According to the NHS, baldness affects approximately half of men in the UK by the age of 50.
But a new breakthrough could mean a potential ‘cure’ for baldness.
Leading South-Korean scientists have developed a biochemical substance which encourages new hair follicle growth.
A team of researchers led by Yonsei University’s professor Choi Kang-Yell discovered a protein called ‘CXXC-type zinc finger protein 5’ which binds to Dishevelled protein.
The scientists understand that this binding process interrupts the development and regeneration of hair follicles.
In response to this extraordindary finding, the team developed a biochemical substance known as ‘PTD-DBM’ which prevents the binding process. And when the team trialled the process on laboratory mice over a 28-day period, they discovered impressive hair follicle growth.
Professor Kang-Yell Choi said: “We have found a protein that controls the hair growth and developed a new substance that promotes hair regeneration by controlling the function of the protein.”
He continued, “We expect that the newly developed substance will contribute to the development of a drug that not only treats hair loss but also regenerate damaged skin tissues.”
Could this spell the end of expensive hair loss treatment?
We asked Dr Thomy Kouremada-Zioga, Hair Loss Specialist and Transplant Surgeon at The Private Clinic of Harley Street, for the lowdown on everything from preventing hair loss to the options available for those wishing to reverse the affects of balding.
How do you think hair loss can affect men’s confidence?
“Both psychological and emotional distress is quite common, especially in young men. You find that people suffering from hair loss are concerned about how people will perceive them.
Roughly 70% of the men I treat who suffer with hair loss say it can make them feel depressed. They often feel they look older and less attractive and some men I have treated blame their lack of a girlfriend on hair loss.”
What options are out there for men suffering from hair loss?
“The bad news when it comes to hair loss is that it is hereditary. If your father or grandfather (in fact hair loss follows seven generations) is thin on top, then the chances are you will be too. Equally, if they started to bald early, then you may also find yourself on the path to premature hair loss.
However, there have been great advancements in treatments for hair loss in recent years. I perform an advanced form of the Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) transplant procedure, called the micro FUE, at The Private Clinic of Harley Street. It involves taking individual hairs by the use of tiny instruments from the back of the head (donor area) and inserting these hairs one by one into the treatment area. Unlike previous transplant methods, which involved cutting whole strips of hair away at a time, FUE takes the hair follicle by follicle to insert one by one. This makes for a much more natural result, with a quicker recovery time.”
Do you have any tips on how men can keep their hair healthy?
Avoid traumatising your hair with heat. Turn the shower down and wash hair in warm water rather than very hot, and let your hair dry naturally if possible. If you must blow dry, use cool air and towel dry first. Also, try and reduce the amount you use heated styling tools like straighteners.
Hair is made up of keratin therefore a diet rich in protein may help.
Keep hair clean. Washing at least once a day will help avoid a build-up of sweat or dirt which can block pores and hair follicles.
Try not to scratch your scalp with finger nails as this can damage the scalp.
Use a conditioner daily when you have dry hair. Conditioner makes your hair softer and helps prevent breakage. Make sure the conditioner is applied to the hair shafts, not the roots, and is rinsed out thoroughly.
Only apply gel to the hair shafts to avoid clogging up the pores and follicles on the scalp.
Wear sun screen or a hat if out in strong sunlight.
Medical conditions like anaemia and thyroid abnormalities can cause hair loss. If you are worried, then it is a good idea to see a doctor to rule these conditions out.
A scalp massage can help by increasing the blood supply to your scalp which in turn can help encourage hair growth.
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