Category Archives: FGF-5

Fibroblast Growth Factors and Hair Growth

I have previously covered different fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) and their impact on hair growth. This post is a comprehensive summary of the key FGFs (cell signaling proteins) involved in hair follicle cycling.

Update: May 2021 — An interesting new study from China found that combination therapy with topical minoxidil and nano-microneedle-assisted fibroblast growth factor led to the most hair growth.

FGF Hair Growth
FGF (using nano-microneedles) and Minoxidil combination treatment hair growth. Source: Chinese Medical Journal.

Fibrobasts Growth Factors and Hair Growth

There exist 23 members of the FGF gene family, each identified by a number at the end. At least 5 of these fibroblast growth factors have significant impact upon hair growth. Usually via a modulation of the Wnt/β-Catenin pathway and Sonic hedgehog (Shh) expression. The fibroblast growth factor receptor family has 4 members,

FGF1, FGF2 and FGF10

FGF1, FGF2 and FGF10 have some positive impact on hair growth, although the research is limited. A Chinese study from 2015 found that FGF-1, FGF-2, and FGF-10 fibroblast growth factors promote hair growth. They do so by inducing and extending the anagen growth phase of hair follicle cycling.

A South Korean study from 2016 found that arachidonic acid increased the expression of FGF-10 (and FGF-7). This in turn promoted hair growth.

A Japanese study from 2016 concluded that FGF2 (also known as “basic fibroblast growth factor” or bFGF) seems to have a positive impact on hair growth. Interestingly, when I interviewed Dr. Malcolm Xing, he mentioned that FGF-2 is the preferred growth factor used at this clinic for his work purposes.


On this blog, I have covered FGF5 more than any other fibroblast growth factor. Interestingly, this particular growth factor needs to be inhibited in order to promote hair growth.

Evolis Shampoo
Evolis Shampoo.

An Australian company named Cellmid has been very successful at selling its Evolis line of products. See the science behind their FGF5 inhibiting concept here and in the video below. On Amazon, their FGF5 inhibiting shampoo currently has an average rating of 4.1 out of 4.5. Cellmid seems to be doing well in spite of recent challenges.

The company’s products contain natural botanicals that have been shown to inhibit FGF-5. For example, one of the ingredients is Sanguisorba Officinalis Root Extract, known to reduce FGF5 and prolong the anagen hair growth cycle. A related Japanese patent.


FGF7 (also called keratinocyte growth factor, or KGF) is required for hair growth. The well known hair loss researcher Dr. Elaine Fuchs co-authored an important study on FGF-7, hair development and wound healing in 1995.

A 2000 study found keratinocyte growth factor to be an important endogenous mediator of hair follicle growth. Histogen’s now discontinued Hair Stimulating Complex product included KGF as one of the key hair growth factors.


An important 2013 mice study from U Penn found that FGF9 induces hair growth after wounding. Dr. George Cotsarelis was a co-author. More here. Reducing FGF9 expression decreased hair follicle formation. In contrast, over-expressing FGF5 led to a two to three-fold increase in the number of new hair follicles.

The researchers think that using FGF9 to treat wounds in people can also help regrow hair. Human skin tends to scar and not regenerate any hair after suffering injury, In contrast, mice skin is much better at also regrowing hair after injury.

Follica licensed the intellectual property rights soon after the study was published. The actual 2009 patent can be seen here. It seems like there exists a window of opportunity after wounding during which:

“The FGF9 pathway could be modulated to potentiate hair neogenesis”.

Cellcurin Topical Fibroblast Growth Factor 9

Interestingly, a 2019 study from South Korea tested a trademarked cocktail containing topical FGF9 (Cellcurin). They used this growth factor cocktail (GFC) in combination with microneedling on patients with androgenetic alopecia. The results (see below image) indicate Cellcurin to have a positive impact on hair growth and follicle thickness. A related article also mentions the addition of NMN.

Fibroblast Growth Factors.
Fibroblast Growth Factor 9 for hair growth. Source: Global Dermatology.

I hope someone can make a topical cocktail of most of the above fibroblast growth factors. At the very least, maybe this will reduce hair loss drastically.

FGF-5 Inhibition and Hair Growth

In January 2015, Australian company Cellmid was granted an Australian patent for the use of midkine (NEGF-2) in hair loss prevention. The company was also granted a similar patent for the UK market in July 2014. However, it seems like Cellmid is most well known for its FGF-5 inhibiting hair growth product called Advangen.

FGF-5 Inhibiton and Hair Growth

Cellmid’s Advangen line of hair loss products were developed based on old research from Japan related to fibroblast growth factor-5 (FGF-5 or FGF5) inhibition and resulting hair growth.

FGF-5 accelerates hair follicle transition from anagen (growth) phase to catagen (cessation or regression) phase. This results in more rapid progression to to telogen/resting phase. Make sure to also read my post on growth factors in PRP.

Cellmid used to have a separate website for Advangen, and it had attachments to three FGF-5 related studies. Edit: Not you can find them on évolis website. The two Japanese studies are especially interesting and well worth reading in their entirety. Update: For more recent information, see my post on Évolis.

The first of these studies is from 2007. It concludes that Sanguisorba Officinalis Root Extract (SO extract) is a reliable FGF-5 inhibitor. Consequently, Advangen has since developed a number of Sanguisorba Officinalis Root Extract containing FGF5 blocker products to combat hair loss.

The second of these studies is from 2002. It concludes that FGF5 inhibits hair growth by blocking dermal papilla cell activation.  Work focusing on dermal papilla (DP) cells and nearby dermal sheath cup (DSC) cells is today among the most import areas of hair loss research.

More recently, a 2014 study found that FGF-5 is a crucial regulator of hair length in humans. However, it seems like the study only focused on forearm and eyelash hair.  I would venture to guess that similar results would be realized on human scalp hair.

It should be noted that fibroblast growth factors 1 (FGF-1), 2 (FGF-2), 7 (FGF-7), 9 (FGF-9) and 10 (FGF-10) have all been shown to promote hair growth. In contrast to FGF-5, which discourages hair growth.