Hair Follicle Freezing: The Latest Trend in Future-Proofing Strands

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Hair follicles play a crucial role in determining the quality and quantity of our locks. They house stem cells, the tiny powerhouses that dictate our hair’s health and growth. Recently, groundbreaking research has suggested a novel way to preserve and potentially revitalize these stem cells to combat age-related hair thinning. Like the concept of freezing one’s eggs for future fertilization, we’re hearing that hair follicle freezing is on the horizon and clients can pay to freeze and bank future growth triggering stem cells. 

Understanding Stem Cells

Rui Yi, a professor of pathology at Northwestern University, has been at the helm of research has unveiled a promising avenue for addressing hair loss concerns. By enhancing the production of a tiny RNA called miR-205, Dr. Yi and his team successfully stimulated existing stem cells within hair follicles to reignite hair growth in both young and old mice. As Dr. Yi notes, “Soon, the older mice were able to grow hair in about three weeks.”

This innovative approach doesn’t create new stem cells. It has the potential to awaken dormant ones, addressing age-related hair thinning. Dr. Yi suggests future tests involving nanoparticles to deliver miR-205 to human skin. This offers exciting prospects, although years away, for stimulating hair growth in humans, too.

Hair Follicle Freezing: A Futuristic Approach

Beverly Hills, CA hair restoration specialist Dr. Craig Ziering tells us that freezing hair follicles for potential future use is not only on the horizon, but also already here. He likens it to the concept of freezing eggs for fertility preservation. “With this innovative approach we pluck hair follicles, isolate their stem cells, and subsequently multiply and transform them into different types of stem cells. Much like cord blood banking, individuals can freeze and store these versatile stem cells for future applications. While the treatment isn’t yet available, it holds immense promise for addressing hair thinning concerns in the years to come,” he says.

Unlocking the Potential of Hair Follicles

The potential applications of frozen hair follicles extend beyond hair restoration. Dr. Ziering highlights the potential of harnessing these preserved stem cells for various purposes, including skin anti-aging treatments. Similar to the well-known Vampire Facelift, which uses platelet-rich plasma to rejuvenate the skin, stem cell fluid derived from hair follicles could offer a similar revitalizing effect. “What we’re talking about these exosomes and growth factors that can actually stimulate hair growth or the color down the line, but they can also be converted into nerve cells, muscle cells, and more,” he explains. This breakthrough opens doors to a wide range of possibilities beyond hair rejuvenation.

Tomorrow Awaits

While the concept of follicle freezing is still in its infancy, it holds immense promise for sparking hair regrowth. However, Dr. Yi says he hopes we don’t get to the point where we need it. “Science will continue to advance even further,” he says.

“The technology has advanced significantly, like with induced pluripotent stem cells (IPSC) developed by Shinya Yamanaka in 2006. It earned him a Nobel Prize in 2012,” Dr. Yi notes. “This research demonstrates that if we understand the ‘language’ of cells, we can reprogram them into any desired cell type. This breakthrough has been successful with embryonic stem cells, allowing labs to create embryonic stem cells from one’s own cells. This could be applied to hair follicle stem cells with more research.”

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