Could hair loss be optional in the future?

Researchers have made a new discovery that could see hair loss become an optional thing in the future. After carrying out a study on mice, they discovered a structure within the hair follicles that could play a crucial role in hair loss.

Now, they are hoping this new discovery could be the future cure of hair loss, preventing it from occurring in the first place. Here, we’ll look at what the researchers found and whether it could really be possible to opt out of hair loss in the future.

Understanding the study

The new study, carried out by the Icahn School of Medicine in New York, discovered a new mechanism which contributes to hair loss. Specifically, they discovered the dermal sheath, a smooth muscle which surrounds the hair follicles.

The dermal sheath is known to play a key role in the production of dermal papilla cells. These cells are responsible for creating new hair follicles, signalling to nearby stem cells to generate new hair. As the hair follicles grow, the dermal papilla cells travel up the hair shaft. As the follicles move nearer to the end of their life, the dermal papilla cells signal to the stem cells to generate new hair.

The researchers discovered that there is sometimes a problem with communication between the cells. They also found that by blocking the contraction of the dermal sheath, it could help to prevent the existing hair shaft from shedding. While this wouldn’t provide a cure for baldness alone, it does open up the opportunity to use drugs to prevent the contraction of the sheath. This would minimise the amount of hair that is lost.

Additional hair loss research now required

The new discovery into the dermal sheath has now opened up additional hair loss research avenues. The study was carried out on mice, so it would now need to be tested on humans. According to the researchers, the next step is to test human hair follicles in a dish.

If the dish experiments prove a success, the next stage would be to test the long-term safety of the mechanism in human patients. So, there is a lot of additional research which needs to be carried out.

Could hair loss really be optional in future?

Being able to opt out of hair loss would be the ultimate dream for hair loss patients. However, is it really a viable option moving forward?

This new study does prove promising, but patients need to understand there are different types of hair loss which can occur. So, while preventing the dermal sheath from eliminating some hair follicles will minimise some types of hair loss, it may not work for everyone.

In the meantime, patients who are currently experiencing hair loss or hair thinning should seek advice from a specialist. It is imperative to determine the cause of the hair loss prior to treating the condition. Different types of hair loss require a different type of treatment so always book a consultation before attempting to treat the condition.

Dr David Fenton comments on female hair loss for the Guardian

Female hair loss can be particularly devastating as women often associate long, flowing locks with their feminity. High profile women accepting and embracing hair loss can help make it more acceptable and recently US talk show host Ricki Lake went public with her own 30-year battle with hair loss. Lake put down her hair issues down to the intense hairstyling she inflicted on her follicles during the filming of the 1988 film Hairspray.

Leading London hair loss expert and consultant dermatologist, Dr David Fenton explained to the Guardian that female hair loss can occur for a variety of reasons: “The most common reason is a disturbance in the hair cycle,” says David, a spokesman for the British Association of Dermatologists. “More follicles enter the resting phase as a reaction to something that’s happened in your life, whether it’s fever, weight loss, illness, stress or thyroid dysfunction.” This condition is known as telogen effluvium.

“As long as you can identify the reason for telogen effluvium, it usually grows back,” says Fenton. “Occasionally, it will precipitate the female equivalent of genetic hair loss, which will require long-term therapy to prevent you from losing more hair.”

For more advice on female hair loss and treatment, call 020 7580 8356 to arrange a consultation.

New Technique Developed That Could Measure the Success of Hair Loss Treatments

Scientists have come up with a new technique which can potentially be used to measure the success of a hair loss treatment. The new research carried out by the Massachusetts General Hospital is an exciting step in the hair loss field.

It is hoped the new technique could be used to also detect hair loss early, allowing patients to seek treatment as soon as possible. Here, we’ll look at how the new technique works and the potential it has for the hair loss sector.

What is the new technique?

The Massachusetts General Hospital has managed to develop a technology which can measure the health of the hair follicles. This isn’t just useful for future hair loss predictions; it could also be used to test the effectiveness of different hair growth treatments.

A magnetoencephalogram (MEG), is used to measure the electrical activity of the hair follicles. It does this by measuring the magnetic field surrounding the follicles, before creating a visual map which shows the electrical activity.

