(TMU) — A new, specially designed baseball cap may finally provide a lasting solution to men going bald.
How would this new cap work? It would provide a constant feed of minor electric shocks to men’s scalps, stimulating hair regrowth in a painless manner, according to New Scientist.
The cap itself is mainly meant to conceal a thin electrical patch that feeds gentle pulses to the scalp by harnessing the energy generated by random body movements.
It’s a novel solution to a problem that plagues adult males. In general, those suffering from male pattern baldness can either surrender to their gradual hair loss, pay for expensive and painful hair transplant surgery or stem cell treatments, or spend money on such topical solutions as Rogaine (the trade name for minoxidil ) or finasteride pills, which don’t work for everyone and can even reduce men’s sex drive.
And while stimulating the scalp with electric pulses has already been proven to restore hair growth, such treatments are impractical due to the requirement that one sits plugged into a machine or battery pack for several hours every day.
To solve the problem of portability, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison led by engineering professor Dr. Xudong Wang developed a wireless plastic patch fitted with layers of differently-charged materials capable of producing electricity as they come in contact and separate again.
The patch has already been tested on the backs of mice who were either shaved or bald due to genetic reasons. And so far, the patch has performed exactly as Wang and his team hoped, stimulating hair regrowth far faster than specimens who were treated with minoxidil lotion and saline solution.
According to research published in the journal ACS Nano, when the skin of the mice was studied under a microscope, it was clear that the patch worked by stimulating the natural release of hair growth chemicals including vascular endothelial growth factor and keratinocyte growth factor.
The team proceeded to design a baseball cap that would encase the entire scalp in the materials of the patch, and they’re now seeking approval for clinical tests on men.
Wang even tested the special baseball cap on his father who has been balding for the past several years. He told New Scientist:
“It helped him to grow a lot of new hairs after one month.”
Wang is sure that the cap will work because hairless mice are considered valuable models for experiments that are relevant to the problem of male balding.
Wearing the hat for a few hours per day should do the trick, Wang said, noting that “small head movements during normal daily activity should be enough to power the device.” But for those who lost their hair long ago, the cap will likely be ineffective because the skin loses its ability to grow new hair follicles after years of baldness, he added.