3D Printed Hair Update in 2021

Within the world of 3D printing, the most exciting developments to look forward to involve 3D printing of human body parts. For us hair loss sufferers, 3D printed hair is of especial interest.

October 27, 2021

New Studies on 3D Bioprinting of Hair Follicles

I am updating this post due to several new studies on the subject as well as updates to past information.

Note that there are various 3D printing technologies with different purposes. These include: laser-assisted bio-printing of hair follicles  (that would then be transplanted); 3D printing of scaffolds to assist in 3D culturing of hair and dermal papilla cells; and 3D printing of hair systems. Perhaps I should not combine these into one post in future updates.

  • A study from China that was published in September 2021 discusses a new approach in three-dimensional bioprinting for the tissue engineering of hair follicle reconstruction. This method entails a 3D bioprinting technique based on a gelatin/alginate hydrogel to construct a multilayer composite scaffold. The end results is a suitable 3D microenvironment for dermal papilla cells to induce new hair follicle formation.
  • Another far more detailed study from China that was published in May 2021 is titled: “Using bioprinting and spheroid culture to create a skin model with sweat glands and hair follicles.” The researchers managed to simultaneously induce sweat gland and hair follicle regeneration. Moreover, they discovered a symbiotic relationship between sweat gland scaffolds and hair follicle spheroids.
3D Printed Hair and Sweat Glands.
Using bioprinting and spheroid culture to create skin with sweat glands and hair follicles. Source: Burns & Trauma, Volume 9, 2021.

Poietis, L’Oréal, BASF and Dr. Atala

The most exciting work in this area of 3D printed hair (and skin) involves the partnership between Poietis, L’Oréal and BASF. Even after years of reading about 3D bioprinting and watching many videos on the subject, it still seems like science fiction to me. However, this is definitely not fiction, and the basic technology has already existed and been used in people for over a decade.

Dr. Anthony Atala (a pioneer who I have mentioned a few times on this blog) has two extremely popular TED Talk videos on this subject from 2010 and 2011. At the time, Dr. Atala’s work was also well covered in this article. More recently in 2021, Dr. Atala has been working with NASA to print artificial organs in space.

Much of the work entailing 3D printing of organs involves a combination of printing cells plus biomaterials. When it comes to 3D printing of hair follicles, all the work thus far seems to focus on the use of synthetic materials rather than actual cells.

We are still not close to being able to implant such 3D printed hair into the scalp as far as I can tell. Nevertheless, this subject is still fascinating. Make sure to read this article that I posted on this blog before.

June 2, 2016

In the past several months, two news items on 3D printed hair caught my eye.

MIT Media Group’s Cillia: 3D Printed Hair

The first of these was not widely covered, but since it involves researchers from MIT, I give it precedence. These scientists are part of the MIT Tangible Media Group, led by Dr. Hiroshi Ishii, and their project is called Cillia. Note that they do not discuss the human scalp whatsoever, and they are using bitmap technology to print this hair rather than any kind of actual cells. For the scientists among you, Dr. Ishii and his team’s paper on this subject is probably extremely interesting. I only glanced through it due to time constraints.

The futurism website has a much more detailed article on the subject, although I laughed when I read this quote:

“While there are a number of potential aesthetic purposes, customized paint brushes or strong adhesive surfaces might be at the top of people’s lists on what 3D printed hair could be used for.”

I would guess the exact opposite. The aesthetic purposes will be far more important from a commercial perspective. Or maybe I am just underestimating the market for paint brushes and adhesive surfaces?

CRLAB (Cesare Ragazzi): 3D Printed CNC Hair  System

Hair systems and prosthesis are not exactly what me have in mind  when we disuss 3D printed hair. However, Italian company CRLAB (previously Cesare Ragazzi) has received tremendous publicity in recent years for its CNC 3D printed hair and scalp prosthesis systems.

Here is a NY Daily News article from March where I first read about the company. Their work was even covered on 3dprint.com in 2016. The company’s technology is essentially an attempt at making a much better wig/hairpiece/hair system/toupee than anything that is in existence today. With far less expensive and frequent maintenance requirements. Plus a superior individualized fit (scalp mapping). The technology is based on CNC systems that are being sold around the world by Cesare Ragazzi.

ISHRS 29th World Congress Begins Tomorrow in Lisbon

ISHRS 29th Congress.
ISHRS 29th World Congress in Lisbon.

The International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS)’s 29th Annual World Congress will run from October 21-October 23 2021. It will take place as a hybrid event, with an in-person 3-day meeting in Lisbon, Portugal followed by an online virtual conference in the following weeks. I have covered these ISHRS meetings every year since this blog was incepted in 2013.

The focus of these conference is always on hair transplants, which are becoming increasingly popular in this age of Zoom and social media. However, most of us readers are more interested in existing non-surgical cutting edge treatments and future treatments.

The detailed schedule and program of the ISHRS 29th Annual Conference can be found here. Also make sure to follow the ISHRS ‘s Twitter account and Instagram page for updates.

ISHRS 2021 Presentations
ISHRS 2021: Some presentations of Interest.

Interesting Presentations at the 29th ISHRS Conference

Among the most interesting presentations that involve hair regeneration include:

  • Dr. Sergio Vañó covering both of Kintor’s hair loss products per his Tweet from today.
  • Dr. Paul Kemp of HairClone presenting on hair cloning.
  • Dr. Nilofer Farjo covering adipose tissue and hair growth.
  • Dr. Ron Shapiro providing us an update on exosomes for hair loss.
  • Dr. Anil Garg discussing the use of hair follicle derived stem cells to promote miniaturized hairs to convert to terminal hairs.
  • Dr. Salome Vadachkoria presenting on hair follicle stem cell activation with “Polylactic Co Caprolactone based subdermal implants”. For both androgenetic alopecia and alopecia areata.
  • Dr. Sharon Keene discussing a case of vitamin D deficiency correction and hair regrowth.
  • Dr. Ratchathorn Panchaprateep analyzing fractional lasers and Nd:Yag lasers in stimulating hair growth.
  • Two doctors from China presenting on mesotherapy and hair growth. Physicians are increasingly injecting vitamins, minerals, hair loss drugs and more directly into the scalp.

Hair loss news blog. Hair cloning for baldness.