular and biochemical events during the wound healing process.
By studying wound healing at the cellular and molecular levels, the skin was observed to have the ability to revert to a more primitive or “embryonic” state as progenitor cells “migrate” to the wounded area, restoring the regenerative capacity of the skin not previously thought to occur in adults.
The regenerative response includes new hair follicle formation, allowing new hair to grow at the restored site.
A major part of the wound healing cascade is the release of growth factors and cytokines from stem cells into the layers of the scalp at the site of the wound. These growth factors and cytokines function like a light switch, turning on lost or decreased function of the hair follicle.
Although dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is only one factor, and a minor one, in causing the unhealthy minaturization of the follicle in male pattern baldness process, it has received much attention. Several products are now on the market that attempt to restore hair growth based on interacting with the DHT pathway. These DHT specific products have demonstrated limited efficacy in growing new hair yet can show debilitating side-effects, including sexual dysfunction.
Based on the similar etiologies of male pattern baldness through DHT, it was thought that naturally occurring growth factors may also benefit the treatment of hair loss through the DHT pathway, but without the side-effects seen with other products. More importantly, the direct effects of topically applied cytokines and growth factors to the hair follicle restores the normal physiology and anatomy of the hair follicle and is the critical factor in restoring hair growth.
Below is the first example of a placebo-controlled, double-blind study undertaken to examine the benefit of these naturally occurring growth factors in the treatment of hair loss.
Objectives: The goal of this study was to test naturally occurring growth factors in the treatment of AGA.
Subjects included in this study were males between the ages of 25 and 65 years of age, in good health, with mild to moderate AGA.
Results: The results of this study showed a highly positive response to treatment. The blinded investigative staff assessment report showed that over 90% of study subjects dosed with the active study formulation were rated as improved at the final visit. Patient self-assessment demonstrated that 94% of the patients saw significant improvement in hair growth and prevention of hair loss.
Conclusions: This study establishes the effectiveness of naturally occurring growth factors for the first time in the treatment of hair loss. Growth factor technology has been used to generate completely new hair follicles for the first time in normal adult males. The researchers were able to induce the regenerative response, including new hair follicle formation, by applying a combination of factors to the scalp. This work showed that the application of these growth factors resulted in skin triggered molecular pathways, allowing a new topical treatment option for re-growing hair.
Caution: the application of any artificially created or synthesized signaling molecule is discouraged for two reasons; they lack potency and they may cause unnecessary secondary side effects. A good rule of thumb is to stay as natural as possible.
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- Does Acell Matristem & PRP Result in Genuine Hair Regeneration?
- Histogen Reveals Results of Hair Growth Clinical Trials