Hair loss, or alopecia, is a concern for more than just middle-aged men. But scientists are no longer scratching their heads, wondering why people with a rare balding condition lose their hair follicles. In fact, they’ve come up with a way of reversing this form of hair loss altogether.
A new study, from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and published by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) Journal in April, reveals why people with the rare balding condition, “atrichia with papular lesions,” lose their hair.
For the first time ever, researchers have concluded that a so-called “human hairless gene” plays a crucial role. What’s more, this newly discovered molecule has been shown to work as a tumor suppressor in the skin, which could eventually help in the treatment of skin disorders and even some cancers. Rare forms of hair loss, too.
On average, the human scalp has roughly 100,000 to 150,000 hair follicles. The normal hair lifecycle lasts for two to three years. At any time, about 90 percent of the hair on your scalp grows while about 10 percent of your hair rests. After two to three months, the resting hair is lost and new hair starts to grow in its place. But there are different kinds of hair loss. They include natural hair loss or involuntary alopecia; temporary hair loss, often referred to as telogen effluvium; male or female pattern baldness, also known as androgenic alopecia; and patchy hair loss – what’s known as alopecia areata.
Even if your genes largely determine whether or not you’ll go bald, your genes don’t get the last word exactly. Although you may want to stay away from snake oils and spray-on bald spot solutions, you should consider proven treatments for hair loss, which include medications and lotions – not to mention hair replacements and restoration. Improving your diet and using natural supplements can also go a long way.
In the meantime, take comfort in the fact that scientists are busy getting to the root of hair loss, controlling one of the switches responsible of hair growth overall.