Aging of hair

Authors


Ralph M Trüeb, MD, Department of Dermatology and Hair Consultation Clinic, University Hospital of Zurich, Gloriastr. 31, 8091 Zurich, Switzerland. E-mail: ralph.trueeb@usz.ch

Summary

The appearance of hair plays an important role in people's overall physical appearance and self-perception. With today's increasing life expectation, the desire to look youthful plays a bigger role than ever. The hair care industry has become aware of this and also more capable to deliver active products that are directed toward meeting this consumer demand. The discovery of pharmacological targets and the development of safe and effective drugs also indicate strategies of the drug industry for maintenance of healthy and beautiful hair. Hair aging comprises weathering of the hair shaft and aging of the hair follicle. The latter manifests as decrease of melanocyte function or graying, and decrease in hair production in androgenetic and senescent alopecia. The scalp is also subject to intrinsic or physiologic aging and extrinsic aging caused by external factors. Intrinsic factors are related to individual genetic and epigenetic mechanisms with interindividual variation. Prototypes are familial premature graying and androgenetic alopecia. Extrinsic factors include ultraviolet radiation and smoking. Experimental evidence supports the hypothesis that oxidative stress plays a role in skin and hair aging. Topical anti-aging compounds for hair include humefactants, hair conditioners, photoprotectors, and antioxidants. Current available treatment modalities with proven efficacy for treatment of androgenetic alopecia are topical minoxidil, oral finasteride, and autologous hair transplantation. In the absence of another way to reverse hair graying, hair colorants are the mainstays of recovering lost hair color. Topical liposome targeting for melanins, genes, and proteins selectively to hair follicles are under current investigation.

Ancillary