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Can hair loss be reversed?
A new, non-invasive, low-cost hair growth stimulation technology could one day put an end to hair loss and balding.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison's recent investigation found that a device worn like a hat on the head could prevent hair loss and baldness. The results of the study were published in the English-language journal "ACS Nano".
Regeneration of lost hair
If people have hair loss or are bald, this is often a problem for affected people. But if it were up to the researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, hair regeneration with a balding head could be as easy as wearing a hat. The new method would be a very practical solution for the regeneration of lost hair.
How does the new technology work?
Based on devices that derive energy from the daily movement of the body, the newly developed hair growth technology stimulates the skin with gentle, low-frequency electrical impulses that move resting follicles to reactivate hair production, the research group explains. Since the devices are driven by the movement of the wearer, they do not need a bulky battery or complicated electronics. In fact, they are so inconspicuous that they can be worn discreetly under a baseball cap or hat, for example.
Who would the new device be for?
The device does not allow the hair follicles in the skin to grow again, instead it reactivates, so to speak, inactive structures that produce the hair. This means that such devices could be used as an intervention for people in the early stages of balding. But you would not help people who have been bald for several years to extreme hair growth.
Dormant follicles were activated by electricity pulses
The newly developed hair growth technology includes small devices, so-called nanogenerators, which passively collect energy from everyday movements and then transmit low-frequency electricity impulses to the skin. This gentle electrical stimulation causes dormant follicles to be activated. Electrical stimulation can support many different bodily functions, but before the current research, there was no really effective solution for low-profile devices that offer gentle but effective stimulation, the researchers report.
No unpleasant side effects
Since the electrical impulses are very gentle and do not penetrate deeper than the outermost layers of the scalp, the devices do not appear to cause any unpleasant side effects. This is a clear advantage over other treatments for hair loss, such as the drug Propecia, which carries risks for sexual dysfunction, depression and anxiety. In trials on mice, the devices stimulated hair growth in hairless mice as effectively as two different active ingredients that are contained in medicines for hair loss. The researchers hope to be able to start testing humans in the near future. (as)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
- Guang Yao, Dawei Jiang, Jun Li, Lei Kang, Sihong Chen et al .: Self-Activated Electrical Stimulation for Effective Hair Regeneration via a Wearable Omnidirectional Pulse Generator, in ACS Nano (query: 23.09.2019), ACS Nano