Challenging What We Know About Hair Loss
I’ve spent the last ten years researching hair loss, and the last four years sharing what I’ve learned on Perfect Hair Health — analyzing anything from clinical trials to treatment breakthroughs to my own theories on what causes hair loss (and how to reverse it).
Now, I’m excited to share some big news: I just published a paper in a scholarly journal.
I know that’s a mouthful. I also know that reading scientific literature is the last thing on most people’s to-do list. That’s why I wrote this article — to summarize the paper’s biggest takeaways, and more importantly, to give everyone a chance to ask questions about it.
What Is This Paper About?
I wrote this paper to reveal the major paradoxes in hair loss research — and to explain why I think DHT’s role in hair loss is misunderstood. I also wanted to build a better model to illustrate why men and women develop pattern hair loss — since no such model exists.
Essentially, the manuscript achieves four things:
- It presents evidence that challenges the commonly held belief that the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) directly causes hair loss
- It looks beyond DHT and catalogues all other biological and physiological biomarkers also associated with hair thinning
- It builds a better pathogenesis model for what causes hair loss — a model that accounts for (1) these additional biomarkers, (2) DHT’s relationship with hair loss and hair growth, and (3) why DHT-reducing drugs stop hair loss, but rarely lead to full hair recovery
- It uncovers three targets to potentially improve treatment outcomes, and maybe lead to full hair regrowth
I’ll get into more details in the coming weeks — and even update this article to break down every part of the paper into lay terms. But for now, I’d rather just explain my motivations behind publishing.
Why I Wanted To Publish My Research
This is my first scientific publication, and it’s important (to me) for two reasons.
Firstly, it’s a major step toward legitimizing these theories behind what drives hair loss — concepts I’ve written about for years; concepts that are finally beginning to gain traction in medical literature.
Secondly, it creates an opportunity to share these theories at an academic level. The reality is this: no drug exists to regrow all our lost hair. This paper explains why. Moreover, it provides insights for research teams to refocus their treatment targets… so that we can improve hair loss outcomes for everyone.
The Paper Is Open-Access
Most scholarly journals protect their publications behind a paywall. That means that if we want to read beyond a study’s abstract — we need to actually buy the paper. This can cost anything from $7 for a paper “rental” to $200 per month for a full-blown journal subscription.
This is how journals financially survive. But there’s a downside: by restricting information behind a paywall, those journals also limit the number of people who see that information, and thereby benefit from it.
Fortunately, not all journals do this. In recent years, there’s been a push to adopt a policy known as Open Access. This is when a journal publishes all parts of a paper — and for free.
My paper is Open Access — meaning you won’t need to pay to read it. My hope is that this will encourage more sharing (and reading) of its content.
The Paper Is Also Peer-Reviewed
Peer review is the gold standard for scientific publishing. It’s the evaluation of any manuscript by professionals working in that field. In other words, investigators or academics familiar with pattern hair loss pathology had to read my paper, critique it, and then recommend whether to reject it or accept it.
Peer review is long and arduous (often several months), but it’s also a crucial step to publishing. Without it, we undermine the scientific process.
Lately, there’s been an explosion of pay-to-publish journals — where authors pay journal editors a fee to publish their manuscript. These journals are not taken seriously — nor are they indexed in most journal databases. This is why I made it a point to publish in a peer-reviewed journal. I want the paper indexed, and I want it to be taken seriously.
Want To Read The Paper?
If you have any questions about the paper — or my research — please feel free to leave a comment. I get back to everyone!
Rob English is a researcher, medical editor, and the founder of perfecthairhealth.com. He acts as a peer reviewer for scholarly journals and has published four peer-reviewed papers on androgenic alopecia. He writes regularly about the science behind hair loss (and hair growth). Feel free to browse his long-form articles and publications throughout this site.