Researchers say they are very close to unleashing a product that could finally draw the curtain on the dreaded comb-over.
"This discovery sheds light on a novel mechanism to regenerate hair follicles and opens an exciting new avenue to develop treatments for hair loss in humans," The company's Dr. William Ju said in a press release. "Follica has developed a technology platform that is uniquely suited to support clinical translation of these new findings."
It focuses on a slightly strange-sounding process called 'skin-perturbation', in which the top layers of skin on the scalp are peeled back. The cells beneath then apparently revert to a stem-like state. Finally, a topical solution is applied that essentially re-programs those cells to be hair-producers.
Hair? Is that really you, after all these years?
And for Follica, the promise of propping up the male ego and all the societal benefits hair confers, could spell the biggest roll-up-the-rim win of all time. Especially, with the pickings so slim at the moment.
Non-invasive hair-regrowth options basically come down to minoxidil, marketed as Rogaine, and finasteride , which you may know as Propecia. The former is a vasodilator, which purports to prevent follicles from shrinking and choking off hair. Propecia aims to stop testosterone from being converted, and thus weaponized as DHT, which starves hair of vital nutrients.
You've also got the oft-ridiculed toupee option and surgeries which graft hair from other parts of your body.
That's where Follica, having licensed research from the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine, is looking to ride to the rescue.
While researchers at Follica have remained somewhat coy on exactly how the process works, The Scientist reports the procedure has already sailed through both preclinical and clinical trials.
Overexposure To The Sun Causes Hair Loss
<strong>FALSE BUT SOMEWHAT TRUE</strong> Ultraviolet (UV) radiation can cause skin problems like accelerated aging and cancer, but it will not interrupt hair follicle function, says hair expert <a href="http://www.baumanmedical.com/Default.aspx?tabid=93" target="_hplink">Dr. Alan Bauman</a> of Bauman Medical Group in Florida. However, overexposure of hair fibres to UV radiation can in fact weaken the fibres, disrupt the cuticle and make them more prone to dullness, frizz and breakage.
Pluck One Grey Hair And Two Grow Back
<strong>FALSE</strong> The good news is pulling out grey hairs won't make more grow back. The bad news is most people get grey hair as they age anyway.
Over-Shampooing Can Make You Lose Hair
<strong>FALSE</strong> Many people may notice they shed daily after they shampoo or brush their hair. "Hair follicles cycle on and cycle off and repeat that process over the course of their life span," says Bauman. Each day 100 to 200 hairs shed and these hair follicles are replaced by other hair follicles entering the growth phase.
Standing On Your Head Makes Your Hair Grow
<strong>FALSE</strong> It may sound funny, but this is a commonly heard myth. Bauman says hair loss is not a blood flow problem, but instead can be caused by other factors like age and genetics. "Even if increased blood flow helped hair growth, you could not stay in that position long enough to have an effect on the hair follicles," Bauman says.
Balding Is Linked To Old Age
<strong>TRUE</strong> Genetic male and female hair loss gets more common as we age. However, another type of hair loss <a href="http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/guide/understanding-hair-loss-basics" target="_blank">called alopecia areata is common in children and young adults and could result in complete baldness.</a>
There's No Cure For Baldness
<strong>FALSE</strong> While there is no "miracle cure" there are certainly many treatments like government-approved drugs, laser therapy procedures or hair transplants.
Higher Testosterone Linked To Hair Loss
<strong>FALSE</strong> "What you inherit is the sensitivity to dihydrotestosterone or DHT (a hormone and natural compound of testosterone) that can cause hair loss in men and some women," Bauman says. If you're male and you take testosterone, it could accelerate the hair loss process.
Hair Loss Comes From The Mother's Side
<strong>FALSE</strong> There are approximately 200 genes that regulate hair and hair growth, Bauman says. "We know today that there are generally some genes from both sides of the family that play a role. Your mother’s father deserves some of the 'blame’ but perhaps not all of it."
Hats Can Cause Baldness
<strong>FALSE</strong> Hats do not cause hair loss in any way or form. Period.
You Can Grow Back Dead Follicles
<strong>FALSE</strong> Medications or laser therapy, for example, can help hair follicles grow thicker and healthier, but once the follicle is dead and gone, the only option for regrowth is a hair transplant.
When it comes to foods that have a beauty punch, it's hard to beat salmon. Loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, this high-quality protein source is also filled with vitamin B-12 and iron.
Dark Green Vegetables
Spinach, like broccoli and Swiss chard, is an excellent source of vitamins A and C, which your body needs to produce sebum. This oily substance, secreted by your hair follicles, is the body's natural hair conditioner.
Legumes like kidney beans and lentils should be an important part of your hair-care diet. Not only do beans provide protein for hair growth, but they also inject ample iron, zinc, and biotin into your locks.
Do you go nuts for thick, shiny hair? You should. Brazil nuts are one of nature's best sources of selenium, an important mineral for the health of your scalp. Walnuts contain alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid that may help condition your hair. They are also a terrific source of zinc, as are cashews, pecans, and almonds. A zinc deficiency can lead to hair shedding, so make sure you eat nuts on the regular.
Chickens and turkeys may have feathers, but the high-quality protein they provide will help give you the healthy hair you crave. Low quality protein deficiences can cause weak brittle hair, while extreme deficiencies can cause a loss of hair colour. Poultry also provides iron with a high degree of bioavailability, meaning your body can easily reap its benefits.
When it comes to healthy hair, it doesn't matter whether you like your eggs scrambled, fried, or over easy. However they're served up, eggs are one of the best protein sources you can find. They contain biotin and vitamin B-12, which are important beauty nutrients.
Sink your teeth into hearty whole grains, including whole-wheat bread and fortified whole-grain breakfast cereals, for a hair-healthy dose of zinc, iron, and B vitamins.
While they are perhaps best known for their reputation as an aphrodisiac, oysters can also lead to healthy hair. The key to their love and hair-boosting abilities is zinc -- a powerful antioxidant. If oysters don't make a regular appearance on your dinner plate, don't despair. In addition to getting it from whole grains and nuts, you can also get zinc from beef and lamb.
Low-Fat Dairy Products
Skim milk and yogurt are great sources of calcium, an important mineral for hair growth. They also contain whey and casein, two high-quality protein sources.
Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A, which promotes a healthy scalp along with good vision.Since a healthy scalp is essential for a shiny, well-conditioned head of hair, you'd be wise to include carrots in your diet as snacks or toppings on your salad.