In 2013, I Predicted a Hair Loss Cure in 2020

Happy New Year everyone!

2020 is finally here and we hope that a hair loss cure is close. It is worth scrolling through my hair loss research around the world post for background information to this post.

Will a Hair Loss Cure Come in 2020?

When I started this blog in 2013, I forecast that a hair loss cure would likely be realized by the end of 2020. At the very least, I predicted that we would have a treatment that prevented any further permanent hair loss. In effect, this would imply that no-one in future would go bald if that was their desire.

When making the prediction, I was focusing on androgenetic alopecia (AGA or male pattern hair loss) and female pattern hair loss. Later on, I also covered other much less common forms of hair loss such as alopecia areata (AA). The latter mentioned may in fact now be curable in many people via the use of JAK inhibitors. See my past posts on that subject.

Best Prospect

  • A few years after I made the prediction, renowned Japanese scientist Dr. Takashi Tsuji (in partnership with RIKEN, Organ Technologies and Kyocera) announced that his hair loss cure would be realized by year-end 2020! Even more amazing, around 2015, the Japanese government changed regulations to allow for faster clinical trial completion. Mostly for autologous and regenerative medicine type medical and cosmetic treatments. Often entailing stem cells.
  • The latest 2019 update from Dr. Tsuji remains encouraging, albeit a very expensive solution initially. Note that Dr. Tsuji is funded by both the private sector and by the Japanese government. His lab is also working on cures for teeth regeneration and salivary gland regeneration.

Others Working on a Hair Loss Treatment

  • A few other companies (Cassiopea via Breezula, Follica, Follicum and Samumed) are close to coming out with significantly better hair loss treatments during the 2020-2022 period. Or, at the very least, finishing Phase 3 clinical trials. In the past, I have written at least 10 posts covering each of those four companies. Check the “Categories” menu of this blog for more information. To date, only Finasteride and Minoxidil have been approved to treat male pattern hair loss by the US FDA. And nothing new in the past several decades. Therefore, any new effective treatments for androgenetic alopecia would be a miracle.
  • A Japanese cosmetics behemoth named Shiseido could also surprise us (after resolving partnership issues with Canada’s Replicel). In fact, I consider Shiseido to be the second best prospect (after Tsuji). The company has access to its own technology as well as to Replicel’s groundbreaking technology. And absolutely no problems with fundraising.
  • Newer entrants I covered last year such as Stemson Therapeutics, TissUse (plus J. Hewitt), Rapunzel (Dr. Angela Christiano), Pelage Pharmaceuticals and Exicure all hold significant potential. However, none of these are likely to come out with a working treatment prior to 2023 in my estimation.
  • The biggest unexpected bolt from the blue is exosome treatment for hair loss. There was tremendous excitement about this during the second half of 2019. Several prominent hair transplant surgeons have highly recommended this new treatment to me.
  • Also of interest in 2020 will be further improvements in: 3D-printed hair via bioprinting; skin printing with working hair follicles a la PolarityTE; allogeneic hair transplants; CXXC5 targeting PTD-DBM; and WNT signaling related treatments.
  • Even surprising new recent discoveries in areas ranging from: quorum sensing related plucking; to scalp electrocution caps; to senolytics; to cancer research related hair growth findings could all ultimately regrow our hair.
  • In the long term, CRISPR or other genetic modification related cures for hair loss will likely be a reality.

Disappointments

Aclaris Therapeutics and Histogen have been major disappointments after much hype for years. I largely avoided covering them in 2019 on purpose. Allergan’s Bimatoprost and Setipiprant have also not panned out as expected.

Shaving or Buzzing Your Head like Ricki Lake

I have mentioned many times in the past that the best solution to hair loss for men is shaving your head. That is, if you can accept that option and finally set yourself free. It is rare for women to go for this drastic measure, but there are always exceptions and trendsetters such as the below.

The biggest hair loss news story to start 2020 entails famous US talk show host Ricki Lake buzzing her head. Apparently, she has been suffering from hair loss and related depression for 30 years and finally decided to shave it off. CNN, BBC and numerous other major publications covered this story today. Below is Ms. Lake’s Instagram post detailing her interesting story:

Hair Loss Buzzed Shaved Head.
Ricki Lake buzzed her head after 30 years of hair loss.

