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Does Damage to DNA Cause Hair Loss?

by April Maguire

If you’re hoping to hold on to a full head of hair for the rest of your life, the odds are not in your favor. In general, more than 50% of men experience a noticeable amount of hair loss by the time they reach 50 years old, and that percentage only increases with age. Similarly, more than half of all women will see their hair start to thin at some point in their lives.

Most of us accept this hair loss as a natural part of the aging process, but there are underlying factors that cause it. Recently, scientists around the world have started to examine whether or not damage done to DNA could contribute to hair loss later in life.

Research Studies

Researchers have taken different approaches in trying to link damaged DNA to hair loss. For example, a team in the United States found that a stem cell gene, COL17AL, is instrumental in the growth of new hair. In fact, mice that were engineered without this crucial gene failed to produce hair follicle stem cells. Therefore, it stands to reason that damage to this gene could contribute to hair loss in humans.

Meanwhile, another study performed by researchers from the Netherlands and Japan found similar results in damaged follicle stem cells. In this study, the team learned that damage to the DNA of follicle stem cells sometimes turned them into skin cells. Naturally, this change would result in fewer hair-generating follicles, more scalp cells, and overall thinner hair.

Avoiding Damage

If damage to follicles can adversely affect hair growth, what are the best ways to protect your flowing locks? For starters, experts recommend avoiding practices that have been proven to inhibit hair growth. Routinely using artificial dyes, pulling your hair into tight styles and overheating it during styling can all do serious damage to your follicles, limiting their ability to produce new hairs. Additionally, you want to make sure that your scalp is properly hydrated and not overly oily. Rather than using products that are loaded with synthetic ingredients, which may adversely affect your body’s oil production, stick to all-natural shampoos, conditioners, and masks.

While using the right products and avoiding harmful practices may not make up for pre-existing damage to your follicle cells, these measures are a good way to keep that damage from getting worse. In general, if you take proper care of your hair and keep your scalp and follicles healthy, you will give yourself the best possible chance to hold onto your hair well into old age.

If you or someone you know would like more information about hair loss and how to treat it, please feel free to schedule a consultation or contact one of our representatives today!

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