Hair loss treatment: Procedure to activate cells in hair follicles to increase hair growth
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One in two people will suffer from some form of hair loss with Britons spending a staggering £6billion a year on hair restoration products and treatments. Studies and experts suggest a treatment which could be the most effective one yet in helping to combat hair loss and as such increase hair growth. What is it?
Despite the best efforts of scientists and leading health experts, a definitive cure for baldness remains an elusive dream.
However, recent studies which have emerged late last year suggest that stem cells could be the answer to helping to increase hair growth and possibly cure hair loss.
These so-called ‘master cells’, which exist throughout the body, have the remarkable ability to reproduce almost endlessly and are integral in one’s natural growth and healing processes.
Researchers at UCLA have discovered a way to activate the stem cells in the hair follicle to make hair grow.
The research may lead to new drugs that could promote hair growth for people with baldness or alopecia, which is hair loss associated with such factors as hormonal imbalance, stress, ageing or chemotherapy.
Hair follicle stem cells are long-lived cells in the hair follicle that are present in the skin and produce hair throughout a person’s lifetime.
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A stem cell hair transplant is similar to a traditional hair transplant, however, rather than removing a large number of hairs to transplant to the area of hair loss, a stem cell hair transplant removes a small skin sample from which hair follicles are harvested.
The follicles are then replicated in a lab and implanted back into the scalp in the areas of hair loss.
This allows hair to grow where the follicles were taken from, as well as where they’re transplanted.
“The secret to stem cell hair loss treatment lies in your own natural body fat, which is particularly rich in stem cells,” says plastic surgeon Olivier Amar.
He continued: “These cells have the potential to transform into any kind of tissue but more than this, we now understand that as we age, we lose fat from our scalp and that hair loss and loss of fat cells go hand-in-hand.
“Fat cells are essential ‘food’ for growing hair follicles.
“Restoring a fat and stem cell rich environment to the scalp creates a safe, powerful treatment for triggering growth and restoring lost hair.”
A stem cell hair transplant procedure begins with a punch biopsy to extract stem cells from the person.
The punch biopsy is performed using an instrument with a circular blade that’s rotated into the skin to remove a cylindrical sample of tissue.
The stem cells are then separated from the tissue in a special machine called a centrifuge.
It leaves a cell suspension that’s then injected back into the scalp in the areas of hair loss.
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