While balding is a natural and expected part of human life, it can also be an embarrassing problem for some men and even some women. Even setting aside the lack of aesthetic appeal of hairstyles like the combover, thinning hair can leave your head feeling chilly on those cool winter mornings. While there have been some miracle cures designed to stop hair loss, and in a few cases even regrow hair, you can’t be sure what you’re going to get, because the effectiveness of such products varies from person to person, and these remedies can get quite expensive over time.
But what if there was a better option? One that not only was sure to work, but was also readily available and affordable? A cure like that could completely change the conversation around baldness. Perhaps already we’re closer to an answer than we think, as a potential cure has arisen from a most unlikely source: McDonald’s French fries. Fast food probably isn’t the first place you’d look for a cure for anything, except maybe hunger, but there is a method using an ingredient in McDonald’s fries that has shown some promising results with mice. Some signs suggest that it’ll work for humans, too.
According to Japanese stem cell scientists from Yokohama National University, there’s an ingredient used in McDonald’s fries that may reverse baldness by creating new hair follicles. The chemical in question is known as dimethylpolysiloxane. It’s a type of silicone that McDonalds adds to their fries so that the cooking oil does not froth up when the fries are put into the fryer. Apparently, the study was considered a significant success, as this chemical was used in the mass production of hair follicle germs (HFGs). As you might imagine, HFGs are a key component in dealing with baldness.
If you’re curious about the specifics of the study, it all comes down to the base of the culture vessel. In this experiment, the scientists employed dimethylpolysiloxane as a substrate material to secure the foundation of the culture vessel. This lead to the formation of 5,000 HFGs, which were then transferred onto a mouse in a sort of chip form. By applying the HFGs this way, scientists discovered that the HFGs were able to create hair follicles as well as hair shafts, which of course led to the sprouting of hair from the bodies of the formerly nude mice.
Now, mice aren’t people. While some aspects of mice hair are similar humans, there are differences that must be accounted for when one is applying research and results from animal cases to human ones. As a next step, the team is considering the use of human keratinocytes, as well as dermal papilla cells, in order to induce HFG formation in humans. As an added bonus, the procedure appears to be rather simple, so if it works, it will hopefully be easy to implement. Ideally, success here will improve the outlook of those who happen to be balding.
While this experiment has provided some significant promise for dealing with baldness in humans, there is still quite a long way to go before something like this hits the market. That being said, as mentioned earlier, if and when it does, it will likely be a game changer. As it is, combating baldness via the currently available treatments is rather expensive, whether they are oral or topical medications, or even more expensive options such as hair grafts applied to the scalp. Hopefully, this research leads to a more effective, more affordable treatment option, as well as one that’s fast-acting, too.