The Huffington Post recently reported on a new potential cure for hair loss (male pattern baldness) and as far as so called cures go, this one does seem to have some mileage to it.
If you are like the large majority of men to suffer some degree of hair loss, and you are of the more obsessive nature, then after you have checked and checked again your dwindling hair follicles, you’ll have â€˜Googles the vast array of information on the Internet covering everything from cures to treatments, and the sheer volume of products claiming to be â€˜cures can make the mind boggle.
Some of the â€˜supposed cures for male pattern baldness include a wealth of non-proven, through to the downright bizarre potential solutions, from multivitamins, to injecting plasma into the head, applying often expensive lotions, special electronic combs; the list is quite literally endless!
According to The Scientist, US Company Follica claims to have created a solution that creates new follicles in both mice and men, harnessing the key principles of stem cell treatment. As reported by The Huffington Post, Follicas Dr. Williams Ju commented: â€œThis discovery sheds light on a novel mechanism for hair loss in humans. Follica has developed a technology that is uniquely suited to support clinical translation of these findingsâ€. Be careful how you use the word shed amongst us hair loss sufferers Mr. Ju!
So how will Follicas solution work? Well, the top layers of skin will be peeled back, the cells beneath then revert to a stem cell-like state and a topical solution is applied to the area that reboots the cells to start producing hair. Simple, if not a little unnerving perhaps, especially the â€˜peel part. But regardless of how this procedure is carried out, should clinical trials prove positive or not, it will not be available to the average man on the street for a good number of years, leaving most men wondering exactly what can be done to halt or reverse their male patter baldness?
The fact of the matter is, male pattern baldness is caused by one thing alone that can be exacerbated by a number of factors, but the key culprit is Dihydrotestosterone, or DHT, something that huge numbers of men and some women too convert from the hormone, testosterone. So the only real way to slow down hair loss, to halt it, or sometimes regrow hair is to stop DHT from circulating around the blood supply and from subsequently forming around hair follicles, were it acts to shrink them, forcing hair to return smaller and smaller with each growth cycle, until hairs become non visible on the head.
So what helps to block DHT? The only drug proven and approved by the FDA to block DHT in the blood supply and thus hinder its actions on the hair follicle is Finasteride. Launched as brand name Propecia in 1996 as a treatment for hair loss, Finasteride can now be purchased in generic form, most notably as Ciplas Finpecia, which contains the exact same active ingredient as Propecia; finasteride 1mg. Clinical studies have show finasteride to halt hair loss in 42 per cent of men and produce regrowth for 48 per cent.
Regrowing hair can require additional treatment. As hair follicles rely on a good blood supply, returning them to their original state requires stimulation. Most therapists, academics and medical practitioners alike would recommend head massage, but the only proven and approved treatment to actually regrow hair is minoxidil. Launched in the 1980s as Regaine / Rogaine, minoxidil increases cutaneous blood flow in the scalp, enabling hair follicles to acquire all of the nutrition from blood flow required to increase in length and girth. Minoxidil comes in 2, 5, 10 and even 15 per cent versions, with 5 per cent being recommended for the treatment of male pattern baldness. In clinical studies, 30 per cent of males using minoxidil 5 per cent were reported to have experienced significant hair regrowth after one year of usage. Minoxidil is also now available in its generic form, sold as Tugain or similar and containing the same active ingredient in the same volume, but for far less money.
So perhaps until Follica, men should consider these two treatments. With both, the unfortunate reality is that to maintain results, they have to be continued. Within a number of months following discontinuation, hair loss will return the point it would have been if treatment were never adopted. But at least these treatments are available in their generic form and are not very expensive to purchase. So heres to hair. Treat it to medications and it just might stay around long enough to see a cure for male pattern baldness emerge!
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