Story at a glance
- Hair loss affects many people.
- It may be caused by loss of blood vessels around hair follicles and by excessive reactive oxygen compounds.
- Researchers tested a dissolvable microneedle patch with cerium-containing nanoparticles.
Hair loss affects about 16 percent of 18 to 20 year old men and 53 percent of 40 to 49 year old men, according to one study. By the age of 35, two thirds of men will have experienced some hair loss, according to the American Hair Loss Association. With so many people being affected, scientists are wondering how it can be treated or prevented.
Androgenic alopecia, which is also known as male- or female- pattern baldness, is the most common cause for hair loss. This happens when there isn’t enough blood flow or blood vessels around the hair roots to deliver nutrients and essential molecules.
Treatments for hair loss range from external application of the chemical compound minoxidil to surgical grafting of hair follicles. In a study published in the journal ACS Nano, researchers report a new technique for delivering treatment for baldness.
The team studies cerium nanoparticles, which they found helps to reduce oxidative stress much like an antioxidant would by removing reactive oxygen compounds. They coated the cerium-containing nanoparticles with a lipid compound and made a dissolvable microneedle patch to deliver the nanoparticles to the scalp.
They tested this on male mice that had bald spots. Interestingly, the control and the treatment both stimulated the formation of blood vessels. The mice who got the nanoparticle treatment showed quicker signs of hair development. They also had fewer oxidative stress compounds in their skin.
Although this has only been tested in mice, the researchers are hopeful that this technology could be a potential strategy for treating hair loss and pattern baldness.
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