Archive for the ‘HAIR & NAILS’ Category

Stem cell-based treatment for baldness a step closer

Friday, October 31st, 2014


hair-follicle restore for bald people  images (2)

As one of the follically-challenged, any new breakthroughs in the area of hair regeneration will generally get my attention. When stem cells first started to gain widespread media attention I, no doubt like many others, thought a full head of hair was just around the corner. But despite numerous developments, years later my dome is still of the chrome variety. Providing the latest cause for cautious optimism, researchers have now developed a way to generate a large number number of hair-follicle-generating stem cells from adult cells.

In what they claim is a world first, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) and the New Jersey Institute of Technology have developed a technique to convert adult human stem cells into epithelial stem cells (EpSCs).

By adding three genes to human skin cells called dermal fibroblasts that live in the dermis layer of the skin and generate connective tissue, a team led by Xiaowei “George” Xu, MD, PhD, at the Perelman School of Medicine was able to convert them into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). The iPSCs, which have the ability to differentiate into any cell type, were then converted into epithelial stem cells (EpSCs) that are normally found at the bulge of hair follicles.

Through careful control of the timing of delivery of growth factors to the cells, the researchers say they were able to turn over 25 percent of the iPSCs into EpSCs in 18 days. When they then mixed these EpSCs with mouse follicular inductive dermal cells and grafted them onto the skin of immunodeficient mice, functional human epidermis and follicles similar to hair follicles were produced.

hair-follicle restore for bald people  images

“This is the first time anyone has made scalable amounts of epithelial stem cells that are capable of generating the epithelial component of hair follicles,” said Xu, who added that these cells have many potential applications, including wound healing, cosmetics, and hair regeneration.

But some hurdles still need to be jumped before I make my first trip to the hairdresser in a decade. Xu points out that when a person loses hair, they lose not only epithelial cells, but also a kind of adult stem cell called dermal papillae. “We have solved one major problem, the epithelial component of the hair follicle. We need to figure out a way to also make new dermal papillae cells, and no one has figured that part out yet.”

On a positive note, researchers from the Tokyo University of Science have reported promising results in reconstructing hair follicle germs from adult epithelial stem cells and cultured dermal papilla cells, so even though we haven’t rounded the corner yet,it definitely seems to be getting closer.

The teams research is published in the journal Nature Communications.

Source: University of Pennsylvania

Henry Sapiecha


Thursday, April 28th, 2011

The bald truth is not so bad

Richard Gray

April 26, 2011

Medical science is now offering men ways of keeping their hair for longer – and perhaps even avoid going bald at all.

It is a moment men dread: the barber asks if they want a haircut to help disguise their bald spot. For many men the fact they are thinning on top at all will come as a shock.

They may have been aware of a gently growing expanse of forehead as their hairline recedes, but it is rather difficult to see on top of one’s head. And even if they had an honest spouse to forewarn them, few choose to believe it until confronted by their naked crown in a barber’s mirror.

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It was like that for me. It was not until the age of 26, when I was asked by my barber if I used many styling products, that I realised how visible my scalp was from above. The rate at which my hair vanished after that was alarming, and I now consider myself firmly among the follicularly challenged members of society.

I should have guessed it was going to happen – my grandfather was bald by his mid-twenties, and baldness has a strong hereditary element. Yet medical science is now offering men ways of keeping their hair for longer – and perhaps even avoid going bald at all.

The actor James Nesbitt, 46, recently showed off how effective the procedure can be after two transplants. “I would go as far as to say it has changed my life,” said Nesbitt who, after the surgery, has landed several high-profile roles, including a part in a film of Tolkien’s The Hobbit.

“Several years ago, I began losing my hair and, like a lot of men, it was a major concern to me. In fact, it was practically an obsession. But also I’m an actor and in the public eye a lot and I really felt that my hair loss could affect my career prospects.”

