Androgenetic alopecia, or more commonly known as female-pattern or male-pattern baldness, affects approximately 80 million people in the United States: 50 million men and 30 million women. Though more frequent in men, it also affects women.
While it seems to be a common problem, it isn’t something that someone wants to have. If you suffer from hair loss, you are probably wondering why you are losing your hair and how you can get it back. Is it possible?
Hair loss can be caused by genetics, like in androgenetic alopecia, or it can be caused by other factors such as stress or illness.
Keep reading to learn the answer to this hair-raising question: Can stem cells regrow hair? We may have the answers you’ve been searching for.
The Science Behind Hair Growth
TV commercials and infomercials are constantly advertising the new and improved formula for regrowing hair. Usually, these commercials are targeting men who have male-patterned baldness.
Products like Rogaine and Propecia have been around for years, promising to bring back your hair to the full extent that it once was.
Unfortunately, it isn’t as simple as rubbing a magic potion onto your scalp and making a wish to a magic genie. The ointment needs to have stem cell activating abilities to make sure that your hair follicles are doing their job.
This is where stem cell research comes into play.
In order for the hair to grow, the hair follicle needs to be healthy and nourished. If you don’t take care of your hair, it may lead to losing it before genetics has a chance to take over.
Live a Healthy Lifestyle
Living a healthy lifestyle can promote hair growth. Staying hydrated (you and your hair), eating a balanced diet of greens and meats, and taking vitamins (if you don’t get enough nutrients) can all help you grow your hair.
Look for supplements that are loaded with vitamins, such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin B for hair care.
Keep up With Your Hair Maintenance
Keeping up with your hair maintenance is extremely important. Make sure you are using the right shampoo and conditioner combination for your hair type.
Use the right products and tools on your hair.
Get a routine trim to get rid of any split ends that you might have.
Give your scalp a routine massage to encourage your hair follicles to keep accomplishing your hair goals.
Protect Your Hair From the Elements
Protect your hair from the environment and other harsh elements. Sun exposure to your hair is unhealthy. Don’t use heat when it’s feasible. When you have to use heat, use a heat shield. Choose products that are free of toxic ingredients.
Half of the cell grows outward when the body signals a need for hair growth. This forms into a strand of hair that grows out of the scalp. The other half stays behind so that the hair follicle retains the regenerative ability.
Getting your hair to grow is simple until your hair follicles stop striving.
Why Hair Loss Happens
These hair stem cells, called dermal papillae, have a certain life expectancy, and when that time runs out, hair follicles break down and stop producing new hair.
The follicles shrink to the point where hair no longer grows out of them. This results in hair loss and baldness.
When it’s caused by androgenetic alopecia, hair loss happens in stages for both men and women.
In men, it’s with a receding hairline starting in the front of the head then moving upwards. The crown usually thins out and balds next, and the overall thinning of the hair occurs. Men might lose all of their hair eventually.
In women, hair takes longer to grow and becomes more brittle. The hair begins to thin at the top of the scalp following the parting of the hair, and hair might begin to recede around the temple and ears. Women aren’t as likely as men to lose all of their hair, even as they get older.
How Hair Loss Affects an Individual’s Psyche
While losing hair isn’t a life-threatening health issue, it can be damaging to your self-esteem and body image. Even though hair loss might be a common thing, it can still affect the way you might feel about yourself.
It can affect your mental and emotional health. Your quality of life may be hindered when it comes to having your hair fall out.
If your hair is no longer growing on its own, you don’t need to worry.
Progress is being made every day when it comes to regrowing hair from stem cells. From injections to topical solutions, there will come a day when baldness will be curable.
Before you jump into trying anything and everything, make sure the products are FDA-approved and that they do not have negative side effects that might further affect your life.
There are a lot of treatments out there that claim to have amazing results, but if they haven’t been testing, they might be harmful to your body.
So how do you get your hair back without harming your body? Let’s take a look at stem cell therapy and how it might be able to help regrow hair.
Can Stem Cells Regrow Hair?
Stem cells are cells in the body that have the ability to clone themselves and become other cell types when needed. They have been proven to aid in hair regeneration when an individual begins to suffer from hair loss.
The cells that you need to regrow hair can be derived from your own stem cells. These cells can be pulled from your skin and blood or even your own existing hair follicles to regrow hair where baldness is an issue.
Hair Implantation in Hairless Mice
In 2019, Alexey Terskikh, Ph.D. from Stanford Burnham Prebys, went back to improve a previous study where he had success implanting hair in hairless mice using stem cells. While the process in 2015 was successful, it had flaws that prevented it from being a viable option for real-world use.
They now have a new protocol in place that helped overcome some of the shortcomings that they were facing in previous studies.
The First Mechanical Isolation of Stem Cells From Human Hair Follicles
Pietro Gentile and his peers found a 29% increase in hair density in the area that was treated for hair loss in their study of 11 patients. They used human follicle stem cells that were isolated, extracted, and then implanted them back into a balding scalp.
Since these studies took place in 2019, there has been some progress made in the hair regeneration field.
Replicel’s Treatment for Hair Loss
In March 2020, a company by the name of Replicel published data on treatment for both male- and female-pattern baldness. This treatment consisted of a series of low-dose injections into the area of the scalp affected by androgenetic alopecia.
This process used dermal sheath cup cells in the dermal injections of cell therapy to act as a guide for the implanted stem cells to grow hair. These cells are extracted from the hair follicles that remain unaffected by the hair loss condition and are then injected into the affected area on the scalp.
Human Clinical Trials for Regrowing Hair From Stem Cells
A human clinical trial took place recently, the results were gathered and published in May of 2020. A topical solution that was made up of adipose-derived stem cell constituent extract (ADSC-CE) was used in the study.
The results of the trial showed an average increase of 28.1% in hair density and a 14.2% increase in hair thickness after 16 weeks of applying the topical solution.
With the use of stem cells to regrow hair, the cells are implanted and continue to grow hair after the initial dermal injection.
The patients don’t have to worry about going back to get new injections every time they get a hair cut, which would be rather pricey. They are ready to create new hair when the body gives the signal.
Future research and further testing are in store for these scientists, but soon we will have more answers and a more solid treatment plan involving stem cells for hair regrowth.
Say Goodbye to Baldness
Your question has been answered. Can stem cells regrow hair? The research looks promising. It may be a while before they can test some of their theories in humans beyond the recent clinical trial with the topical solution.
While you wait for your time to try these new methods, make sure you are taking care of yourself so that you are a healthy vessel for the new hair that you are waiting for.
If you found this post helpful, check out our other posts on stem cells, and how they are being used to help people.