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McDonald's Fries Chemical May Restore Hair

by Jane Meggitt

Japanese researchers recently discovered a chemical used in McDonald’s fries can help restore hair. That does not mean people with hair loss should descend on Mickey Dee’s daily and gorge on French fries. Nor does it mean they should rub French fries on their heads. Those actions will either end up with you gaining weight, experiencing skin breakouts, or causing you to smell like French fry grease – all of which are worse than hair loss. Research is ongoing, and so far, the mice treated with the chemical, silicone, have regrown considerable hair.

Do You Want Fries with That?

McDonald’s uses silicone, also known as dimethylpolysiloxane, in small amounts to prevent oil from foaming in its French fries, fish and Chicken McNuggets. Scientists at Yokohama National University were able to mass-produce “hair follicles germs” on mice after using the chemical at the bottom of a culture vessel, the first time they had used this material in a substrate. This method created 5,000 hair follicle germs, with scientists then implanting about 300 of these germs on a chip that was then inserted into the backs of rodents, so-called nude mice. Within days after the insertion, black hair sprouted on the backs and scalps of the mice.

A Simple Method

Japanese scientists call the implantation method simple and promising. Professor Junji Fukuda, a lead researcher in the study, told Newsweek magazine, “We hope this technique will improve human hair regenerative therapy to treat hair loss such as androgenic alopecia (male pattern baldness). In fact, we have preliminary data that suggests human hair follicle germ formation using human keratinocytes and dermal papilla cells." When hair follicle germs will undergo human trials isn’t clear at this time. However, the researchers think such treatments would work well on people.

Not Dimethylpolysiloxane Alone

Although dimethylpolysiloxane is key to the hair regrowth in mice, it’s just part of the formulation. The chemical didn’t actually stimulate follicle rejuvenation per se, but its inclusion in the substrate allowed the hair germ follicles to take root, so to speak.

Potentially Huge Demand

If dimethylpolysiloxane turns out to work as well on humans as it does on mice, the potential demand is overwhelming. Currently, the hair loss market is worth approximately $6 billion annually. Today’s treatments consist of over-the-counter and prescription topical medications, along with laser therapy and hair transplantation. Tomorrow’s techniques might include a well-known chemical for which science has found a new use.

If you or someone you know would like to learn more 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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