Scientists Discover a New Way to Promote Hair Growth

Scientists Discover a New Way to Promote Hair Growth

Thinning hair is something many adult Americans deal with on a daily basis. It can be demoralizing and reduce your feelings of self-confidence.

The best solution to date, is to be fitted for some fabulous-looking wigs, or to go the route of having hair implants put in and never look back.

But what if these choices aren’t for you? Researchers from the University of California have discovered yet another route that might work.

In August of 2017, scientists discovered that stem cells in hair follicles can be activated to make your hair grow.

Hair follicle stem cells live a long time and they’re present in your skin as we speak. They work to produce hair throughout a person’s lifetime and they’re normally inactive, but can quickly activate during a new hair cycle, which is when your new hair grows.

Related: 4 Hair Cuts That Make You Look Years Younger

To come up with their findings, researchers pinpointed certain elements generated by the body that drive hair follicle stem cells to grow hair more quickly. Scientifically speaking, they’re called lactate and pyruvate.

Following this, they  looked for drugs that could be applied to skin with the same effect. They identified two that did the trick, at least in mice: RCGD423 and UK5099.

“Before this, no one knew that increasing or decreasing the lactate would have an effect on hair follicle stem cells,” said Lowry, a professor of molecular, cell and developmental biology. “The idea of using drugs to stimulate hair growth through hair follicle stem cells is very promising given how many millions of people, both men and women, deal with hair loss.”

Researchers said they’re hoping the discovery can lead to new drugs.  Promoting hair growth for people suffering from baldness and hair loss associated with factors like a hormonal imbalance, stress, aging or chemotherapy treatment, could benefit many. For the moment, you’ll need that wig. In time, however, there could be another route.

Photo credit: halitomer/Shutterstock

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