The scientists managed to develop a MEG helmet and used it on 17 patients, two of which had alopecia and the rest had no signs of hair loss. The helmet didn’t find any signs of electrical activity in patients with alopecia. Those with no signs of hair loss had differing electrical activity readings.

How it could revolutionise the hair loss industry

If this new MEG helmet is eventually released onto the market, it could potentially help to identify new developments within research into hair loss. They could also be used to identify hair loss at a much earlier stage, enabling patients to get the treatment they need quickly. This would slow down the progression of the hair loss and prevent long-term damage of the follicles.

It could also be used to measure the success of different hair loss treatment, leading to developments of new, more effective treatment options. So, it certainly has the potential to revolutionise the industry and provide hope for thousands of hair loss patients.

Larger studies required

While the potential benefits of the new MEG device are exciting, it’s unlikely to be introduced as a mainstream device until larger studies have been carried out. The initial study is very small, so it doesn’t provide an accurate representation of how effectively the device works.

So, we’re unlikely to see the new technique in physician offices for a good few years yet. However, patients can still seek help for their hair loss. There are lots of effective treatments already available to treat numerous types of hair loss. While male pattern baldness is largely genetic and unpreventable, it can still be slowed down with relevant treatments.

If you’re concerned about your hair loss or hair thinning, book a consultation with a hair specialist today. New developments are consistently being made within the hair loss sector. However, in the meantime, there are effective treatments which can be used to cure some types of hair loss and reduce the progression of others.

Too much work and you could go bald, according to new study

A new South Korean study has revealed working long hours could cause you to go bald. It’s already been established that long working hours can contribute to other serious health troubles such as increasing the risk of a stroke. However, this recent study is the only one to reveal the impact too much work can have on the hair.

Here, we’ll look at what the new study revealed and how stress can impact our hair.

Hair loss and stress

The hair loss study, carried out by the Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, looked at data from 13,000 men. The men were aged between 20 and 59 and the study followed them over a four-year period. They were grouped according to how many hours they worked.

It was revealed that the stress brought on through working long hours, can cause the hormones within the scalp to change. This, in turn, saw the hair follicle growth decrease.

Other factors which were assessed included smoking, education, household income and marital status.  The study included Korean men, renowned for working over 40 hours each week.

How does stress link to baldness?

The results of the new study are unsurprising given what we already know about stress and its link to hair loss. When you’re working long hours, you’re going to be a lot more stressed than if you were working 20 or 30 hours a week.

A lot of studies have revealed the impact stress can have on hair loss. Mice studies have shown that stress had a significant impact on the inhibition of hair growth. Additional research has shown that stress can have an effect on the inflammation of hair follicles, as well as lead to cell death.

While the recent study focused on alopecia, stress is also known to trigger other types of hair loss. Women who undergo a traumatic birth for example, often experience more significant hair loss than those who don’t. Telogen effluvium is a type of hair loss triggered by extreme stress which could be the result of hormonal changes or an injury.

If patients are worried that stress may be contributing to their hair loss, they should first seek a diagnosis from a hair expert. There are so many different causes of hair loss and each requires a different treatment approach. So, establishing the actual cause is crucial before you seek help.

While not every job will lead to stress-related hair loss, this new study does show it’s something to be aware of. There are so many different causes of hair loss and different types. Therefore, identifying the cause is key to seeking appropriate treatment and prevention techniques.

Could wearable tech reverse male pattern baldness?

Wearable tech could be used to reverse male pattern baldness in the future thanks to a development made by engineers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The team have developed a low-cost, non-invasive, hair growth stimulating technology.

This technology is placed under a hat and when worn, it stimulates hair growth. So, could the key to reversing male pattern baldness really be as simple as putting on a hat?

How does the new hair loss technology work?

The new device uses low-frequency electric pulses to stimulate the skin. This is said to encourage any dormant follicles to start reproducing hair.

It is powered by movement, so will work as the user goes about their day. This means the devices don’t require any complex electronics or bulky equipment to work, making them much more discreet. They could easily be worn underneath a hat so nobody would know they’re there.

