The Science Bit – Part 1

With hair loss products forming a £1bn industry in the US alone, it can be hard to access accurate information about the latest hair loss developments as every company seeks to aggressively promote its products as the most effectual, irrespective of substantive data or clinical evidence, and many will even dress themselves up as independent or scientific sources of information so they seem like genuine hair loss help sites when you first visit them.

Because Aspiration is primarily concerned with the latest cosmetic solutions, we can be a bit more independent in discussing the scientific developments, the most exciting-sounding of which are very much still in their infancy by all accounts and not even in post-mouse, clinical trial stage, though some companies claim to have produced creams harnessing the miraculous power of stem-cell therapy, notwithstanding glowing customer testimonials of such products are harder to find, and at least one has been exposed as never having been near a stem cell! Personally I would want to know all about such an ingredient and where it came from (ie was it harvested from other human beings/animals or was it cultivated in a test-tube)? What is the evidence that it works if it costs an exorbitant amount per tiny jar and does the company concerned have the courage of its convictions to offer a full refund if it doesn’t work?

Scientists have long believed that our individual average of 100,000 hair follicles develop in the womb. Therefore when any of them shut down or become damaged in later life for whatever reason, the theory goes, that’s it! Just as our teeth do not re-grow if anything happens to them when we reach adulthood, the same applies to our hair once lost. Which hardly explains all the annoying hairs which suddenly sprout from places a person doesn’t want or expect them to as they grow older, so should scientists be exploring the cause and activation mechanism of these rogue follicles and how to generate new follicular activity in the right places? For now researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, led by Dr. George Cotsarelis, have been inducing regenerated follicles in mice by manipulating a gene called Wnt; normally employed in healing wounds; but apparently able to produce new hair follicles as well, particularly during the process of healing a wound. When the process was manipulated it greatly increased the number of follicles. When the gene was blocked, no follicles were created.

Anyone for a good scalping and an injection of Wnt….?