It takes a great deal of coordination by many cell types to finally produce a healthy hair fiber. Let me tell you about one participant - the dermal papilla.
The dermal papilla is found at the bottom of the hair follicle. It is composed of a group of very specialized cells known as fibroblasts.
The dermal papilla is a key control centre for the hair follicle. It tells another group of cells known as the "hair matrix" exactly what to do in order to make a hair fiber.
The more active and bigger the dermal papilla, the bigger and wider the hair follicle that will be produced.
The dermal papilla has the potential to form new hairs when transplanted into other areas of the skin and are therefore said to be "trichogenic" (hair forming).
One day, it may be possible to take a patient's skin and expand the number of dermal papilla cells they have and inject them back into their scalp. This could lead to an endless supply of hairs.
Dr. Jeff Donovan is a Canadian and US board certified dermatologist specializing exclusively in hair loss. To schedule a consultation, please call the Whistler office at 604.283.1887