Researchers from Yokohama National University in Japan have successfully grown hair follicles in lab-based cultures to understand the process of hair growth. These in-vitro studies could be very beneficial for replacement growth in conditions causing hair loss, such as alopecia and male pattern baldness. In comparison to current hair growth remedies like keratin and Rogaine, the results would be applicable to both men and women and would be seen considerably sooner.
The method used by the researchers, which involved growing skin organoids in a Petri dish, resulted in the production of fully formed follicles.
According to university researcher Dr. Tatsuto Kageyama, “Organoids were a promising method to clarify the mechanisms in hair follicle formation in vitro.”
The team was successful in growing hair shafts with almost 100% efficiency using two different kinds of embryonic cells. After only 23 days, the organoids generated three mm long fully mature follicles. The researchers fine-tuned their procedure as they went along by keeping an eye on the follicles’ development and color. For instance, they found that increasing the natural pigment melanin with a drug enhanced the color.
Kageyama, the lead author of a study that was published in the journal Science Advances, said that the model “could prove valuable for better understanding of hair follicle induction, for evaluating hair pigmentation and hair growth drugs, and for regenerating hair follicles.”
The group is working to improve the organoid culture system right now using human cells.
Results can take up to four months to appear (far longer than 23 days), and people frequently complain that not all of their lost hair grows back.
Even if Rogaine is a successful product, there are several reasons not to use it. If you are “pregnant or nursing; your hair loss comes on suddenly and falls out in patches; you’re under the age of 18; you notice unexplained hair loss; you experience hair loss after giving birth; your scalp is discolored, itchy, infected, or painful to the touch; your hair loss is caused by hair products, chemicals, or hair grooming methods;” or if you notice unexplained hair loss after giving birth, you should avoid using the product, the FDA advise.