Second Nature Care Blog

Hedgehogs and Hair Growth

[fa icon="calendar'] Dec 4, 2018 5:51:40 PM / by Winter Ninivaggi

What does Sonic have to do with hair regrowth? 

The "sonic hedgehog gene" interestingly is named due to it's resemblance to the beloved video game character. The gene codes for protein that is critical to embryonic development, the formation of the central nervous system and the left and right side of the brain. Scientists have now found unique properties of the gene making it capable of regrowing hair on damaged skin which had been previously believed to be impossible. This sparks new opportunities into hair restoration research. 

Scientists have now tapped into its unique properties to regrow hair on damaged skin thought incapable of doing so, opening up new research opportunities for drugs to restore hair growth in those with baldness.

The hedgehog gene plays an active role during growth in the womb. It starts early making sure that limbs and organs form in the correct places, for instance, that our eyes grow as two separate organs rather than one.  Researchers have heavily studied this gene to better understand birth defects, the formation of cancers and how limbs and tissues may one day be regenerated in humans. (Lavars, 2018)

NYU scientists wondered if the gene could have any effect on hair regrowth. "The team carried out experiments where they activated the sonic hedgehog gene in mice with skin wounds, using the signaling pathway to stimulate fibroblasts just beneath the skin's surface where hair roots usually begin to form. Fibroblasts were targeted for their capacity to secrete collagen, a protein central to the shape, strength and structural integrity of skin and hair." (Lavars, 2018)

The scientist observed hair regrowth on the wounds within four weeks with the hair root and shaft structures taking shape after nine weeks. 

Scientists had previously believed that hair was unable to grow on wounded skin due to a buildup of excess collagen, but this is evidence that this gene has a role to play. This could be a breakthrough for patients who have suffered skin damage, burns, and other skin traumas that are unable to regrow hair and for those suffering any kind of baldness. 

What are the current treatments to regrow hair?

You have heard of finasteride, a pharmaceutical, that converts testosterone to the active 5 alpha-dihydrotestosterone or DHT. Finasteride inhibits the 5 alpha-reductase enzymes in the short-term, but in the long-term prolonged use can affect sexual function by creating low sex drive and erectile dysfunction. Great, so now you have hair loss and a new problem. Not great for your already shaky self-esteem. 

What are some natural treatments to regrow my hair?

  • Drink 2-4 cups of green tea daily.
  • Eat natural 5 alpha-reductase inhibitors like: dark berries like: blueberries, pomegranates, strawberries, raspberries because these foods inhibit protein kinase C.
  • Herbs like: Trifolium, Pueraria, Panax ginseng, Curcuma aeruginosa and Polygonum multiflora can be used topically and internally to inhibit 5 alph-reductase. Ask me about a supplement form that is easy to take. 
  • Towel dry your head vigorously each day and do a scalp massage with Weleda's Rosemary oil. 
  • Take Xymogen's RegeneMax Plus - Take 2 caps of Xymogen's Regenemax - the only supplement that has passed double-blind studies for hair regrowth. Adrenal Manager and AdrenaMax rebalance your stress hormones and support your adrenals.

Order Xymogen

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Lavars, N. (2018, November 29). Scientists fire up sonic hedgehog gene to spawn new hair regrowth possibilities. Retrieved from

Winter Ninivaggi

Written by Winter Ninivaggi

Isadora Guggenheim, ND, RN, MS, CNS LMT, owner of Second Nature Naturopathic Care, LLC
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