Hair loss: Scientists find potential treatment for baldness – single chemical may be key

Hair loss most likely to occur in September – expert explains why

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A group of scientists from the University of California say just one chemical is key to controlling hair loss.

Known as TGF-beta, it controls the process of how cells divide in hair follicles.

Co-author of the study Qixuan Wang said: “TGF-beta has two opposite roles. It helps activate some hair follicle cells to produce new life, and later, it helps orchestrate apoptosis, the process of cell death.”

While TGF-beta can help create new hair follicles, in too high a quantity it kills them off.

As to why hair follicles end up killing themselves, the scientists aren’t sure why.

One abounding theory is it is to do with an archaic mechanism linked to animals shedding their fur in hot weather.

Wang added: “Even when a hair follicle kills itself, it never kills its stem cell reservoir.

“When the surviving stem cells receive the signal to regenerate, they divide, make new cell and develop into a new follicle.”

What’s the next step?

The researchers say if they can identify why TGF-beta caused the death of hair follicles they can work out a way to treat, or even cure, hair loss.

Wang said their work “could offer something to help people suffering from a variety of problems”.

In the meantime, there are several treatments already available to help patients suffering from hair loss.

Examples of hair loss treatments include:
• Wigs
• Steroid injection
• Steroid creams
• Immunotherapy
• Light treatment
• Tattooing
• Hair transplant
• Scalp reduction surgery
• Artificial hair transplant.

As well as physical treatments, the NHS say emotional help is also at had.

They add: “If your hair loss is causing you distress, your GP may be able to help you get some counselling.”

Joining a group of peers going through the same process can help through a distressing time.

Furthermore, talking about said issues can help relieve the psychological burden and improve overall wellbeing.

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