The energy harvesting device was developed by professor Xudong Wang, renowned for his designs and creations within the field. He’s already pioneered a weight loss implant which works using gentle pulses of electricity, alongside an electric bandage which promotes better wound healing.

Will it work on all male hair loss patients?

This new device is certainly an exciting development, but will it work for everyone? The answer is sadly not.

As it is designed to kickstart dormant hair follicles, it’s only going to be effective for those who are in the early stages of male pattern baldness. So, patients who have already lost the majority of their hair won’t see the benefits.

Device causes minimal side effects

One of the best things about this new device is that it doesn’t appear to cause any major side effects. The researchers noted that minimal side effects were witnessed, although they don’t say what these effects were. What has been stated is that the side effects aren’t unpleasant.

The device has so far been tested on hairless mice. It was discovered that it stimulated hair growth just as well as two different hair loss medications. The fact it works just as well yet produces much fewer side effects is a major advantage. This is especially true when you compare it to the common hair loss drug Propecia. The drug is known to have some side effects that you’ll be informed about before deciding to go ahead with treatment.

Initial tests have proven successful in hairless mice. However, the researchers are now looking to progress to human testing. They have already patented the concept and it does seem tangible that they could be released onto the market in the future.

In the meantime, those suffering from the early stages of male pattern baldness can try a number of treatment options. Medications such as Minoxidil do slow down the progression of male pattern baldness. However, these are just temporary treatments and aren’t a good long-term option.

If you’re suffering from male pattern baldness, book a consultation with a hair specialist today. They’ll be able to assess the severity of the condition and determine the best course of treatment.

Dr David Fenton sounds caution at news of world’s first hair bank

News that the world’s first hair bank has opened here in the UK, with the avowed aim to make ‘hair loss a thing of the past’ is certainly exciting but Dr David Fenton’s advice is to approach this new concept with some caution.

It’s thought that over six million men in the UK are suffering from androgenetic alopecia, or male pattern hair loss. This genetic, progressive form of hair loss can be devastating to a man’s self-confidence, so it’s no wonder that so many men are searching for a solution.

The solution to male pattern hair loss?

Now, a Manchester hair loss expert has launched the world’s first ‘hair bank’. Men can pay £2,500 to freeze a sample of their hair. One hundred hairs, including the roots, are removed from the back of the scalp in a quick procedure performed under local anaesthetic. Then, later in life, if they start to see the signs of a rapidly-receding hairline or fast-growing bald patch on the top of the scalp, dermal papillae found in the hair roots can be cloned in the lab from your hair sample and injected back into their scalps. The dermal papillae cells contain the ‘instructions’ the body requires for growing new hair.

The hope is that this will be an effective alternative to hair transplants or medication, without any of the downsides. However, Dr David Fenton, of the British Association of Dermatologists, does sound a note of caution when asked by the Daily Mail to comment on the story: ‘The science is interesting and the research has been slowly progressing for many years,’ he says. ‘But, while it’s exciting from a research point of view, it is not yet a proven, safe and replicable therapy.’

For more advice on anything hair loss, call us on 020 7580 8356.

UK researchers find a way to prevent hair loss from chemo

UK researchers have recently made a major breakthrough into the prevention of hair loss from chemotherapy.

The researchers from the University of Manchester discovered why a cancer drug causes hair loss commonly experienced by chemo patients. They now hope these findings could be used to develop new treatments which could prevent this devastating side effect.

Here, we’ll look at this incredible breakthrough and what it could mean for future cancer patients.

Understanding the research into chemo-related hair loss

It’s been known for some time that the taxanes found in cancer drugs are what cause chemo-related hair loss. However, up until now, it wasn’t understood why. In this new research, the researchers discovered that the stem cells and dividing cells within the base of the hair folliclespix were vulnerable to the effects of taxanes.

The research team tested one of the newer forms of cancer drugs known as CDK4/6 inhibitors. The drugs are designed to block the division of the cells, and they’ve been medically approved as a targeted cancer treatment.

Using organ-cultured human scalp hair follicles, the team used the inhibitors to bathe the follicles. It was then that they discovered the follicles were a lot less susceptible to the damaging effects caused by the chemotherapy drugs.

