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While it is expected that we lose between 50-100 hairs each day [1], a number that gradually increases as we age, losing too much hair without regrowth can lead to premature balding. Although hair loss is not often openly discussed, this is a very common issue that affects roughly 6.5 million men and 8 million women in the UK alone [2].

Whether you have recently started noticing hair loss or have a family history of premature balding, the question that has likely crossed your mind is; “Is there a cure for baldness?”. At KSL Clinic, we are here to answer this question, and — as hair restoration experts — we are here to guide you through what baldness is, what causes it, and whether it can be treated.

What is Baldness?

Generally, balding refers to excessive hair loss from the scalp. It can have many causes, from medical conditions to hormones or even the passage of time. Many of us experience hereditary hair loss with age, but it can occur anytime. When this hair loss occurs in younger people, we call it ‘premature balding’.

While many experience temporary hair loss, which can regrow within a few weeks or months, others may suffer from long-term baldness that requires FUE treatment to see improvement.

Is there a cure for baldness?

The answer to this question is more complex than you might think. Although there is a wide variety of treatments that can significantly reduce the appearance of hair loss, there isn’t currently a ‘cure’ for baldness. A cure implies that the treatment will always be effective and that this hair loss will never reappear.

Unfortunately, we haven’t found a permanent ‘cure’ for baldness at this point. However, we have many ways to manage the symptoms of hair loss and help to disguise baldness. These results of treatments can often last between 10 and 15 years but are not a permanent solution to the problem and will likely need to be repeated several times during your lifetime.

Related reading – is a hair transplant permanent?

crown hair transplant before and after 4Why isn’t there a cure for baldness?

The main reason for the delay in finding a baldness cure is that hair loss can be caused by many different reasons, making finding an effective, permanent solution more difficult.

With so many factors contributing to hair loss, it’s unlikely that there will be a one-size-fits-all solution that will deliver consistent results for everyone. In addition, some health conditions are unfortunately likely to continue causing hair loss even after treatment, so the focus is typically on curing the ailment rather than the balding itself.

Will there be a cure for baldness in the future?

Although it seems unlikely that a bald cure will appear any time soon, the good news is that researchers across the globe continue to be committed to finding a permanent solution to hair loss. As time goes on, we understand more and more about what causes hair loss and the potential ways we can counteract it. However, we are still far from finding a permanent cure.

As discussed, balding is a widespread condition that not only affects the physical appearance of both men and Women, it has a huge impact on mental health. Dr Matee says:

dr matee - hair transplant surgeonHair loss is not only a physical issue for my clients, but also very much a mental health issue too.

A person’s hair is one of the first things you see, so losing your hair for whatever the reason might be, can actually be very distressing.

So many of my patients tell me just how much a procedure has improved their mental health and how they feel about themselves.

What causes premature hair loss?

There is a wide range of causes for premature hair loss; some may be far more predisposed to experience balding than others. Some of the most common reasons that someone may lose their hair include:

What causes premature hair loss?

1. Genetics

Unfortunately, your genetics could make you more susceptible to premature hair loss. In particular, androgenetic alopecia, known as ‘male pattern baldness’, is a hereditary hair loss condition within your genetic makeup. This is also the case for ‘female pattern baldness’. Those who suffer from androgenetic alopecia have hair follicles that are far more sensitive to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This hormone shrinks the hair follicles, causing hair to become thinner and eventually fall out.

2. Ethnicity

While it may come as a surprise, your ethnicity can play a role in determining whether or not you will lose your hair prematurely. A 2023 study found that white men are far more likely to experience balding than those of other ethnicities.[3] Of course, there is no guarantee that you will lose your hair simply because of your ethnicity. However, it is worthwhile to take precautions if you believe you are at risk of premature balding.

