A dense head of hair is the result of equilibrium between loss and regrowth. Loss is a natural phenomenon – a healthy person loses between 50 and 125 hairs every day. Accelerated hair loss, which is scientifically deemed alopecia, is perceived as premature ageing and can have considerable effects on the quality of life of individuals affected.
Androgenetic alopecia is a frequent disorder affecting up to 30 percent of men younger than 30, and more than 50 percent of men older than 50. It is characterised by the progressive appearance of thinner, shorter and unpigmented hair, forming down-like hair. Genetic and hormonal factors are the two main culprits, causing hypersensitivity to the hormone, dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This is responsible for all biological modifications occurring within this disorder.
Certain environmental parameters may also contribute to the appearance of androgenetic alopecia. These include the repeated use of aggressive hair products, such as dyes and other chemical treatments, as well as smoking or exposure to UV3.
During androgenetic alopecia, the functions of the following three main regulation factors, which play a major role in hair regeneration, are deficient and/or defective4:
- The mitochondrial dynamics – Because hair growth is a process that consumes energy, this energy is provided by the mitochondria cells’ ‘power plants’. These are dynamic organelles whose morphological configuration determines energy production, which is an emerging concept in hair biology.
- The signalling molecules – These enable communication among cells. In hair follicles, they coordinate the actions of papilla fibroblasts and matrix keratinocytes to ensure hair growth.
- Epigenetics – This is a revolutionary mechanism that explains how the environment can determine the activity of genes. Several components are involved, including miRNAs, recently linked to the hair cycle.
Currently, two chemical molecules have been commercialised to treat androgenetic alopecia. Unfortunately, they are effective in less than half the cases and their side effects are considerable, being oily hair, the appearance of dandruff, skin irritations, and libido issues. So, there is a genuine need to find a new approach that favours hair growth while preventing the above-mentioned side effects.
Silab, represented in South Africa by Meganede, has developed and tested Hairgenyl, a 100 percent natural anti-hair loss active, which supports the biological activity of the dermal papilla. It also stimulates hair follicle growth to re-normalise its development.
Development of 2D and 3D models
To identify and demonstrate the efficacy of Hairgenyl, Silab developed 2D and 3D cell and tissue models mimicking androgenetic alopecia. The 2D model of fibroblasts from the dermal papilla was adopted to define Hairgenyl’s mechanism of action. The 3D tissue model of spheroids mimicking the architecture of the papilla and ex vivo studies on hair follicles (see Figure 1) was used to determine the effect of the active ingredient on the function of the dermal papilla. The biological modifications occurring during androgenetic alopecia were mimicked by treating certain models with dihydrotestosterone – a hormone classically used to induce these disorders.
Demonstrated in 2D and 3D models, Hairgenyl acts on the three main (aforementioned) regulation mechanisms of hair regrowth. Silab has proven for the first time that increasing mitochondrial fusion boosts the capacity for energy production, which is consumed in hair follicle growth. Tested at 0.04 percent on human hair follicle dermal papilla cells, Hairgenyl stimulates the synthesis of mitofusin 1, which is a protein involved in mitochondrial fusion, by +52 percent.
When tested on human hair follicle dermal papilla cells treated with DHT, Hairgenyl at 0.04 percent limits the expression of three signalling molecules in the microenvironment of the dermal papilla, essential for hair growth:
- IL-6 (interleukin-6) by -97 percent, which inhibits growth of the hair shaft
- DKK1 (Dickkopf 1) by -91 percent, an inhibitor of the Wnt/ß-catenin pathway that causes the hair cycle to enter latency
- P16 by -71 percent, an inhibitor of the cell cycle responsible for the premature senescence of dermal papilla fibroblasts.
In the components in epigenetics, 0.04 percent Hairgenyl was tested on human hair follicle dermal papilla cells treated with DHT. Results showed the active ingredient limits the expression of two miRNAs, the source genes, which are essential for hair growth. These are 3663-3p miRNA and let-7a-3p, by -50 and -89 percent respectively.
Hairgenyl provides an original and natural approach, reactivating the dermal papilla and stimulating hair follicle growth.
A double hair regrowth and anti-hair loss efficacy
An initial in vivo study was carried out with the phototrichogram to determine the hair regrowth effect of Hairgenyl formulated at 0.3 percent in a lotion (see Figure 2). This experiment was conducted on a panel of 22 male volunteers with slight to moderate alopecia (mean age of 43 ± eight years), applying the product twice a day for eight months. The following parameters were analysed: hair density; number of hairs in anagen phase (indicator of hair growth); anagen/telogen ratio (hair growth coefficient); and the number of hairs in telogen phase (indicator of resting hair).
The capacity of Hairgenyl to reactivate hair growth is proven after eight months of treatment; hair density increased by +24.9 percent (P = 0.0001). The number of hairs in anagen phase increased by +49.1 percent (P = 0.0001), whereas the number of hairs in the telogen phase decreased by -26.1 percent (P = 0.0001). This resulted in an increase of the A/T ratio of +112.7 percent (P = 0.0005).
A second in vivo study was conducted to determine the capacity of Hairgenyl, formulated at 0.3 percent in a lotion, to reduce hair loss in volunteers with slight to moderate alopecia. This wash test carried out by a professional hairdresser included 22 male volunteers (mean age of 43 ± eight years), who applied the product twice a day for eight months. In the conditions of this study, the lotion containing 0.3 percent Hairgenyl stabilised hair loss by limiting the number of hairs lost by -34.0 percent. This effect was observed in 85 percent of the volunteers.
A final self-evaluation by volunteers confirmed the efficacy of Hairgenyl. It considerably reduced hair loss in all the volunteers who tested the product.
They largely reported their hair was thicker (85 percent) and more resistant (95 percent), and their scalp was more densely covered (85 percent). All the volunteers (100 percent) found the product to be satisfying and desired to continue using Hairgenyl.
With proven efficacy on cell and tissue models that mimic androgenetic alopecia, Hairgenyl targets the three regulators of hair regrowth: the mitochondrial dynamics; expression of signalling molecules and components in epigenetics.
The active ingredient supports the biological activity of the dermal papilla and stimulates hair follicle growth to re-normalise hair development.
Tested over eight months on a group of male volunteers, Hairgenyl increased hair density and limited hair loss. Hair became thicker, more resistant and the scalp was more densely covered. This active ingredient from Silab is a technologically advanced solution that is proven to promote hair’s regrowth.