Why further research is required

This breakthrough has understandably caused excitement in the medical sector. However, it’s important to note that further research will be required before potential treatments can be developed.

The main reason further testing is required is that this research was carried out on organ-cultured follicles. This means the follicles were specifically developed to mimic the characteristics of real human hair follicles. So, the research is currently only in the laboratory stage. Tests will, therefore, need to be carried out on human patients in order to determine the drug’s effectiveness.

Are there any current ways to prevent chemo-related hair loss?

Currently, there is one treatment method which can help to prevent chemo-related hair loss. Cold caps are now used in some hospitals to slow down blood flow to the scalp. This reduces the chemotherapy drug’s ability to reach the scalp, preventing the hair loss it ultimately causes.

These cold caps aren’t widely used, but they are becoming more prominent due to their success. They can be a little uncomfortable for patients to wear, but there have been no side effects reported from using them. At the moment they’re said to have a 50/50 chance of working.

Besides the cooling caps, there are no other existing preventative treatments available. There are medications which can aid in speeding up regrowth after cancer treatment. However, this new research provides hope that a future hair loss preventative medication could be developed.

A lot more research does still need to be carried out to back up these recent findings. So, it’s unlikely we’ll see a treatment being developed anytime soon. However, it’s still an exciting development and it presents hope for future cancer patients who are worried about losing their hair.

Effectiveness of faecal transplants for hair loss

Research is constantly being carried out to identify and develop potential treatments for hair loss. While JAK Inhibitors and topical medications tend to be the main focus, there’s been a few more radical treatments being researched too.

One of the more unusual treatments currently being looked into is faecal transplants. Scientists are looking into whether faecal transplants could treat a number of health conditions, including hair loss.

Here, we’ll delve into faecal transplants for hair loss and the clinical study set to take place to establish its effectiveness.

What is a faecal transplant?

A faecal transplant involves taking faecal matter from a healthy donor, before being infused into the patient. This is thought to be able to balance out the microbiota within the gut. This can then help to treat conditions such as hair loss, irritable bowel syndrome and coeliac disease.

The procedure involves inserting faecal matter from healthy donors, into the colon of patients. Once there, it works on balancing out the bacteria within the gut. Patients have already been treated using the method and it’s surprisingly found to have been effective.

What do we know about the study?

The new, year-long study is set to complete by the year 2024. At the moment, no information has been provided by the Chinese trial on which type of hair loss condition the trial will be looking into. It has simply listed Alopecia as the condition, which could relate to a wide number of types of hair loss.

What we do know, is the trial relates largely to autoimmune disorders. This would suggest that the type of hair loss it’s likely to cover is alopecia areata. This is one of the more severe types of hair loss, particular its alopecia universalis form. Currently, there isn’t a cure for the condition. However, previous studies have shown faecal transplants can be effective for treating hair loss.

The procedure has been used to treat patients who developed a C.Difficile infection. A 39-year old man who had alopecia areata when he was diagnosed with the infection, was treated via a faecal transplant. At his eight-week follow-up, there was patchy regrowth on the scalp, arms and face. The regrowth was still present after three years.

Similarly, a 20-year old man with alopecia areata was also treated with a faecal transplant after developing the infection. After being initially diagnosed with 95%-99% hair loss, thanks to the faecal transplant, his hair started to regrow until he was diagnosed with 25%-49% hair loss. These initial results are certainly promising so it will be interesting to see what the new study finds.

Would faecal transplants prove popular?

Even if faecal transplants did prove to be a viable treatment option for alopecia areata, would people really want the treatment? While the thought of it might not be pleasant, sufferers of alopecia areata go through a lot of emotional trauma. So, if it did prove possible to eliminate the condition, a faecal transplant could be a great option.

The results of this new study are going to take a few years to compile. Therefore, patients who are experiencing hair loss should seek a diagnosis from a specialist. There are numerous treatments available which could prove useful at slowing down or clearing up the condition depending upon its severity.

Use of minoxidil as alopecia areata treatment effective

The autoimmune condition alopecia areata is thought to affect two people in every 1,000 in the UK and there is no known cure – there is also no treatment that works for everyone suffering from alopecia areata.