Others admitting to transplants include former England cricketer Graham Gooch and former England rugby scrum half Kyran Bracken. Mel Gibson and Nicolas Cage have also been the subject of speculation, but have never commented.

The results are a far cry from the early attempts by Elton John to replace his hair with transplants, and the Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi.

“Hair transplants are very good now,” said Barry Stevens, general secretary of The Trichological Society, the professional body of hair scientists. “When it started we were taking tufts of hair and it produced an effect a bit like a brush or a doll’s head. We can now do transplants where single or double hairs are individually transplanted. There isn’t anything out there that is as good.”

The most common form of baldness is androgenic alopecia, or male-pattern baldness, which is thought to have a strong genetic component. This type of hair loss typically begins above the temples and causes hair to thin on the crown. The human head has on average 1,000 hairs per square inch. People lose around 100 hairs per day due to normal hair cycling, but with alopecia this can be far higher.

Research has shown that a hormone, dihydrotestosterone, is involved in androgenic alopecia, but the exact mechanism is unclear. It is thought that a genetic sensitivity to this hormone causes follicles to shrink, reducing their ability to produce hair normally. Still, the picture is complex as the hormone is also responsible for hair growth in other parts of the body.

A quarter of men begin balding in their twenties and two thirds have started going bald by 60. So with the majority of men suffering baldness before retirement age, why is it such a big issue?

“Hair symbolises youth and health,” explains Lucy Beresford, a psychotherapist who specialises in cosmetic appearance. “If you have a good, healthy head of hair it is a shorthand way of your body saying that you have good genes. So going bald can really impact on people’s sense of self, as it makes them realise they are not the young person they think they are. It reminds them of their own mortality.”

Some men choose to embrace baldness, shaving thinning hair so they appear balder. It can bring good results – the actor Patrick Stewart, who has been bald since he was 19, is frequently named the sexiest man on television. Yet some men will go to any length to disguise their naked scalps with wigs, or comb-overs.

But now with new technology and surgical techniques, balding men have the option of hair transplants. This involves cutting out tiny patches of skin that contain the hair follicles from which the hair shaft grows. These grafts are taken from the back of the head where there is still hair under general anaesthetic, with up to 50 grafts, each containing between one and four hairs, being placed in a square centimetre of bald scalp. In one operation surgeons might make more than 4,000 grafts, which is why a procedure can cost up to pounds 14,000.

Immediately after an operation, patients are urged not to touch the transplant in case they damage the grafts – even pulling a T-shirt over the head is discouraged – and must sleep in an upright position for three nights. Patients often also take hair growth drugs, but if the surgery is successful, the transplanted hair should last for the rest of the patient’s life – although they will continue to lose their other hair as they age.

Transplants, however, do not work for everyone. If there is insufficient hair left at the back of the head, then it is impossible to transplant enough to restore the bald areas. In New York, scientists have been attempting to use beard hair as a source, while other approaches have attempted to use regenerative therapy techniques to “clone” the patient’s hair cells.

One such approach was taken to a phase two clinical trial by Dr Bessam Farjo, from the Farjo Medical Centre in London. By extracting dermal papilla cells from patients’ heads, Dr Farjo was then able to multiply the cells before injecting them back into scalps. This was thought to stimulate the formation of new follicles and rejuvenate those that had stopped producing hair. Two thirds of patients saw hair growth after the treatment. A similar technique is being developed in Italy, with attempts to grow cultures of follicle cells that can then be injected into the scalp.

There are only two drugs licensed to treat genetic hair loss – minoxidil and finasteride. Finastaeride blocks the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone. Minoxidil was developed to treat high blood pressure but was found to cause increased hair growth. It is not fully understood how it works, but is thought to increase the flow of potassium molecules in follicles.

Until recently these drugs were only available on prescription, but there have also been a recent spate of over-the-counter products. One foam-based one, Regaine, which contains minoxidil, is sold in supermarkets.

