According to research published in the journal PLOS Biology, a treatment originally developed to help osteoporosis may also help you restore those luscious locks. The study was conducted in a lab using human hair samples, but may be a viable treatment for people experiencing hair loss, according to study co-author Dr. Nathan Hawkshaw of the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom.
From prior research, Hawkshaw and his team knew that an osteoporosis treatment called Cyclosporine A happens to stimulate hair growth by inhibiting a protein called SFRP1, but the medication has too many side effects to be used as an actual solution for balding.
Armed with this knowledge, the researchers looked for similar compounds that would against the SFRP1 protein, which prevents hair from growing. They landed on another osteoporosis treatment known as WAY-316606, and tested it on hair samples from 40 patients undergoing hair transplant surgery.
The found that WAY-316606 inhibited the SFRP1 protein in a similar fashion, and promoted hair growth in as little as two days. But don’t get too excited: Although the study authors concluded that WAY-316606 has the “potential to treat human hair loss disorders,” it has only been tested on hair samples — not on actual, living humans.
Dr. David Silverstein, a dermatologist at Stony Brook University Hospital who wasn’t associated with the research, says this study is very preliminary.
“I’m not too excited about it from a clinical perspective,” he tells MensHealth.com. He acknowledges that the study was throughly conducted, but says it only shows that WAY-316606 works in theory.
“You can’t extrapolate this at all to any kind of human medicine,” he warns.
A clinical trial using people would need to be conducted to ensure that the solution is safe and effective, which Silverstein believes is years and years away.
There are already medications out there to treat baldness, but they certainly aren’t miracle drugs. Propecia — President Donald Trump’s hair loss drug of choice — comes with a few inconvenient side effects, including a loss in libido. Rogaine, meanwhile, may only be marginally effective.
While you wait for a surefire solution to hair loss, consider embracing your baldness. After all, bald guys may just be more confident and attractive.
By Melissa Matthew