May 30, 2023

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Alopecia: Why does hair fall out and what strategies does science offer to reverse the process? | Baldness is a psychosocial stigma

In a world marked by aesthetics, grooming and maintenance, one of the most frequent concerns for men and women is hair loss. Alopecia is a disorder characterized by loss of hair mass and hair loss It affects 40 to 50 percent of the world’s population. Hair, as happens with organs and tissues, ages and loses thickness and strength over time.

Alopecia is a problem that has been identified throughout the history of mankind. Man, for centuries, has been after cures or treatments aimed at stopping hair loss. Although it responds to different causes, the most common is androgenic: it is associated with the activation of an enzyme (5 alpha reductase) that converts testosterone and activates intracellular signals related to hair loss. Then there are other types like alopecia Ariata It has an immunological component and can affect children; And, on the other hand, the phenomenon associated with the so-called Telogen effluvium: Hair loss due to taking drugs (anti-coagulant, anti-hypertensive, anti-convulsant) or stress that develops after facing a stressful situation.

“Hair has a cycle: an anagen phase of full growth, which lasts three to four years; and, on the other hand, a catagen phase lasting weeks, where part of the hair begins to separate and prepare to fall out. Then, it finally falls into the telogen phase, which lasts several months” He explains. Claudia Anesini, CONICET Principal Investigator at the Institute for Medicinal Chemistry and Metabolism. About 85 percent of the hair is in the anagen phase, 1 percent is in the catagen phase, and the remaining 14 percent is in the telogen phase. In a phenomenon known as telogen effluvium, the anagen phase shifts to the telogen phase and hair falls out. The Drugs combined with chemotherapyBeing cell proliferation inhibitors, they directly affect the anagen phase and weaken the hair when it is in full swing.

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Healing plants

Plants have accompanied the development of civilizations since the beginning: humans, historically, have cured their conditions from some that were invented for medicinal purposes. Therefore, finding solutions from soil is nothing new to societies or to science, which began to isolate compounds from the 18th and 19th centuries. Currently, it has turned to the use of raw extracts, aiming to use all the benefits that nature has to offer in the forest.

Ten years ago, the Konizet team teamed up with an SME (Carre Guevara Laboratories) to market a formula Zarilla as a platform, stop the fall and strengthen the hair. “The advantages of Ecohair are that it is a natural product made with the base of Larrea Divaricata, popularly known as Jarilla. It is a plant that we did not choose by chance, but that we have been studying for many years,” says Anesini, who has been dedicated to the phytochemical composition and pharmacology of medicinal plants since 1992.

In fact, Anesini based his doctoral thesis on the plant, with the aim of monitoring its antitumor and anti-inflammatory effects. “After knowing the characteristics of the plant, let’s see what happened to the hair. At a preliminary stage, we verified that it is effective in stimulating hair growth. At the same time, we have seen a reduction in falls”, he points out. Then he continues: “Then, We confirm it clinically in patients with androgenic alopecia and areata. We found that growth was stimulated in 85 percent of people who tried it. At the same time, an important fact is that we managed through the formula to avoid creating adverse effects such as irritation. The results were disseminated a decade ago Dermatological Pharmacology and PhysiologyOfficial organ of the Swiss Dermopharmacy Society.

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“The good thing about all of this is that from a research that arose in the laboratory, we were finally able to get a substance that is now used by many people.” This work, later patented by Konizet and christened Ecohair, is a good example of public-private articulation.

There is a formula that is used as a shampoo and another formula that is used as a lotion and is reserved for more complex cases because it penetrates the scalp better. Currently, lotion is used Post-chemotherapy capillary recovery with excellent results. In parallel, the group integrated by Anesini utilizes the benefits of Zarilla, which acts as a skin healer and is particularly useful for psoriasis patients who want to reduce redness and inflammation.

Many are stigmatized

“Alopecia is a social problem, there are people who are greatly affected and there is nothing effective and long-lasting. “Examples published on the market act as inhibitors, but also produce many adverse effects,” notes Anesini. By blocking testosterone, in men, they are capable of producing sexual problems such as erectile dysfunction. In the same way, there are compounds that act as vasodilators for the same purpose, causing harmful cardiac effects.

While some individuals accept hair loss as an inevitable part of life, others face it with anxiety and despair. A study conducted by researchers at University of Nottingham Refers to the psychological impact on individuals experiencing hair loss. 1,400 people participated in the study and it was concluded that those suffering from hair loss “lose their identity and feel like someone else”. They have also said The psychological impact of hair loss can be severe, especially in women, and can include loss of identity, social phobia, low self-esteem, anxiety and depression.”. Also, a fact worth highlighting: “Victims feel that doctors do not take them seriously, which leaves them depressed and emotionally isolated.”

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