Root Problem

6 scientifically proven strategies to reverse baldness

Get on the road to regrowth.

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For many people, balding is just a natural part of getting older.

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The reason why your hair falls out as you get older is likely a combination of genetics, hormones, and the environment.

But scientists still don’t have a way to totally cure blading.

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So instead, scientists are probing the root causes of balding to make innovative treatments.

Here are 6 science-backed strategies researchers are testing to treat baldness:

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6. Dissolvable microneedle patches

In an August 2021 report for the journal ACS Nano, researchers tested out a patch lined with microneedles that helped regenerate hair in mice.

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The needles help deliver nutrients and other essential particles that promote hair growth to the skin. Then, the needles dissolve — all without causing any pain.

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This method has yet to be tested in humans, but in mice, the microneedle patch helped grow hair faster than other topical treatments.

5. Gene therapy

Researchers have been searching for hair-loss genes for decades. But since conditions like male or female patterned baldness are caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors, gene editing probably won’t offer a catchall treatment.

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But gene therapy does offer promise for rare conditions that cause hair loss.

Progeria, which causes children to age rapidly, is a prime example of a condition that might be treated with gene therapy.

4. Hair transplants

This technique has been used since the 1950s and is one of the most effective ways to restore lost hair.

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Essentially, doctors take prosperous hair and skin cells from one part of the body and place them on spots that struggle to grow locks.

The procedure can be expensive and painful.

3. Laser therapy

Low-level laser therapy is a less invasive way to treat hair loss, though is also expensive and time-consuming.

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Basically, photons from the lasers stimulate the scalp and encourage skin tissue to regrow hair. It’s a painless alternative to hair transplants and is widely regarded as safe.

2. Using medicine designed for other conditions

You’ve probably heard that Viagra can help regulate hypertension and reduce colorectal cancer risk. But did you know Minoxidil, a drug used to treat high blood pressure, might also help regrow hair in some areas?

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The same goes for Finasteride, a drug that treats enlarged prostate glands. This may have something to do with the hormonal side of hair loss, as the drug only works in men.

1. Growing skin in a dish

On the research side, scientists writing in Nature in 2020 described their success in creating skin organoidsliving models made of stem cells — that can help us better understand baldness.

Karl R. Koehler and Jiyoon Lee, Boston Children's Hospital/Harvard Medical School.
This was the first time researchers were able to get organoids to grow hair.Karl R. Koehler and Jiyoon Lee, Boston Children's Hospital/Harvard Medical School.

Beyond baldness, the researchers say these organoids could help:

1. Reveal the inner working of other skin and hair conditions

2. Help us map out skin development

3. Inform reconstructive surgeries

Read more stories about health here.

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