How do you Perform At-Home Microneedling?

Microneedling, also known as collagen induction therapy (CIT), entails wounding for skin or hair regeneration. In my last post on Follica, a number of people made very lengthy and informative comments about at-home microneedling for hair growth. If you are one of those, please copy and paste your comment in this post where it will be more appropriate and very useful.

Microneedling Dermaroller Device
A Dermaroller for Microneedling.

Note: Dermarollers are very cheap on Amazon. However, sizes range from needle depths of 0.25 mm to 0.5 mm to 1.5 mm. The rolling drum size can also vary significantly. You will need to read the comments to this post before deciding on the best product (s) for scalp hair growth purposes.

Dermapen Microneedling Pen for Hair Growth
Dr. Pen Dermapen.

Many people also use handheld motor powered dermapens (more expensive) for microneedling. These are also known as micropens. An alternative product that some people praise is called the dermastamp (or derma stamp).

My original post on using microneedling in combination with Minoxidil was published all the way back in 2013. More evidence on the benefits of microneedling for hair loss reversal came in 2017, courtesy of Dr. Rachita Dhurat.

At-Home Microneedling for Hair Growth

Over the years, there has been a lot of online discussion about DIY at-home microneedling for alopecia. I was planning to write a post on this subject in the past, but kept delaying it till today. For one, there are numerous hair loss forum and Reddit threads on the subject running into 100s of pages.

Moreover, when it comes to microneedling for facial skin rejuvenation related applications, there is even more information available online. Including numerous reviews and before and after photos. Hard to weed through all the real and fake testimonials.

According to a summary of  papers on microneedling, the procedure can help numerous dermatological conditions. These include skin rejuvenation (via increases in collagen and elastin); reduction of acne scarring, wrinkles, fine lines, stretch marks and surgical scars; improvement in undesired skin color changes such as melasma; and enlarged pore reduction. Note that in 2016, a Japanese research team found age-related hair loss to be caused by reduced collagen.

An increasingly common use entails using microneedling or skin puncturing for better transdermal drug delivery. In the hair loss world, many doctors and surgeons are using microneedling in tandem with application of hair growth serums, Minoxidil, PRP and Exosomes.

Depth, Dermaroller and Dermapen

Among the key questions when trying out at-home microneedling on the head:

  1.  What is the appropriate depth of needles for microneedling on the scalp for hair growth? For thinner facial skin uses, fine needles of 0.25 mm and 0.5 mm depth seem to be preferred. For thicker scalp skin, many people recommend 1.5 mm to puncture the skin and epidermis sufficiently. Reader “PinotQ” mentioned a possible treatment regimen of 1.5 mm once a week, and 0.5 mm daily for maintenance.
  2. What device is the best? There are hundreds of dermarollers and dermapens on sale online. A large number of those seem to have great reviews. It seems like most people prefer dermarollers to dermapens when it comes to the scalp, although the lower price of the former could be a factor. While the dermaroller needles enter the skin at an angle, dermapen needles enter vertically. Each device and delivery method has advantages and disadvantages.
  3. Safety precautions, including: making sure that the needles are sterilized and clean to prevent infection; not using too much force when rolling the device to avoid damaging the dermis; aftercare and cleaning up correctly in case of bleeding or other skin injury.
  4. How often to use the dermaroller or other micro needling device? Can one get away with just once a week treatment? Note that some people may easily bleed or have overly sensitive scalps, making microneedling impractical or even dangerous. For those with seborrheic dermatitis or psoriasis of the scalp, it is best to consult a dermatologist before starting treatment.

Ultimately, the point of this post is to benefit from crowdsourced reader comments about this subject matter all in one place. I might even start microneedling myself in 2020 if I get more motivated after reading about people’s experiences.

Follica’s recent statement seems to indicate that many kinds of wounding and skin injury can regenerate hair. Follica’s tried and tested in-office version and device will likely be the most effective. But for the time being, at-home use will have to suffice.

Hair Loss Cure News Blog