Category Archives: Wounding

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. One part of the findings also dealt with valproic acid and its impact on hair.

Valproic Acid and Hair Growth Research

In the above work that was led by Dr. Kang-Yell Choi, the researchers also found that topical 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 VPA-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.”

Injecting an Epilepsy Drug into the Scalp

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.

Valproate and Hair Loss

  • 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.
  • One 2018 article found that oral valproic acid is more likely to cause hair loss. This valproate induced hair loss is typically diffused, nonscarring, and dose related.
  • A while back I covered a self-experimenter by the name “Swisstemples” in detail. One of the ingredients in his protocol is VPA.

Kerastem, Wounding and Other Hair News

Kerastem Update

Kerastem STYLE phase II clinical trial results update. Somewhat positive news of 17 percent increase in hair count at 6 months post-treatment. However, they only treated men in the early stages of hair loss (Norwood Scale I to III).

Wounding and Hair Growth

New hair from wounding.
Single hair follicle regeneration after wounding in elderly man.

Reader “omg” posted an interesting link to a study from Taiwan with a great title: “Never too old to regenerate (hair)”. The researchers report on an 80 year old man who regrew 1 brand new pigmented black hair after scalp wounding due to excision of a basal cell carcinoma.

Yet more evidence in support of wounding, the main idea behind the work of well known company Follica. The new (or regenerated old) hair remained black at the 42-month time of follow-up. I do not think the claim that the researchers make that this is the world’s first case of wounding led hair growth in human skin is true.

Other Hair News this Month

— A potential improvement in current hair regeneration technology from Japan via self-sorted hair follicle germs (ssHFGs). I visualize an image of ant collaboration (which creeps me out a bit), each time I read that term. Dr. Junji Fukuda who I have covered on this blog before is a lead author. Update: A new article on this development came out on February 1, 2018.

— Dr. Takashi Tsuji was back in the news a couple of weeks ago. He is leading a Japanese team that includes RIKEN researchers that will develop technology to analyze human health ramifications of changes in people’s hair shape and quality. According to Dr. Tsuji, some research indicates that certain changes in human hair components are unique to people with diseases such as cancer and diabetes. Perhaps in future one can detect cancer earlier depending on hair analysis.

— Discussion about Donald Trumps’s hair never seems to get old when it comes to the major newspapers. I previously discussed Mr. Trump’s usage of Finasteride as well as a 10 page detailed article on his hair. Now come news that his daughter Ivanka has claimed that Donald Trump has had scalp reduction surgery.

Hair transplants could cure migraines in some per Turkish surgeon Dr. Safvet Ors. Actual study was published a few months ago despite major newspapers only covering the development more recently.

Topical Tofacitinib 2% ointment at least moderately effective in 3 of 10 patients suffering from alopecia areata. Dr. Brett King led the study. Hopefully, Aclaris will see better results for male pattern hair loss sufferers with their topical JAK product when it finally comes out. Fingers crossed.