Meanwhile, L’Oreal’s luxury Redken brand has launched a spray-on treatment, Intra Force, containing aminexil, which is thought to prevent the build-up of collagen around follicles. “During the hair cycle the follicle has to be rebuilt from stem cells,” explains Dr Bruno Bernard, director of research for life sciences at L’Oreal. “Stem cells in human hair follicles are localised in two different reservoirs – one is in the upper part of the follicle and the other in the lower part.

“The cells in the lower part are required to activate the cells in the upper part and so help to maintain the follicle function. The thickening of collagen in the connective tissue sheath, which sits around the base of the hair follicle, prevents the movement of stem cells from the lower reservoir to the upper reservoir. Bit by bit, the follicle is squeezed and causes the follicles to grow smaller and smaller.” Indeed, research from The Rockefeller University in New York suggests movement between the two groups of stem cells is crucial in normal hair growth.

Another recent study, at the University of Pennsylvania, has shown that bald areas of scalp contain the same number of stem cells as hairy areas. It disproved theories that hair loss in androgenic alopecia was due to a loss of follicle stem cells suggesting that they have just become inactive.

This has raised hopes that it may be possible to regenerate follicles by reactivating these stem cells. “There may be a lack of an activator or the presence of an inhibitor,” says Dr George Cotsarelis, chairman of the department of dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania. “We are looking to tackle this mostly by activating genetic pathways we think are important either through transgenic approaches or pharmacologically. It’s reasonable to believe that a therapy based on manipulating stem cells will eventually be available.”

Inspired by these advances, I decided to reverse my own follicle decline by trying Redken’s 30-day treatment. One week in, I have yet to see less skin shining through my closely cropped hair. However, I do like the way it makes my scalp tingle.

The Sunday Telegraph

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Monday, March 14th, 2011

Head Lice –

Louse Home Remedies   –

Suggested remedies for Head Lice

Drown the  lice by covering your skin in olive oil for several hours.

Head Lice Remedies

For head lice problems rinse your hair with vinegar. Vinegar  helps in killing all the lice nits in a matter of days.

Coconut oil for massaging hair scalp after helps.

For head lice use Listerine (original flavor): Another remedy for treating head lice is rubbing listerine mouth wash on your head. This will kill all the lice.

Massage your head with mayonnaise and comb it after 2 hours. This will kill all the lice and their eggs. Apply a mixture of lemon and butter on your head, wait for 15 seconds and then rinse your head.

An anti-lice oil can be mixed with coconut (or mustard) oil and 0.2 per cent lindane (BHC) or 0.1 per cent pyrethrum essence. This oil can be rubbed well into the scalp to kill lice. (Ingredients can be purchased from a chemical dealer).

Mix talcum powder with 0.2 per cent prethrum dust in it (or add 10 per cent DDT). Sprinkle this powder on the hair before going to bed and rub it vigorously so that it reaches the roots. Cover your mouth, nose and eyes to protect them from the powder.

Anti-louse lotion, either gammabenzene hexachloride lotion or cream (Lorexane, Gammaexane) or Malathion (Prioderma) will kill the eggs which can be removed by a comb with very fine teeth. One treatment is enough but all the family who are infested should be treated and the hair examined regularly for a while. You may consult a doctor for the treatment.

To remove head lice and their nits. put any common lotion on your  skin generously and then comb your hair out with a regular comb to get any knots out then comb out with a fine tooth comb.

Some people swear by using a common cheap hair gel put on generously & left on under a shower cap for several hours or overnight to smother the bugs etc

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

A Hair Mystery:

Curly Hair Gone Straight

A microscopic view of two human hairs.

Hair folicle under a microscope
This microscopic view shows human hair emerging from the skin. The shape of the hair follicle (below the skin’s surface) determines whether the hair will be curly, wavy or straight.

Web Chat

Web Chat: How Often Should You Shampoo?

