Skin Moles and Hair Growth: A Potential Breakthrough in Treating Baldness
The study on skin moles and their role in hair growth opens up exciting possibilities for people with hair loss.
Researched, written by Amber & The Team
Updated on July 9, 2023
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Hair loss, or baldness, is a common concern for many individuals worldwide.
While existing treatments provide some relief, they often fall short of providing a comprehensive solution.
However, a recent study published in the journal Nature suggests that skin moles, particularly those that grow hair, may hold the key to addressing hair loss.
The study conducted by researchers at the University of California, Irvine, explores the potential of certain molecules found in moles to stimulate hair growth.
Although human testing is yet to begin, these findings offer hope for the development of innovative treatments for baldness.
Understanding Hair Loss and Hair Growth
In order to comprehend the significance of the study, it is essential to grasp the basics of hair loss and hair growth.
Hair loss, medically known as alopecia or androgenic alopecia, occurs when the stem cells within hair follicles remain dormant, preventing the growth of new hair.
Individuals typically shed 50 to 100 hairs per day, but the dormant state of stem cells hinders the regeneration process.
Exploring the Role of Moles in Hair Growth
Researchers at the University of California, Irvine focused their attention on skin moles, which exhibit robust hair growth.
By studying these moles, they aimed to unravel the molecular mechanisms responsible for their unique hair-producing capabilities.
The team discovered that moles contain specific molecules, such as osteopontin, which have the potential to activate dormant hair follicle stem cells.
Key Findings of the Study
To validate their findings, the researchers conducted experiments involving mice.
They grafted human skin samples onto the mice and administered three injections of osteopontin, spaced one day apart.
The results were remarkable, with the mice growing new hairs approximately 1 centimeter long within a short period of time.
In contrast, injecting a neutral protein at a different site on the skin did not stimulate hair growth, affirming the role of osteopontin in promoting hair regeneration.
Human Applications and Future Prospects
The study’s lead author, Maksim Plikus, envisions the translation of these findings into a clinical setting.
He proposes an outpatient procedure, similar to a cosmetic procedure like Botox, where the osteopontin molecule could be injected or administered via microneedling.
The aim is to awaken dormant hair follicles, allowing them to grow naturally and restore the thickness, length, and texture of the person’s pre-existing hair.
Progress Towards Clinical Trials
Plikus, also the co-founder of Amplifica, a biotech company, is actively pursuing the development of this potential treatment.
Amplifica has been licensing the research and plans to initiate its first human trial in the near future to assess the safety of a compound delivering osteopontin through scalp injections.
The company also intends to conduct subsequent trials to evaluate the safety of a synthetic version of osteopontin.
The scope of the trials will encompass both men and women.
Comparing Existing Hair Loss Treatments
The current treatments for hair loss, such as Propecia and Rogaine, have limitations in terms of efficacy and side effects.
Propecia, a prescription pill, is not approved for use in women, while Rogaine, a topical solution, can cause skin irritation and unwanted facial hair.
These treatments fail to provide a complete solution to hair loss and often have associated risks and drawbacks.
The best long-term solution to address hair loss that we have right now seems to be hair transplants.
Why Are Hair Transplants The Best Solution For Hair Loss?
Hair transplants are considered one of the best long-term solutions for hair loss due to several reasons.
Let’s take a look at them.
1. Permanent Results
Hair transplants provide a permanent solution to hair loss.
During the procedure, healthy hair follicles are harvested from donor areas (typically the back or sides of the head) and transplanted to areas experiencing hair loss.
These transplanted follicles are resistant to the hormone responsible for hair loss, ensuring that the new hair continues to grow even after the procedure.
2. Natural-Looking Results
Modern hair transplant techniques, such as Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) and Precise Follicle Placement (PFP), enable the transplantation of individual hair follicles, mimicking the natural growth pattern and direction of the patient’s hair.
This ensures that the transplanted hair blends seamlessly with the existing hair, resulting in a natural-looking and undetectable outcome.
3. Minimal Maintenance
Once the transplanted hair follicles have successfully taken root, they behave like the patient’s natural hair.
They can be washed, styled, and treated just like the rest of the hair.
There is no need for special maintenance or extensive care, making hair transplants a convenient and hassle-free solution in the long term.
4. Improved Self-Confidence
Hair loss can significantly impact an individual’s self-esteem and confidence.
Hair transplants provide a substantial improvement in one’s appearance, leading to a boost in self-confidence and overall well-being.
The restored hairline and fuller head of hair can positively influence social interactions and personal satisfaction.
5. Cost-Effective in the Long Run
While hair transplants may require a significant upfront investment, they can be cost-effective in the long run.
Unlike temporary solutions like medications or topical treatments, which require continuous usage and ongoing expenses, hair transplants offer a permanent solution, eliminating the need for long-term expenditures on hair loss treatments.
It’s important to note that the success of a hair transplant depends on various factors, including the expertise of the surgeon, the quality and availability of the donor’s hair, and the patient’s individual characteristics.
Consulting with a qualified hair transplant specialist can provide personalized advice and guidance regarding the suitability of a hair transplant as a long-term solution for hair loss.
Looking Ahead To The Future of Hair Loss Treatment
The potential breakthrough represented by the mole-derived molecular injection provides hope for individuals experiencing hair loss.
While it may not be effective for all types of hair loss, such as those resulting from medical conditions like thyroid disorders, this treatment could benefit many patients with balding or thinning hair.
With the demand for effective hair loss treatments on the rise, further research and clinical trials will pave the way for innovative solutions to address this widespread concern.
While human trials are yet to begin, study findings suggest that injections of molecules derived from moles, such as osteopontin, could reactivate dormant hair follicles and promote the natural regrowth of hair.
As the research progresses and clinical trials commence, individuals suffering from hair loss may soon have access to innovative treatments that can restore their hair and confidence.