Research scientists suggest a chemical used in perfumes can trigger hair growth. Research tests so far have been using scalp tissue. They are more than encouraged they could be on the verge of an effective hair loss treatment.
“This is actually a rather amazing finding,” said Professor Ralf Paus. Aa scientist at the University of Manchester. He led the research and told The Independent newspaper.
“This is the first time ever that it has been shown that the remodelling of a normal human mini-organ [a hair] can be regulated by a simple, cosmetically widely-used odorant.”
Results were found by applying their synthetic sandalwood odorant to scalp tissue. They could both increase hair growth and decrease cell death. This was enough to generate the “substantial. Clinically relevant functional hair growth effects”, as documented in their Nature Communications paper.
Hair follicles have the ability to smell
Intriguingly, the results suggest that human hair follicles can “smell”. In the sense that they make use of ancient smell receptors. To control key functions such as growth.
To achieve these results, the scientists tapped into an ancient chemical pathway. Found in hair follicles that allowed them to both slow down the death of these precious structures and promote their growth.
They did this using an unlikely substance. Known as Sandalore, a chemical produced to recreate the smell of sandalwood. Which is often used to make perfumes and soaps.
The smell is a sensation triggered when molecules of “odorant” chemicals are recognised by special cells in the nose. But the processes underpinning this phenomenon are not confined to the nasal passages.
The researchers focused on a receptor called OR2AT4. Which is known to be stimulated by Sandalore. Which can be found in the outer layer of hair follicles.
According to Professor Paus, however, his latest discovery is “not far at all” from being applied in a clinical context for hair loss. “Sandalore is already offered as a cosmetic product in Italy by the company that has co-sponsored the current study,” he said.
“A very small, short and preliminary clinical pilot study performed by an independent CRO [contract research organisation] in 20 female volunteers with topical Sandalore has already suggested a reduction of daily hair loss.”
Now, the researchers have a larger scale, professionally-controlled clinical trial underway, and they expect to see results by the beginning of next year.