중앙데일리

New products drive hair loss market high

Science claims it will replace the toupee

Apr 18,2007
Balding worries are vamping up a huge market for hair-related products and services, and even science is getting in on the act.
Some shampoos now specialize in preventing hair loss, and hair salons are making more from scalp scrubs than haircuts.
A stem cell research institute announced today that it will soon begin testing a technology that mass-grows hair root stem cells on humans.
Drug companies are also growing the hair loss market as they realize there are profits to be made.
According to Dong-A Pharmaceutical, the market has doubled several times over.
In 2002, it was only 200 billion won ($215 million), but that rose to 400 billion won last year and 1 trillion won as of early this year.
Dong-A Pharmaceutical was the most recent drugmaker to create special concoctions to prevent hair loss. Other companies include Hyundai Pharm and CJ Pharmaceuticals, which both have a liquid spray. CJ, for instance, was very successful with Scalp Med, which rang up 30 billion won in sales last year.
Shampoo makers such as LG Household and Health Care and cosmetics firms like Amorepacific are also coming up with products that focus specifically on hair-loss treatments for both men and women. Amorepacific even created a new hair loss prevention and scalp care line called Morim.
People are also receiving treatment for hair loss at beauty parlors, dermatology clinics and clinics that specialize only in hair loss management.
Spela Land is one such nationwide franchise that offers scalp massages with Oriental herbs. Most beauty parlors offer scalp cleansing services.
“Sebum that builds up on the scalp doesn’t let your pores breathe, which destroys the roots and makes your hair fall out,” said Na Yoon-ah, a beautician who has seen profits rise. “These days, a lot of office workers stop by during lunch to receive scalp cleaning because it’s refreshing, and it costs more than a haircut.”
Approaching problems with hair loss at a more fundamental level, scientists are also studying how to grow hair in the first place.
RNL Bio, a bioengineering company, said yesterday that it has successfully implanted laboratory-grown hair root stem cells into bald spots.
“Hair stops growing when the root dies, but by replanting root stem cells, the roots are regenerated, which will lead to hair growth,” explained Park Tae-seok, a spokesman for RNL.
The technology, however, has only been successfully used to grow human hair on bald mice. The technology will soon be tested on human beings in clinical trials.
The company hopes to commercialize the technology into an over-the-counter drug as soon as possible.
Ra Jeong-chan, president of RNL Bio, said that the company also has plans to expand in the global market through strategic alliances with multinational firms.
Scientists have not yet discovered the exact reason for hair loss, but stress, hormones, environmental and genetic factors have been noted as commonalities.


By Wohn Dong-hee Staff Writer [wohn@joongang.co.kr]



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