Researchers Pinpoint the Cause of Gray & Thinning Hair

May 8, 2017 at 10:04 a.m. ET
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At this stage, we know that to a certain extent, going gray and losing hair is genetic. But researchers are now one step closer to identifying the specific skin cells that make this happen, which may change the way we treat both conditions.

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Initially, the research — which took place at UT Southwestern Medical Center — was looking into how certain kinds of tumors formed, but in the process, scientists learned why hair turns gray and falls out according to Dr. Lu Le, associate professor of dermatology at UT Southwestern.

Using what they discovered, the researchers hope to create a topical solution to safely apply the necessary gene to the follicles to help with hair loss and graying. Their next step is to find out whether these skin cells stop working as people age, which would explain hair graying and thinning as a part of the aging process.

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With hair products like dye and hair loss remedies being part of a multibillion-dollar beauty industry, any clues about the causes of these common hair problems could mean major changes to our current hair routines.

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