A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Department of Dermatology, and published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, found that the number of hair follicle stem cells did not differ between those suffering from Androgenetic alopecia, more commonly known as male/female pattern baldness, and those who had a full head of hair. The study examined bald scalps and non-bald scalps, testing for the presence of hair follicle stem and progenitor cells, and found that while the number of hair follicle stem cells was the same between sample patients, the number of progenitor cells was lower for bald scalps than for non-bald scalps. These researchers concluded that balding is caused by inactive stem cells and a lower number of progenitor cells, thus leading these researchers and others to believe that a cure to Androgenetic alopecia is possible by targeting the reactivation of inactive stem cells, and thus promoting hair regrowth, in balding patients.
Stem cells are non-specialized cells with the unique ability to develop into different types of cells, essentially dividing multiple times over into different cells to repair or replace old cells. Hair follicle stem cells reside in the hair follicle bulge located in the skin and are responsible for hair follicle regrowth. Previous to this study, researchers believed that those who suffered from balding had fewer hair follicle stem cells due to the decrease in hair follicle size; however, the new research suggests that this is not the case.
While this study definitely gives hope to finding a cure for baldness in the future, currently the only permanent solution to restoring your hair and hairline is hair transplantation