Our hair is always on display and one of the first things people see when they look at us. It’s a topic of conversation, and a way for us to bond with people we hardly know despite age, sex, and cultural barriers. As we get older, our bodies go through changes and our hair follows suit. Hair graying and thinning has been one of those things that “just happen with age,” without us knowing much about it, until now…
Recently, researchers accidentally pinpointed skin cells linked to gray hair and balding while they were conducting research on a specific type of cancer that affects nerve cells. The investigators believe their discovery could someday lead to new treatments to stop baldness and graying hair.
“Although this project was started in an effort to understand how certain kinds of tumors form, we ended up learning why hair turns gray and discovering the identity of the cell that directly gives rise to hair,” said study author Dr. Lu Le. He is an associate professor of dermatology at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.
“With this knowledge, we hope in the future to create a topical compound or to safely deliver the necessary gene to hair follicles to correct these cosmetic problems,” he explained in a university news release.
The researchers found that a protein called