Few things on Earth trigger fear and displeasure in men like hair loss.
Reversing the effects of baldness is a dream that travels on board a cloud perpetually on everyone's head, but it could become reality and end up directly in a hat.
It is the purpose of one of the latest discoveries about hair regrowth: a low-cost, non-invasive stimulation device developed by engineers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
"I find it a very practical solution for hair regeneration," says Xudong Wang, professor of engineering and materials science at UW-Madison.
How it works
The baldness treatment device follows the principle of obtaining energy from the daily movement of the body and stimulates the skin with low frequency electrical impulses, which awaken dormant follicles to reactivate their hair production.
The device is unable to grow new hair with completely smooth skin, but it reactivates the structures still present, albeit in sleep.
In a nutshell, it means that it works very well in people who are in the early stages of baldness (when alopecia is still patchy, or localized). No chance to show off soft curls: there is no cure for the baldness of someone who has become a billiard ball for several years now.
Being powered by movement of the wearer, the device does not require batteries or special electronic fittings: it is so discreet that it can be placed inside a simple hat.
Wang is a world-renowned expert in the design and creation of devices that collect energy from the context. He is a pioneer of electronic patch which stimulates the healing of wounds, and of weight loss systems which, through slight electrical impulses, induce the sensation of satiety.
Hair regrowth technology is based on the same paradigm: small devices called nanogenerators passively draw energy from everyday movements. It then uses this energy to transmit impulses to the skin, and gently awaken the "sleeping hair".
"Electrical stimulation can help many different body functions," says Wang. "Before this study, there was no viable solution to combine the collection of passive energy and the use of low frequency pulses."
Kindness above all
The electrical impulses produced by the Madison device are so gentle and gentle that they do not penetrate deep layers of the skin. They stay on the surface where they are needed, and do not cause any unwanted flaps. It is an extraordinary advantage over other baldness treatments like the drug Propecia, which alongside the results carries risks of erectile dysfunction, anxiety and depression.
In tests on mice, the device stimulated hair growth obtaining results as effective as those of the two main medical substances for regrowth: goodbye baldness, but without side effects.
Researchers have patented concepts and functions at the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, and are now preparing the human test.