Author Bio: Dr. Sanusi Umar MD is the author of this article.
Hair multiplication also known as hair cloning has no standard method yet. Despite the 15 years of research by a number of scientists and institutions, the technology is still in its early stages.
The concept of hair cloning is the same across the board. It focuses on the ability to use existing hair strands to create new follicles that multiply and grow. Another focus is on the hair follicle stem cells. In the same vein, the ultimate promise of hair cloning is unlimited hair. In other words, the concept of hair cloning, theoretically, there are no limitations to the number of times a hair follicle can be multiplied.
The Hair Cloning Claims
While there are a number of practitioners and institutions, primarily overseas, alleging they’ve cracked into the innovative technology of hair cloning, it’s not true. Despite the deceptive claims, there is no new treatment for hair loss.
Because the laws are loose or nonexistent in some of those countries, their allegations of multiplication of any form are erroneous and misleading. Meanwhile, in the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration, FDA, and the Federal Trade Commission, FTC, actively monitors and prosecutes false and fraudulent medical claims, Dr. Umar explained.
“There are a number of hurdles researchers have to overcome before hair cloning becomes available to humans,” Dr. Sanusi Umar of Dr. U Hair and Skin in Manhattan Beach, Calif. said.
Popular Ways to Treat Thinning and Balding Hair
There are three ways to treat thinning hair and balding heads:
- FDA approved medication like Minoxidil and finasteride.
- Hair tonics and other natural hair products like Dr.UGro Gashee.
- Hair transplants, which has provided patients with long lasting results.
Anyone claiming hair multiplication, cloning or restoration outside of the current treatment options is unscrupulous and lying.
“Beware,” Dr. Umar said. “People have been swindled.”
Partial FUE Hair Transplant is Not Hair Multiplication or Hair Cloning
Patients undergo a hair transplant hoping to have hair. Willing to try anything in the name of their precious locks, some are eager to buy into the science of hair cloning with expectations that it will produce new hairs that no longer exist or existed.
Dr. Umar shared he was skeptical when learning about the claims of some centers in achieving hair multiplication through Follicular Unit Extraction, FUE. Once he reviewed the publications from such institutions, he determined they were practicing Partial Follicular Unit Extraction, PFUE.
“A PFUE is not considered hair cloning,” he explained.
According to Dr. Umar, some practitioners practicing PFUE are merely using very small FUE punches to split hair into two longitudinally. The small FUE creates smaller wounds that heal better and quicker. This also results in getting a two hair follicle, sometimes even a three hair follicle, to grow in donor areas as a single hair and another in the bald area. The problem is that there was no “new” hair follicle created. In other words, no hair multiplication has happened.
A PFUE is a blind process and increases the risk of follicle damage and no growth in either of the donor or recipient area. Consequently, a patient could lose a substantial amount of donor hair and end up with very thin, poor coverage in the recipient area.
“When you do small punches like that, ranging at the 0.6 0.5 millimeters,” Dr. Umar explained. “You’re going to have very thin coverage on your head and you’re going to have premature and severe donor depletion.”
One of Dr. Umar’s patients came to him after two unsuccessful FUE procedures with small punches. “The donor area was depleted and the coverage was insufficient,” he said. “We had to look into body hair transplantation to make up for what was not necessary and should not have happened.”
Hair Multiplication 2020 Status
In early March, Japanese company, Shiseido’s lead researcher, Dr. Ryoji Tsuboi, from Tokyo Medical University, released the latest clinical study on the safety and effectiveness of cell therapy technology or cell-based therapies using autologous or allogeneic cells used clinically for thinning hair.
Stem cell hair transplants are similar to current hair transplant procedures. The striking difference is that the follicles are replicated in a lab and then transplanted back onto the scalp in the balding areas. Furthermore, the transplanted hair as well as the donor hair follicle will grow.
According to Tsuboi’s open statements to the media in native Japanese language, the study treated male and female pattern hair loss between ages 33-64. In Tsuboi’s report he said the research entailed injecting using autologous cell based therapy (a patient’s cells) and dermal sheath cups, DSC, cells that surrounds the dermal papilla, DP. The results were positive, but only lasted six to nine months after treatment.
“The result of our study was very encouraging,” Tsuboi said. “We were able to show that the study could help develop a new treatment for hair loss.”
As to “when the technology will be available to practice” – there’s no official timeline or date.
“We don’t know when hair cloning will become a reality,” Dr. Umar said. “but it’s coming.”
FAQ – Hair Multiplication
When will hair cloning be available and how much will it cost?
Nothing is set in stone. Hair cloning is still a technology in its research phase. Though there have been some advances, there hasn’t been a reliable breakthrough.
What if I have severe baldness with limited donor hair and need something like hair cloning, can I still restore my hair?
Since there is no established practice of hair cloning/hair multiplication, it wouldn’t be an option. But there are current FDA and FTC treatments that can help with severe baldness and thinning hair. There are medications like Minoxidil and finasteride and as well as a variety of natural hair products and tonics. In more severe cases, some patients have opted for hair transplants. At Dr. U Hair and Skin Clinic, Dr. U uses the advanced hair transplant systems – Dr. UGraft Zeus ™, which has the ability to extract hair from anywhere on the head, beard and body transplanting. Because of the advanced Follicular Unit Extraction hair transplant devices, Dr. Umar is able to tailor the hair’s growth, density and shape – and still provide patients with a the most natural look.