Japanese scientists confident bee propolis can help hair re-growth

By Michelle Yeomans

- Last updated on GMT

Japanese scientists confident bee propolis can help hair re-growth

Related tags Hair loss

Propolis, a resin-like substance used by honeybees to seal small crevices in their hives, has been found to encourage hair growth in mice. 

Japanese scientists believe the material could contain important clues for reversing hair loss in humans.

According to the research team, while propolis was tested on mice, hair loss is often the result of inflammation and while further testing is necessary, this substance contains anti-inflammatory elements and the scientists believe it can reverse the balding effect.

"Propolis could promote the growth of cells that contribute to hair growth,​" says lead author Ken Kobayaski.

The study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry​, revealed that the team that gave topical applications of propolis to mice that had been shaved or waxed, grew their fur back faster than those that weren't given the application.

"Propolis treatment stimulated migration of hair matrix keratinocytes into the hair shaft in HFs during late anagen in the depilated back skin. Organotypic culture of skin containing anagen stage HFs revealed significant stimulation of hair matrix keratinocyte proliferation by propolis​," Kobayaski explains.

Furthermore, propolis is reported to have facilitated the proliferation of epidermal keratinocytes and that these results indicate the substance stimulates hair growth by inducing hair keratinocyte proliferation.

"Importantly, the number of cells involved in hair growth increased after propolis had been applied to the skin," ​Ken concludes.

Agric. Food Chem., 2014, 62 (49), pp 11854–11861 DOI: ​10.1021/jf503184s Publication Date (Web): November 22, 2014. 

Hair loss treatments highly sought after..

Hair loss remains a problem for many, but there have been major advances in the area of treatments, particularly in the last year that suggest it could soon be a thing of the past. Here's what the cosmetics industry has been working on…

In the last year, Germany based company Evonik launched a skin-identical sphingolipid that it says prevents hair loss by addressing scalp health and rebalancing the lifecycle of hair.

According to company reps, Sphingony (INCI: Sphinganine) has shown in in vitro​ studies to balance the hair cycle by inhibition of 5-α-reductase, improving the scalp renewal capacity.

Barcelona-based company Provital also developed an ingredient that focuses on promoting follicle growth. The active, Baicapil, is described as being created by combining the plants Scutellaria baicalensis, Triticum vulgare ​and Glycine max.

According to the company, it is a substance which will now help to “increase cellular energy and activate follicle stem cells.”

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