Some treatments work for some people and one that has been found to produce effective results for many sufferers is the topical hair loss medication Minoxidil. Recently, researchers from the Sao Paulo Universidade Federal carried out a systematic review of the drug to treat the scalp-only type of alopecia areata. This review revealed it can be effective at treating the condition, along with patchy forms of hair loss.

Understanding the review

The Brazilian study analysed 5% Minoxidil, finding that compared to a placebo, it produced effective results for those suffering from alopecia areata. It also showed to have no negative side effects.

Researchers looked into the international medical literature, consisting of alopecia areata interventions and random clinical trials. Not only did the results highlight Minoxidil’s effectiveness at treating patchy hair loss, but it also proved to be safe too.

Is Minoxidil a viable alopecia areata treatment?

Minoxidil is currently one of only two FDA approved hair loss drugs. It’s used to treat temporary forms of hair loss, as well as to slow the onset of male and female pattern baldness.

Currently, the most common alopecia areata treatment is intralesional corticosteroid injections which are injected into the patches of hair loss and work by suppressing the immune system. If it promotes hair regrowth, then the results are usually visible within a short period of time and there are few potential side effects.

As with all treatments, though, corticosteroid injections are not a cure and cannot prevent further hair loss occurring in the future. Often, they are combined with topical minoxidil for optimal results as most patients that use minoxidil as a standalone treatment may have to wait many months to see any positive outcome.

Minoxidil and corticosteroid injections are also less effective at treating more extensive forms of alopecia areata and there are limited treatment options available for those sufferers. In the US, the FDA is throwing its weight behind finding a safe but effective alopecia areata treatment by granting Fast Track Designation to pharmaceutical companies developing JAK inhibitors as a potential treatment for alopecia. Fast track designation means an expedited review of a drug that can treat a ‘serious or life-threatening condition’.

New Survey Reveals Extent of Hair Loss During the Menopause

Women have a lot of unpleasant side effects to deal with during the menopause. However, one of the most devastating to deal with can be menopausal hair loss, or thinning, which occurs both in the leadup and in the aftermath of this natural change.

Now, a new survey has revealed just how significant hair loss after the menopause can be. According to the survey, over half of women aged 45-56 have experienced some degree of hair thinning or loss.

Here, we’ll explore how the menopause affects hair loss and the treatment options available if it does occur.

The link between the menopause and hair loss

The menopause can have a significant impact on your scalp and hair. As well as being known to trigger hair loss and thinning, the hair can also become dull and dry as women experience the change.

There are a lot of potential reasons the menopause can impact hair loss, but one of the biggest culprits is thought to be hormone related. As you enter the menopause, your female hormone levels begin to decline. This actually starts to occur a few years before the menopause occurs. This means the male hormones within the body can begin to take over. The altering hormone levels can cause the hair to thin and start to fall out.

However, it’s important to note that the menopause rarely causes complete or significant hair loss. It may cause a noticeable patch or a widening of the parting, but you won’t experience the same level of hair loss as males do as they get older.

While hormones do tend to be the biggest cause, there are other factors which can contribute too. These include stress, medications and nutritional deficiencies.

Understanding the new study into menopausal hair loss

The study carried out this June involved surveying a total of 645 American women who were aged from 45 to 56. The results revealed that 59% of the women surveyed had experienced mild to severe hair loss or thinning over the course of the past 12 months.

The results of the survey match previous studies carried out into the menopause and its link to hair loss. This most recent survey simply highlights the prevalence of the problem.

What treatments are available?

If you are one of the unlucky women to experience menopausal hair loss or thinning, there are some treatments you can try. GPs often prescribe medication such as Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). This can reduce the likelihood of hair thinning. However, it also comes with more serious potential side effects, so the pros and cons of this medication need to be weighed up before deciding if it’s right for you.

Other treatment options available include Minoxidil, which is the only FDA approved topical medication for female hair loss. It’s important to seek a consultation with a dermatologist before deciding which treatment is the best option for you as they can rule out any other underlying conditions.

The menopause is difficult to deal with without the added stress and embarrassment of hair loss and thinning. So, if you’re concerned the menopause is affecting your hair, book a consultation with a hair specialist today.