Scientists identify fatty skin cells as a reason for baldness

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Skin

A team of scientists at the University of Yale has pin-pointed fat cells in the skin as being a key factor to triggering the balding process.

The research, which was published in the Cell Journal last month, shows that adipocyte lineage cells contribute significantly to the skin stem cell process that drives the hair cycling process.

A series of experiments were carried out on mice, suggesting that the hair stem cells were controlled by adipocyte cellulite, and that injecting a specific type of fat cell into an area of hair stimulated hair to grow in mice that were otherwise suffering from hair loss.

The mice selected for the study were chosen because they could not produce the fat cells that the scientists had identified were necessary to stimulate hair growth, and were therefore suffering from varying degrees of hair loss.

Injecting adipocyte cells to stimulate hair growth

The experiments saw the scientists inject the adipocyte fat cells from healthy mice into the defective mice, who could not produce the cells because they were in a dormant phase.

The laboratory studies conducted on the mice concluded that a four-fold increase in the adipocyte cells was necessary to trigger the process of stimulating the hair follicle was sufficient to trigger the growth process.

The first signs of hair re-growth were reported to have taken place after two weeks and the results also showed that the process could kick-start the re-growth process in approximately 85 percent of all hair follicles.

Identifying the chemical that triggers the growth process

Research into why this process took place discovered that the precursor fat cells were producing a platelet-derived growth factor at around 100 times the level of the surrounding dormant cells.

Further experiments are being conducted by the team into the process, particularly to identify whether or not any other chemicals are involved in the re-growth process.

Caffeine already a proven stimulant for hair growth

The hair care market for hair loss treatments has been growing rapidly in recent years, fuelled by scientific research that has identified a number of treatments that have proven to be effective.

One of the most significant ingredients has proven to be a caffeine extract which studies have shown to be effective at stimulating hair follicle activity and has been incorporated into a shampoo launched by Swiss Company Alpecin.

Related topics: Formulation & Science

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