The reason for your lackluster locks? You may be washing your hair too much. See what the experts had to say in response to your questions.

Some people have straight hair and want curly hair. Others have curls and straighten them out. But for a few people, their hair actually changes shape and texture on its own — and not just because of the weather. Scientists don’t know exactly why this happens, but it probably has to do with a combination of genetics, hormones and body chemistry.

“Every seven to 10 years, my hair tends to change texture, going from straight to wavy to curly,” says Kimberly Fasting-Berg, a marketing executive in New York City.

“I can’t predict but then it happens and I am like, ‘Oh, here we go again,'” she says.

Judy Butler, a midwife in Tucson, Ariz., also has hair that’s gone from straight to curly and vice versa, so when she saw changes in the hair of her three kids she wasn’t surprised.

“My first two [kids] had very straight hair as infants, I mean stick straight,” Butler says. But when her kids hit puberty, she says their hair become “very curly, very wavy and very frizzy.”

Curly locks have always sprung from my head, so I wondered, how often does hair change, and could it happen to me?

I set off on a quest to find out.

Searching For Hair Clues In Our Genes

First I started with Dr. Barry Starr, a geneticist at Stanford University. He told me most people’s hair doesn’t change from straight to curly.

“If your mom gives you a curly version of the gene and so does your dad, you end up with curly hair. If both parents give you the straight version you end up with straight hair,” Starr says. And if one gives you curly and the other straight, you could wind up with something in between.

But, he couldn’t tell me why some people go through a hair transformation. “It is an interesting genetic question, but I don’t think there is an answer yet — and there may not be,” he says.

What Shapes Our Hair?

The next person I called is Dr. Paradi Mirmirani, a dermatologist in Vallejo, Calif., who specializes in hair. “We do know that curly hair has a different shape than straight hair,” says Mirmirani.

That shape depends on the shape of the hair follicle. This tiny structure guides the hair fiber up a sort of tube as it grows. The inside of the tube determines if the hair is curly or straight — ovals produce curly hair and circular tubes yield straight hair.


“If you think about gift wrapping ribbon, when you try to make it curly, you take the scissors and you pull it on one side, so you kind of flatten the one side and it curls. So you’re changing the shape of one side compared to the other,” says Mirmirani. “When it’s oval, one side is curved and the other side is flat, which makes it curl.”

So if your hair changes from straight to curly it suggests that the follicles must be changing, but Mirmirani couldn’t tell me why that would happen, though she thought it could have something to do with hormones.

An Influence From Hormones?

After all, hair changes in other ways during adolescence or after having a baby, two events that generate hormonal changes in the body.

“Hormones are a logical guess but I have no evidence to prove that,” says Dr. Val Randall, an endocrinologist at the University of Bradford in England.

Randall is one of the few people doing research on hormones and hair. She says it is difficult to figure something like this out because it doesn’t happen very often.

But, says Randall, change is possible because hair is always replacing itself:

“The hair that you have on your head age 10 is not the hair that you have on your head age 2, and it is not the hair you have on your head age 50,” Randall says.

If the new follicles grow back a different shape, then your new hair will be different, too.

Hair Care From The Inside-Out

I made at least a dozen more calls but I couldn’t find anyone who knew more about the curly-straight question. I did find out that there is an entire industry working on it.

“There are multimillion-dollar research projects going on looking at how to change hair shape because this would be a billion-dollar business,” says Dr. Zoe Draelos, a dermatologist in High Point, N.C. Her research is supported by the cosmetics industry, which is looking beyond perms and irons. For the industry, figuring out a simple way to turn hair straight or curly would be a goldmine.

“Wouldn’t it be great if you took a pill and your hair turned curly?” says Draelos. “I mean, can you imagine how that would revolutionize hair care, and then you could take another pill, and you could reverse it the next day.”

Until then, I think I will stick with my curls.

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 29th Sept 2009



Thursday, June 25th, 2009

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Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 25th June 2009