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Effects of UV Radiation on Hair

Monday, May 4th, 2009

hair loss and hair growth with UV lightIn a recent article published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology (January 2009), the Department of Dermatology at the University of L’beck in L’beck, Germany and Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China had shown that excessive exposure to UV radiation is among the most harmful environmental influences on human skin.  There have been findings that direct sunlight and ultraviolet radiation can negatively affect the growth of hair follicles.

There research was conducted on organ-cultured human anagen hair follicles in vitro and were irradiated with UVB, one of two common types of Ultra Violet light. What was observed was reduction of hair shaft elongation, premature catagen entry and reduced hair matrix keratinocyte proliferation.

When the hair follicles were exposed to UVB at lower powers, apoptotic cell death prevailed and at higher power necrotic cell death was predominant. Investigators at both universities corroborated and concluded the UVR does modify hair growth and cycle, can promote cell death and encourages regulatory events in human hair follicles in vitro. The human organ model, which is composed of living human tissue in situ conditions, was used in their findings and encourages its further use for general investigation of UV effects.

Because of these relevant findings, we recommend all of our patients, pre and post operative, to minimize sun exposure on unprotected parts of their body and especially their scalp area. We personally have a No Sun Exposure policy for 6 months after hair transplant surgery for all our patients.