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.
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.
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.
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.
36 thoughts on “Fibroblast Growth Factors and Hair Growth”
My two cents: I used évolis for over a year. Both the shampoo/conditioner and their little crappy over-priced dropper thingo. I can’t speak for others, but it certainly didn’t do a damn thing for me. All it did was fluff up my hair for a few hours and made it smell nice. It seems more of a cosmetic than anything else. (If a topical like this really worked, don’t you think it would knock Min of its perch and be recommended by the medical profession as whole?) Same goes for the UK’s Watermans products. They too are selling like hotcakes. To get a discount on your next purchase, they encourage their customers to provide before and after pics and post them in the review section on their website. If you need a good laugh, I encourage you to check them out. (Don’t strain your eyes looking for regrowth tho.) The testimonials are a hoot. eg: “My husband grew back all of his hair in three weeks!”
@kim Thanks for the honesty. Bro can you believe this we have to wait until the end of the decade to see if stemson therapeutics hair cloning works. And first they said they completed pig trials now there saying they need to start pig trials which will last 2 more years of research man give me a break and where’s ukhairclone I thought they were supposed to be offering there stem cell injections by now what a joke the British humour is weird.
Marc you should to get on the the veterporfin train it’s more realistic at this point than hair cloning because hair cloning will take forever and I want it as much as you.
@woofy97 bro you come across to me as a smart guy I just turned 36 I’ve been waiting for hair cloning since 2012 I’m a Norwood2 maybe3 no balding at all on my vertex just my temples and hairline I guess I’m asking for your opinion should I keep waiting until I’m 40 to see if hair cloning happens or should I just get the fue transplant ? Honestly I don’t see hair cloning happening until around 2028 2030 that’s a long time from now what would you do woofy97 ? In my situation ? Your reply would be greatly appreciated .
Thank you Marc! You seem like a smart guy as well and I genuinely mean that. If you have not taken Fin before and you’re 36 and you are just a Norwood 2 than you can get an FUE or FUT. But it’s best to talk about this with a hair transplant doctor I’m not really an expert at this stuff. I recommend you check with Bernstein medical or hasson and Wong. Take care Marc! I will be temporary taking a long break from these sites. This is my last message
I hear ya mate. I personally don’t give hair-cloning a second thought tho. I seriously doubt I could ever afford such a thing anyway. By the time it comes out (if ever) I’ll be sitting in some retirement home with ruggy on my lap wondering what day it is?
Marc they are doing preclinical tests on pigs now, not 2 years from now, come on…..
Thanks Jan but where did see this because in there new news letter from stemson ceo they said there going to start pig trails in the next 2 years but then how come in the Vimeo video fortunis capital said pig trails were a success so I don’t know who to believe and this plastic surgeon from city plastic in New York said hair cloning isn’t going to happen for 10+ year’s that’s the 3rd plastic surgeon this year that said hair cloning is 10 years away
Hi Kim, just wondering with your claims, saying the products is ineffective. According to the science, it prolong the anagen phase in the hair cycle, and for people who are about to get bald, it works by preventing it from happening by forcing the hair follicle healthy lifecycle. Thus lesser hair falls is the most obvious and immediate result.
So your problem with the product is, the product DO NOT maintain your hair volume? Or simply the product do not works, because you do not have hair follicle to begin with ie. the hair stem cells already gone? May I kindly know your situation, as I am about to buy the product.
@James. First, I basically said it didn’t work for ‘me’. Second, all it did was add volume to my hair for about an hour or two max. So to answer your question, yes, the product failed on both counts…for me. Also, something else to consider, from memory Cellmid évolis was involved in some kind of dodgy consumer dispute in Australia years ago, but I can’t verify it with a basic Google search-you might have better luck. I know the ‘science’ looks wonderful on paper, but it’s not TGA or FDA approved, nor have I heard anybody else in my circle having success with it either. A hair loss doc I saw years ago, said he had two patients who swore by it, but he personally wouldn’t recommend it due to its ineffectiveness. He mainly prescribed Fin and Min. Please don’t get sucked in by the glowing reviews-most are likely fake. Especially the ones claiming regrowth after two weeks! If it truly worked, it would be in every Derm’s office, common knowledge around the globe and worth billions on the stock market. Good luck to you if want to give it a go, but it’s a no from me.
@Kim, Thanks for your reply, but it doesnt seem to answer my query. As I had research abit onto this area, please forgive my boldness and directly asking you
1. so your bald part, do have hair follicles, i.e. in more accurate term, hair stem cells, to begin with? No hair follicle, then the alleged scientific claims, will have no way to function, no hair –>no hair lifecycle–>fgf 5 inhibitor will not be functioning at all. Thus it is not working for you because of that…. OR the product did not prevent/ reverse your hair loss by maintaining your existing hair follicles?
2. “add volume to my hair for about an hour or two max.” how do you quantify that? I understood it is hard to find evidences to prove it, talking from an user experience perspective, you feel the product effect is short lived? Their product unable to inhibit fgf-5 in long term.
3. OR You think the whole FGF-5 science, is all dodgy?
I have some background in pharmaceutical industry, as for TGA, FDA approval, and why finasteride and minoxidil able to gain androgenetic alopecia approval, is all about clinical trials.