3. Biological Sex

Your biological sex can also determine whether you are more likely to lose your hair prematurely. As a general rule, pattern baldness is becoming increasingly prominent in men, with far fewer women experiencing this form of hair loss. On the other hand, women more often experience temporary hair loss, with the main exception being women who also possess the FPB gene — otherwise known as the ‘female pattern baldness gene’.[4]

4. Hormonal Changes

Your hormones have a significant role to play when it comes to hair loss and regrowth. DHT is a byproduct of testosterone that can bind to hair follicles, causing them to shrink.

This, in turn, can cause those genetically predisposed to lose hair. DHT typically binds itself to hair follicles in a patterned way in both men and women, meaning it is easy to identify pattern baldness caused by dihydrotestosterone using the Hamilton-Norwood scale for men [5] and the Ludwig scale for women.[6] Both scales measure the severity of hair loss and are used by hair restoration surgeons to determine the best course of treatment.

5. Environmental Factors

Our environment can also affect hair loss, with factors such as pollutants, exposure to cigarette smoke, and consuming a nutritionally low diet all contributing to hair loss. Inadequate nutrition can often lead to thinning hair, as our bodies naturally need a balanced variety of vitamins and proteins to carry out our hair growth cycle.

6. Health Conditions

Several health conditions can lead to premature balding, with the primary culprit being alopecia areata. This autoimmune disorder causes the immune system to mistakenly identify hair follicles as a foreign body and eradicate them. For those wondering, ‘Can alopecia be cured?’, the good news is that this hair loss is usually only temporary. However, it can still be distressing to those suffering from it.

Alopecia areata causes total baldness on either the head or beard in the shape and size of a 10p to 50p coin. Due to the nature of the illness, a hair transplant is not recommended for treating hair loss of this type; some medications can help stimulate hair growth more quickly.

7. Medication

Some medications can prompt premature balding in specific individuals, including chemotherapy drugs, antidepressants, acne treatments, birth control, and even antibiotics.[7] This hair loss is often temporary, though it can also be permanent depending on the severity of the hair loss and any possible damage to the scalp.

8. Hair Styling

While everyday brushing is essential to maintain hair condition, excessive styling can cause hair loss in some cases. In particular, hairstyles that place pressure on the scalp — such as tight braids or hair extensions — can put excessive weight on the hair follicles and may cause them to be pulled out of the scalp.[8] This is often known as ‘traction alopecia’.

The latest discoveries in the search for a cure

One of the most significant discoveries in the search for a hair loss cure occurred in 2023 when researchers revealed that they had identified several ‘caveman genes’ that caused humans to become hairless, unlike other mammals.[9] Although this doesn’t immediately pave the way for a cure, it does help us understand the evolution of human hair — which could eventually lead us to a cure for baldness.

Additionally, there has been significant research on stem cells and their use in hair restoration published in 2022. These crucial cells allow our bodies to repair themselves after injury, transforming into the required cells and multiplying. Interestingly, hair follicles are the only cells in the human body that actively regenerate, regardless of damage. This is due to a protein called TGF-beta, responsible for both the hair follicle’s regeneration and death. Researchers are now trying to understand the link between the protein and hair follicle health.[10]

There is also reason to believe reduced stress is essential to hair growth. A study on animals published in 2021 found that removing the adrenal gland from mice caused their hair growth to increase threefold.[11] The adrenal gland produces cortisol when you’re stressed, suppressing a vital hair growth hormone called Gas6. Reducing cortisol by removing the adrenal gland led to higher production of Gas6 and better hair growth.

Balding solutions to encourage hair growth

Hair loss can be a distressing ailment, causing a loss of confidence and higher stress levels. Thankfully, a range of treatments available on the market can encourage hair growth and help you reduce the appearance of balding. While these treatments aren’t permanent, they are effective — delivering fantastic results that can rebuild your confidence.

