Bees are an integral part of our ecological system, but they may also be about to take on an additional relevance to people experiencing hair loss.
Encourages hair regrowth
A team of Japanese scientists from Hokkaido University recently discovered that propolis, a resin-like substance used by honeybees to patch up holes in their hives, can encourage hair growth in mice.
Propolis, known for its healing properties having been used for centuries for treating wounds, burns and acne, can spur on the growth of cells known as keratinocytes, which play a role in hair shaft and follicle production.
Dr. Ken Kobayashi, who led the study, explains “…recent studies pointed out that propolis has anti-inflammatory, anti-tumour and proliferative properties.”
“Interestingly, normal hair growth needs active proliferation of hair epithelial cells without excessive inflammation. Therefore, we came up with the idea.”
Study of Brazilian propolis’ effect on shaved mice
The Hokkaido University trials found that applying Brazilian propolis topically to the skin of shaved mice stimulated the production of keratinocytes and their migration into the hair shaft.
This saw the treated mice regrow their fur much faster than those left to grow their fur back without assistance.
Although the mice in this study, which was published in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, were shaved and not experiencing any hair loss conditions, researchers are confident that propolis will still regrow hair lost to inflammation.
According to Dr. Kobayashi, propolis could “ improve hair loss due to inflammation through the anti-inflammatory properties and the keratinocyte-proliferative effect”.
Hair loss conditions caused by inflammation
However, as genetic hair loss is caused by a predisposed sensitivity to the hormone DHT and is nothing to do with inflammation, propolis is unlikely to aid hair regrowth in cases of female or male pattern baldness.
Researchers continue to study propolis’ effect on human hair follicles in vitro, with further clinical trial studies due to take place, dependent upon these results.
On-going trials include use with minoxidil
Whilst trials are underway into the suitability of propolis as a treatment for alopecia and other types hair loss caused or exacerbated by inflammation, Kobayashi and his team are also exploring how the substance can be incorporated into hereditary hair loss treatment programmes.
The aim is to find out if it can improve the efficacy of regrowing hair by using propolis in conjunction with minoxidil, the only hair loss treatment that is MHRA licensed and FDA approved for use by both men and women with genetic hair loss.
Kobayashi states, “Propolis is a natural ingredient without any side effects. A combination of propolis and minoxidil may be [very] effective.”
Whilst here at Belgravia we continually see promising regrowth results in clients using our bespoke minoxidil preparations to treat their hair loss, we look forward to the findings of this latest research into the benefits of propolis and will keep you updated here on our blog.
The Belgravia Centre
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.