Can Balding Be Treated?

Balding, this is one process that can cause panic to set in in any one’s life. ( look at poor Mrs. Simpson.. )

Or Mr. Simpson


Balding takes place when the hair follicles or cells die completely and are not able to produce hair again. This can be very frustrating especially for people who are still very young.

Some people however go bald as a result of alopecia, tissue scarring or sometimes, it can be hereditary. These follicles once dead cannot be regenerated, or can they?


Hair follicles are sheath-like structures located in the skin. At the base of each follicle lies the dermal papilla, the blood-rich structure responsible for hair growth. Cells, called melanocytes and keratinocytes, line the walls of the lower follicle while the hair is actively growing. These cells reproduce and die, resulting in hair growth. Follicles also house sebaceous glands, which produce oil or sebum.

Hair growth occurs in phases of active growth, death and rest called the anagen, catagen and telogen phases. The anagen phase lasts approximately two to six years, during which hair grows 1 centimeter every four weeks. During the catagen phase, follicles undergo a cyclical, temporary death. During the telogen phase, the hair sheds.

During the catagen phase, hair follicles and the cells within them undergo a programmed cell death, according to Hair Biology. During this phase, the follicle regresses and protein and pigment cell production stops. The hair-growing structures die and wither away, and the follicle becomes more superficially rooted within the skin. While some cells are still present at the base of the follicle, synthesis does not occur, according to Hair Biology. The follicle is essentially dead. After a brief period of rest, however, the follicle enters the anagen phase and becomes active or alive once again.

Two factors can cause hair follicles to die permanently and completely: hereditary baldness and scarring. Hereditary baldness affects hair follicles, causing them to shrink and become more superficially rooted in the skin, according to

As the condition progresses, hair growth becomes finer and weaker. Eventually the follicle closes and dies completely, resulting in complete, permanent baldness. Scarring of the skin tissue may also permanently kill hair follicles, preventing further hair growth.

Aside from a few, fleeting empirical observations in the 1950s, adult mammals appear to be lacking regenerative abilities. Just ask anyone whose hair follicles have died—the result is baldness.But there is a glimmer of hope for the hair-challenged among us. Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania report that new hair follicles formed on the backs of mice that had suffered open skin wounds. The finding could pave the way for use in regenerating human hair. In fact, that possibility appears so promising that members of the research team have formed a company to try to develop a product designed to do just that.Researchers originally set out to determine how hair follicle stem cells react when the epidermis (outer layer of the skin) is punctured. Their results, published in this week’s issue of Nature: during the healing process, the injured skin behaves like developing embryonic skin, says senior study author George Cotsarelis, an associate professor of dermatology at Penn. 


This ability for follicle and epidermal stem cells to play unexpected roles in healing suggests that wound sites behave much the same way as skin in the developing fetus. Cutting the skin, researchers found, activates a class of about 20 growth factors in epidermal cells known as Wnt proteins. Although these proteins help maintain the natural cycle of follicle cells, they are not normally produced in adult epidermal cells. By artificially increasing Wnt levels in mice during wounding, the researchers managed to double the number of new follicles that sprouted at the damaged area. Conversely, blocking release of Wnt proteins prevented follicle regeneration.The scientists are optimistic that the finding could lead to a salve or other product to combat human hair loss—and, perhaps, even to regenerate hair where the sun now shines by performing dermabrasion to the bald scalp and slathering ointment on the wounds.



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3 thoughts on “Can Balding Be Treated?

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