The Hair Necessities

Female with gorgeous hair and flowers in her hair.

Look for the bare necessities! Or maybe… HAIR necessities!

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Hair follicle stem cells located in our scalps keep our locks luscious. Scientists can grow these hair-makers from OTHER types of stem cells. However, the lab-grown variety doesn’t always work as well as the real deal.

Enter Makoto Takeo and colleagues at the RIKEN Center in Hyogo, Japan. They’re getting to the ROOT of the problem by investigating how O-G hair-makers thrive. 

They collected existing hair follicle stem cells from mice. Then, they fed these cells different chemical cocktails, looking for the goldi-LOCKS diet. 

Turns out, hair follicle stem cells need a unique nutrient broth! This broth causes the cells to grow three special proteins. Cells with these proteins were able to grow longer-lasting hair! Without them, hair growth is – ahem – CUT SHORT.

Scientists think these findings will help tame unruly hair regrowth treatments!

Now there’s a breath of fresh HAIR! 

Reference: Takeo, M., Asakawa, K., Toyoshima, K.-ei, Ogawa, M., Tong, J. J., Irié, T., … Tsuji, T. (2021). Expansion and characterization of epithelial stem cells with potential for cyclical hair regeneration. Scientific Reports, 11(1).