Hair cloning may sound like something out of a sci-fi novel, but, in reality, it may be something you find on offer at your local hair restoration clinic one day.
While we currently have some pretty solid treatments for hair loss including Finasteride, Minoxidil, or even realistic hair transplants, scientists are hoping to take the next leap into cloned hair follicles one day.
Below, we will cover just what hair cloning is, how this treatment might differ from a hair transplant, is hair cloning is currently available, and what we do know about this potential future treatment so far.
Hair cloning is an idea for a future hair treatment that consists of a doctor collecting some of your actively growing hair follicles (along with the attached stem cells and progenitor cells), replicating them in a lab setting, and then reinserting your (now multiplied) active hair follicles into the parts of your scalp that need more hair growing.
While this sounds great, the studies that we have on such a procedure have not quite sussed out all of the details yet, including if this will work, how healthy and realistic the results will look, if the hairs grown will survive long term, and how to get the hairs to grow in the correct direction out of the scalp.
Hair transplants are currently the best option to recover the look of a fuller head of hair once your hair loss has progressed past a certain point.
So, just how would hair cloning differ from the current hair transplant techniques?
The biggest difference between these two methods is that a hair transplant usually consists of doctors transferring some of the hair which is still growing well from the back and sides (“horseshoe” shaped) sides of the head to the top, front, and crown of the head where balding can be extensive. This means that after a hair transplant using your own hair follicles, you technically aren’t adding any new hair follicles to the scalp, you are just spreading them out from the thicker areas to the thinner ones to give the appearance of a fuller head of hair. However, with the ideas behind hair cloning (if we can fully figure it out), your exact hair follicle stem stems may be able to replicate themselves indefinitely. This may open up the possibility of hair procedures to men who have very little hair left on the back of the head to transfer, or for women who tend to develop an all-over-thinning type of hair loss.
Basically, instead of the collection and direct transfer of hair follicles with a transplant, a hair cloning procedure may look more like the following:
collect (some) of your current hair follicles → multiply follicles in a lab → insert more follicles than were extracted
Hair cloning is not currently available as of early 2022. However, that is not due to a lack of companies and scientists looking into the possibilities of the technology.
Studies and companies have been trying to piece together the information on this (potentially very profitable) procedure since the early 2010s.
So far, studies have shown that the stem cells within the “bulge” of the hair follicles produce progenitor cells, which are ultimately the ones responsible for the growth of a hair. Later, another study displayed the ability to coax these hair-generating dermal papilla cells into growth when culturing them on 3D culture environments (the usual 2D petri dishes were not working out).
The closest we have come currently is through a company called Stemson Therapeutics in 2019, when they released information about the successful growth of human hairs from implanted dermal papilla cells in mice.
There is not currently a cloned hair technique available to the public, although there is clearly a race to make this a future possibility.
If we are able to figure out the science behind making this idea a reality, it may turn out to be another surgical option for men and women who have lost hair and need a larger quantity of hair follicles to complete their desired look.
Hair cloning technology is currently still in the research stages, and more information on the potential pro, cons, side effects, and upkeep of the procedure will likely develop as more information comes in and a standard technique is developed. Basically, it’s still early days for this potential hair loss treatment.
If you are currently dealing with hair loss and you are looking into the available options, you probably don’t have the time to wait 5, 10, 15+ years for hair cloning to (possibly) become a reality.
Depending on the amount of hair you currently have, your options may be for medications to help slow the progression of androgenetic alopecia hair loss, or a hair transplant.
Here at Strut, we offer a variety of hair loss treatments for men and women. We carry oral and topical treatments with customizable ingredients and strengths to help you get the best option for your hair. By utilizing ingredients like Finasteride, Dutasteride, Spironolactone, Minoxidil, Tretinoin, and Biotin, we may be able to slow your patterned hair loss progression and help you retain your hair.
If you are interested in seeing if a hair loss medication is a good fit for you, you can have a free online questionnaire and image-based consultation with our U.S. licensed doctors today. If you are a good fit for treatment, your medication can be shipped to your front door with our free shipping.