Will eating french fries make your hair grow?
Let me begin by stating that eating french fries will not help hair to grow. However, an important Japanese study has caught the attention of the worldwide media thanks to a laboratory chemical that is also used in making french fries.
Dimethylpolysiloxane (DMPS) is sometimes used as an ingredient in deep frying - including the deep frying of french fries. It prevents oils from foaming up and therefore reduces burn injuries in workers. It also plays an important role as an antioxidant in the process. Interestingly, DMPS is also used in the scientific research laboratory - in tissue culture. This comes about because of the ability of DMPS to help oxygen diffuse. And so when cells in culture are mixed together and need to grow, DMPS is sometimes used by scientists to ensure oxygen gets to the cells.
A new study from Japan used DMPS to help early staged hair follicle cells come together to form tiny balls of cells known as hair follicle germs (HFGs). In fact, DMPS was found to be critical to helping create these HFGs. Hair follicle germs were shown to grow hair when injected into mice - which is where the excitement comes in.
When the media discovered that DMPS was used in this important study, they immediately realized it was the same ingredient used to deep fry french fries- especially the ever popular McDonald’s french fries. Despite being the same ingredient, there is no truth to the numerous reports last month that eating french fries will promote hair growth.
However, the study does offer hope that the tissue culture system this research group created could help created thousand and thousands of hair follicle germs for injection into human scalps in the very near future. Whether these future cell models make use of DMPS will await further testing.
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