Did you happen to hear the story about the man who regrew his finger (which he had accidentally chopped off) after sprinkling pixie dust on it? You may be confused as to why I, a dermatologist and hair restoration expert, am discussing “pixie dust” in my hair loss blog. The hope is that if this “pixie dust” can help regenerate soft tissues and skin cells, it should also (eventually) be able to regenerate hair growth.
Let’s take a walk back to high school science. Remember learning about animals that can regenerate body parts? Take lizards for example; if they lose a tail, their body with naturally repair the tendons and grow a new tail. Mammals (including humans) cannot do this. We do, however, regularly regenerate hair and skin cells, and the liver can regenerate itself to a point. Dr. Stephen Badylak of the University of Pittsburgh developed the pixie dust in an effort to help the bodies of wounded soldiers heal themselves and reduce the need for amputations. The “pixie dust” is derived from a pig’s bladder: concentrated with proteins and connective tissue. Scientists believe this mixture provides the right “matrix” or framework to stimulate regeneration. While this product is still very much in the testing phase, there are cases (like the aforementioned man’s finger) that show incredible promise.
Now, let’s discuss the part that I understand better, using pixie dust to regrow hair. There are quite a few ways to go about regenerative hair restoration, and thus far, a company called ACell, Inc. mainly uses it in conjunction with hair restoration surgery. During the hair transplant procedure, the hairs from the donor region may be soaked in the MicroMatrix®mixture. Then, these hairs are inserted around the incision area where scars often form. The mixture (MicroMatrix®) promotes the formation of a hair matrix, which allows cells to form and develop. Another method injects the MicroMatrix® mixture directly into the patient’s transplant region to promote hair regrowth. Research conducted by IAHRS accepted member Jerry Cooley M.D. and Gary Hitzig M.D. (hair transplant surgeon) showed higher density hair growth and increased hair counts with ACell treatment.
Although, we aren’t yet offering regenerative hair restoration with ACell at the Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research, be sure to visit my website to learn about other effective hair restoration options and prevention methods. Also, be sure to keep reading my blog to learn more about new hair restoration techniques and methods.