Research focuses on 'waking up' dormant hair follicles

Inevitably, finer and fewer strands of hair come with age and hair-thinning troubles both sexes. Increasing a capital of hair, however, can lessen the impact of future hair loss, according to research by cosmetics company L'Oreal, which investigated an overlooked stage of the hair cycle to find a new approach to hair retention.

According L'Oreal's Research, an average human head hosts between 100,000 to 140,000 hairs, yet over a 1,000 more can be revealed if lazy hair follicles can be awakened.

"A hair follicle is either in an active state when it makes hair or in a dormant state when it loses its hair. During this period of apparent inactivity, the follicle is actually undergoing a real battle between factors which inhibit hair growth and others which, to the contrary, activate it," said Dr. Bruno Bernard of L'Oreal Research and Innovation.

Dr Bernard said hair life cycle has four stages: growth phase (anagen), regression phase (catagen), resting period (telogen), and dormant phase.

Previous research has focused on optimising the first three stages, during which hair is visible on the head.

But once a hair has fallen, regrowth may not continuously occur, as the follicle becomes inactive.

The bulb is not dead but asleep, said Dr Bernard, and this dormant phase can last from two to 12 months before it wakes up to give a new hair.

Shortening the dormant period and encouraging activating factors became objectives for L'Oreal scientists to apply their experience in stem cell research.

The research identified an oxygen-deficient environment as an activator and a molecule was developed to mimic this optimal environment in which to wake up dormant bulbs.

"We have worked on hair in the growing phase. This recent discovery allows us to add a new dimension, in an as yet unexploited area - that of dormant follicles," said Dr Bernard. "We have a capital of hair follicles that has to be increased and to do this we have to consider both growing hair and hair in the dormant phase. This opens perspectives beyond simple treatment of hair loss."

Daily massage for a crowning glory

Coconut oil has long been used as a natural hair enhancer for stronger and shinier strands. Massaging the oil into the scalp and leaving it nourish the hair is a traditional beauty practice believed to help make hair shed less and look thicker.

As people may find it a greasy and time-consuming treatment, hair care brands have developed quicker spray-and-massage treatments promising thicker-looking hair. The hair densifiers may contain medicinal herbs or the latest scientifically-proven ingredients.Whether they work or not, in general you have to keep on giving your head a daily massage with the hair lotion or scalp essence for at least three months _ all for the hope of glorious hair.