Category Archives: Microneedling

Valproic Acid and Hair Growth

Last year, I discussed new groundbreaking research from South Korea in relation to the development of a new peptide called  PTD-DBM. This product can activate the Wnt/β-catenin pathway and accelerate hair regrowth via wound-induced hair follicle neogenesis.

Research on Valproic Acid and Hair Growth

In the above work that was led by Dr. Kang-Yell Choi, the researchers also found that valproic acid (VPA) sped up hair growth in mice. Valproic acid (also known as valproate and sodium valproate) is a medication that is used to treat epilepsy, seizures, bipolar disorder and migraines. However, this chemical can cause significant side effects and is not something to be take lightly.

In the past, there have also been other studies that found hair growth benefits of valproic acid (brand name Depakote). For example, these 2014 findings from South Korea suggest VPA grows hair in humans when used in a topical version.

Several other studies have indicated that valproic acid can change hair color and also change hair texture. However, most of the past research on this subject matter seems to be on small sample sizes. And a majority of these findings seem to be coming from one country: South Korea. Including these clinical trials from 2012.

Valproic Acid and Wounding

Early this week, commentator “John Doe” posted a link to an interesting new study titled “Transcutaneous implantation of valproic acid-encapsulated dissolving microneedles induces hair regrowth“.

Besides the discussion about valproic acid and hair growth, the study covers the fascinating phenomenon of this unique idea of valproic-acid-encapsulating dissolving microneedles (DMN-VPA). Apparently this method creates dermal micro-wounds than enhance the effects of the VPA upon hair growth. This also seems to support the wounding concept behind the technology of Follica.

Valproic Acid Hair Researcher Dr. Kang Choi.

One of the co-authors of this new paper is the same Dr. Kang-Yell Choi that I mentioned earlier in the post, and the research is yet again conducted in South Korea. Mr. Choi has his own wikipedia entry, and he deserves a photo in this post. He works at Yonsai University. According to the scientists behind this latest research:

“Micro-wounding-mediated implantation of DMN-VPA upregulates expression of Wnt/β-catenin pathway, alkaline phosphatase, proliferating cell nuclear antigen, loricrin and HF stem cell markers, including keratin 15, and CD34 more effectively than topical application.”

Over on HLT, people also seem excited about this development.

At first, I was considering adding the above findings at the top of my next “brief items of interest” post. However, earlier today, my alerts notified me of a new article in newscientist magazine titled “Male balding may be cured by injecting epilepsy drug into scalp.

I can not access the whole article, but it is about injecting valproic acid into your scalp to regrow hair. If anyone manages to read the whole article, please post about it in the comments. It seems like this predominantly South Korean led area of research is now finding its way into the US.

Other Notes on Valproate

  • One unusual thing I noticed is that there are a lot of search results on Google that suggest valproic acid can also cause hair loss in people who are taking it orally for seizures and other such conditions.
  • A while back I covered a self-experimenter by the name “Swisstemples” in detail. One of the ingredients in his protocol is valproic acid.

Microneedling, Follica and Other Brief Items

Microneedling and Follica

Thanks to commentator “Karl” for posting a link to a new study from China regarding electrodynamic microneedling in the comments to my Indian microneedling post from August. Yet again, microneedling seems to lead to significantly increased hair growth when used in conjunction with Minoxidil versus when using just Minoxidil by itself.

However, even more interesting, microneedling by itself led to more hair growth than Minoxidil by itself in this study (EDIT: per several commentators who read the full study, this is not accurate and at best you can only say that both resulted in equal new hair growth). Totally crazy that something like wounding works better than one of the only two ever FDA approved hair loss treatments out there. Of course more such results need to be emulated before this becomes believable.

Follica has for a long time claimed that skin disruption in and of itself leads to new de novo hair follicle growth. In the India microneedling post, “Karl” made an interesting lengthy comment related to the above study, and it is worth a read in its entirety. I will paste part of it related to needling depth here:

“Personal observation: that difference of 1.5mm to 2.5mm might seem small, but if you’ve ever done it, you know that it’s HUGE. 1.5mm hurts a lot already, and for some people is borderline unbearable. 2.5mm is getting into torture level lol. Pity they weren’t more specific about their procedure. The question of depth, wounding, and scarring seems an open question in research afaik and is discussed frequently on forums”.

Other Hair Loss News this Month

— In August, I covered groundbreaking new research related to successful hair regeneration in mice. The work was led by scientists from USC (in particular, Dr. Mingxing Lei and Dr. Cheng-Ming Chuong). For some reason, a new CNBC article on this now relatively old news appeared in October and became the most widely covered hair related story this month. Three different people posted the exact same CNBC link in the comments to the last post. To be fair, even people on Reddit Futurology seemed to think that this was a new development.

— Samumed added a new page on its site regarding the status of each of its clinical trials.

— Seems like commentator “egghead” gave great advice regarding waiting to buy a newly public company after the initial turbulence is over. HAIR stock down drastically in the past 3 days.

— PolarityTE release an interesting new video.

— Replicel’s hair loss work covered in Forbes magazine.

Fecal matter transplant regrows hair in two alopecia areata patients.

— Dr. David Saceda has been responding to questions by “Tim” in my messotherapy with dutasteride post.