Researchers from UCLA’s Eli and Edythe Broad Centre of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research have provided a new solution to this problem by controlling the levels of lactate in the scalp and by developing medicines that regulate lactate levels (Can Stem Cells Finally Solve Hair Loss?, 2015)

Their study proved that there is a direct correlation between lactate production and hair growth

Hair follicle stem cells are responsible for the growth of new hair when they are in the anagen phase. They undergo various metabolic processes including the metabolism of glucose. The metabolized glucose is either converted to pyruvate and transferred to mitochondria for energy production or is converted to lactate. The team at UCLA limited the entry of pyruvate into the mitochondria and saw if this act will increase conversion to lactate, trigger activation of HFSCs and promote hair growth. Their study proved that there is a direct correlation between lactate production and hair growth. Two drugs namely RCGD423 and UK5099 are developed using this study.

Further evidence in this support is shown by Lowry who stated: ‘Once we saw how altering lactate production in the mice influenced hair growth, it led us to look for potential drugs that could be applied to the skin and have the same effect.’(New way to activate stem cells to make hair grow, 2017). Another research shows that HFSCs utilize glycolytic metabolism and produce significantly more lactate than other cells in the epidermis. Furthermore, lactate generation appears to be critical for the activation of HFSCs as deletion of lactate dehydrogenase prevented their activation (Flores, et. al., 2017). The inclusion of lactate in the hair products is further evidence of the impact of lactate on hair growth (Gavazzoni Dias, 2016).


  1. Can Stem Cells Finally Solve Hair Loss? (2015). Wall Street Pit. Retrieved from
  2. Flores, A., Schell, J., Krall, A. S., Jelinek, D., Miranda, M., Grigorian, M., … & Graeber, T. (2017). Lactate dehydrogenase activity drives hair follicle stem cell activation. Nature cell biology, 19(9), 1017-1026.
  3. Gavazzoni Dias, M.F. (2015). Hair cosmetics: an overview. International Journal of Trichology. 7(1), 2-15.
  4. New way to activate stem cells to make hair grow. (2017). Science Daily. Retrieved from