FUE (follicular unit extraction) hair transplants are a popular treatment option for encouraging new hair growth. During these minimally invasive procedures, healthy hair follicles are extracted from a donor area — usually on the back of the head — and transplanted to the regrowth area. At KSL Clinic, we perform FUE transplants that are carried out by our expert surgeons at clinics across the UK.

male before and after hair results

Related Reading: Before and after hair transplant results 

Laser Light Therapy is another common hair restoration method, using medical-grade red light lasers to stimulate the scalp and encourage new hairs to grow. This solution is popular with those experiencing pattern baldness, as the lasers can target particular areas without surgery.

In addition to treatment, there are a range of medications on the market that can reduce the appearance of hair loss and prompt new hair follicles to grow. These include:

  • Finasteride — This drug prevents the body from converting testosterone into DHT, which means less of the hormone reaching your hair follicles.[12]
  • Minoxidil — This drug dilates the blood vessels around balding spots or areas with thinner hair, encouraging blood flow to the hair follicles.
  • Dutasteride — This drug does the same thing as Finasteride and is usually used as an alternative if patients don’t see any improvement after using Finasteride first.[13]
  • Ketoconazole — This is an anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal medication that is often prescribed in shampoo form. This drug has been known to improve hair growth in those experiencing male pattern baldness.[14]
  • Caffeine shampoo — Specific caffeinated shampoos designed for hair loss can help reinvigorate the scalp and promote hair regrowth.[15]

Hair loss cure FAQs

Why isn’t there a cure for baldness?

Unfortunately, a vast web of varying factors causes hair loss, and no two cases of premature balding are the same. Because of this, finding a cure that addresses every root cause is a highly complicated process. Additionally, research into cosmetic issues — such as hair loss — typically receives less funding than research into medical conditions.

Can stem cells cure baldness?

Currently, there is no cure for baldness. However, there is promising research into the relationship between stem cells and hair follicles, which could mean that we see a cure in years to come.

If baldness runs in my family, will I go bald?

Genetics are crucial in determining whether someone may experience male pattern baldness (MPB) or female pattern baldness (FPB). This does, unfortunately, mean that you are likely to be more predisposed to premature hair loss if your family members also lost their hair at a young age.

What is the best treatment for male pattern baldness?

There are an assortment of treatments available for male pattern baldness. Some of the best medical combinations include Finasteride, taken orally, and Minoxidil, which is used as a topical cream or ointment. Minoxidil is also available to help female patients experiencing FPB, though Finasteride is not suitable to be taken by women.

Hair restoration with KSL Clinic

At KSL Clinic, we understand that losing your hair can be distressing. That’s why we are committed to helping everyone achieve their hair restoration goals, whether you’re suffering from pattern baldness or traction alopecia.

Our clinics provide a range of treatments designed to help you achieve your desired outcome as simply and effectively as possible. We have been recognised by both the General Medical Council and the Care Quality Commission for our outstanding patient care and state-of-the-art treatments.

If you’re ready to start your hair growth journey and learn more about how we can assist you with your hair regrowth, contact us today to schedule your free consultation with one of our hair loss specialists.

Sources

  1. Hair loss
  2. Hair Loss in the UK: what the facts and statistics tell us
  3. Male Androgenic Alopecia
  4. Is There a Cure for Baldness?
  5. The Norwood Scale
  6. The Ludwig Scale
  7. Medications That Can Cause Hair Loss
  8. Traction alopecia
  9. Complementary evolution of coding and noncoding sequence underlies mammalian hairlessness
  10. A probabilistic Boolean model on hair follicle cell fate regulation by TGF-β
  11. Corticosterone inhibits GAS6 to govern hair follicle stem-cell quiescence
  12. ISHRS Practice Census 2022
  13. A randomized, active- and placebo-controlled study of the efficacy and safety of different doses of dutasteride versus placebo and finasteride in the treatment of male subjects with androgenetic alopecia
  14. Topical ketoconazole for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia: A systematic review
  15. Caffeine and Its Pharmacological Benefits in the Management of Androgenetic Alopecia: A Review
Michelle

Social Media Marketing Manager here at KSL Clinic.