Some people say that baldness is sexy, but for those who lose their hair it can be a very distressing thing.
It's available a series of remedies over-the-counter, but most of them don't focus on the primary causes: oxidative stress and poor circulation. Today, researchers have designed an experimental microneedle patch containing cerium nanoparticles to combat both problems.
The microneedle method (published on ACS Nano) on mouse models made hair grow back much faster than the best treatments.
A step back on baldness
The most common condition of hair loss is called Androgenetic alopeciaalso known as male or female pattern baldness.
For people with this condition, hair loss is permanent because there are not enough blood vessels surrounding the follicles to supply nutrients, cytokines and other essential molecules.
I ricercators Fangyuan Li, Jianqing Gao and colleagues determined that cerium-containing nanoparticles can mimic enzymes that reduce oxidative stress. However, these nanoparticles cannot cross the outermost layer of the skin. Hence the idea of microneedles.
Micro-needles against baldness
The researchers wanted to design a non-invasive way to deliver cerium-containing nanoparticles near the hair roots. Deep under the skin, to promote hair regrowth.
As a first step, the researchers coated the cerium nanoparticles with a biodegradable compound of polyethylene-lipid glycol. Then a made the microneedle soluble patch by pouring a mixture of hyaluronic acid, a naturally abundant substance in human skin, and cerium-containing nanoparticles into a mold.
The results achieved
The team tested cerium microneedles on male mice. Applications of the microneedle patch stimulated the formation of new blood vessels around the hair follicles of the mice.
Mice treated with this method also had fewer oxidative stress compounds in the skin. Finally, the researchers found that the cerium-containing patches resulted in regrowth with satisfactory coverage, density and diameter.
Ultimately, the researchers say, microneedle patches that introduce cerium nanoparticles into the skin are a promising strategy.