Minoxidil was approved as hypertensive drug. After further studies on the effects of Minoxidil, scientists noticed that some of the patients were reporting unexpected hair growth. Before long, researchers learned that making Minoxidil into a liquid and applying it directly to the scalp promoted hair growth. But having the science behind it, is not enough to gain FDA on label approval, they have to gone thru the 3 phases double blind randomise clinical trials. Both minoxidil and finasteride are the same, the big pharma wanted to expand their indications therefore conduct the trials and succeeded. TGA pretty much follow FDA steps.
While evolis has wonderful science to potentially make up the story, quoting no FDA and TGA approval thus the science is dodgy, is unfair. FDA & TGA will not give approval merely because of science. Many drugs, to date, we have no way to understand the mechanism of action regarding hows it works, yet there are trials to prove it, so no science, FDA will still give its approval. For me it seems, like many cosmetic products, cellmid fgf-5 claims, has the science, but no clinical trials to back it up and nor do they attempt to gain approval from FDA, at least not now. Reason beings, like many cosmetic products company, is that clinical trials is an expensive and risky procedure to go through especially for small company like Cellmid. Unlike drugs you have to get authority approval first by showing clinical trials, whether you have the science or doesnt have the science for the drug (trials is enough); cosmetic category products allowed to be sold without such vigorous procedure, and many cosmetic company will opt for the more easy way. Which is why most of the cosmetic product on market, doesnt have FDA approval. NO double blind randomise trials no FDA, simple as that, no matter how solid prove the science is.
I said Evolis has the science, because I read the scientific journal before, I just wasnt sure whether topically applying it is enough to works, who knows, wonderful in science, backlash at applications.
@James. I’ve still got most of my hair, but évolis certainly didn’t stop the slow progression of thinning. I used it for over 12 mths. The product is a cosmetic and uses some kind of thickening agent for the hair strand, but it didn’t regrow anything. As for FGF-5 science-I have no idea? It didn’t do a thing for me however. So I can’t personally recommend it. Go ahead if you want to give it a whirl, but keep expectations low. All the best.
Admin I appreciate your work but it’s not hair clonibg. This won’t give you a full thick hairlin. We are in the 2020s. We are going to land on Mars in 2024 or 2026 and we eat cloned cows but we can’t clone one human hair and transplant it on human skin. You know after reading these blogs since 2014, I think I’ve gained all the knowledge I need to clone hair myself. All I need is Windex and duck tape.
For some time they had been marketing a toothpaste that actually blocked the advance and cause of cavities, well, that toothpaste has disappeared from circulation. Is it clear for you now? Hair loss is a billion dollars industry. A world full of happy people walking around with a head full of hair. No man, that’s not going to happen.
I’m still waiting for Intercytex :-)
Interesting info from San Diego.. As always, let’s hope it’s legit. Thanks lorence.
It’s Stemson T or nothing. Our only hope.
Wouldnt mind having a cocktail of hair stimulants!
I just read this, nothing hugely noteworthy but cool to see it actually being measured:
Very interesting. Although I am skeptical about any strong stress and grey hair connection…else a ton of 15 years olds would have grey hair :-) Would be great if they did a larger-scale study too.
I agree – it‘s mainly genetics and epigenetics…
Still I see more and more young people under 30 who are turning grey.
I had my first white hairs at 28, my dad at 40, my mum at 50. Strange somehow.
Any idea where can we buy this (and not some low quality fake product) hair cocktail?
Cool I understand I also I’m going to take a break now that I’ve been proven right hair cloning is not going to until earliest 2028 but most likely 2030!
I have been posting here a long time, and tried almost every shampoo and different minoxidil formula available. As well as fin and dut.
The key to regrowing your hair is using minoxidil with these 9 key amino acids. I promise this is the key and I am astonished at how well it works.
I hope the admin will write a post about this. I was considering making a blend and selling it online but you can do it yourself.
Are all essential for regrowing hair. The first 5 being the most important. Ingesting 8 grams of these aminos with a gram or so of vitamin c WILL grow your hair back as long as it is in conjunction with minoxidil.
Aminos high in sulphur such as cysteine are the key. And I guarantee anyone who tries this will probably want to buy me a new car.
Very interesting. If you ever use Discord, you should join our chat as some people on there would try to do this by themselves.
Quentin, do you have before / after pics?
What kind of cysteine do you use?
It’s a lot of trouble, to be honest. I’d rather someone else do it so I can buy it. I mean, where do i get these? How much of each? Like I said, too much trouble for me. I don’t have time to brew stuff in a cauldron. But I’d purchase it.
Kindly please make for us a youtube link and show us How to mix those stuffs .
I agree with Quentin. Amino acids are legit. Wont cure your hair loss lol but it def helps in reduction of shedding, hair growth, quality of hair. I use lysine it’s great for the immune system. I need to find an multi amino acid vitamin to take. Sulphur is excellent for hair.
I looked for some. Most have SOME of what was listed above but not all. Maybe you’ll have better luck. I think if we want something that has everything listed in the post above, one may have to make it themselves. If someone finds one online that has all or most, let me know. I’m seeing some work only partial.
Where do you buy the amino acids? Any preference or just Amazon?
@Quentin, what cysteine product do you use? And I agree that you may want to consider doing the discord.
Quentin if you can get this into a purchasable and easily deliverable form then you will be able to buy yourself 10 new cars no problem.
When you say with minoxidil, do you mean orally or topically?
Would love a full post in what brands and how much you take of each amino acid.