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Effects of aging on hair
Jan '08
The Biological Science Research Laboratories and Beauty Care Research Center of Kao Corporation (president and CEO: Motoki Ozaki) have shed light on how hair problems develop with age.

Their work has identified a key gene associated with the effects of aging on hair, and related its reduced functioning in older people to reduced hair strength.

Human hair (male and female) thins and loses strength and firmness as people grow older, but no precise cause was known.

Kao researchers accordingly conducted gene-level analysis of hair, and they have discovered that vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a gene, plays a role in the reduction of hair strength and firmness with age.

VEGF promotes blood vessel formation. Kao's research has shown that as people age the VEGF function inside the hair root is reduced. This tendency is more acute for people who have weaker or finer hair.

It has also been found that when the VEGF function is reduced, hair generated by the hair root becomes thinner. This in turn lowers hair strength and firmness.

The research has conversely revealed the possibility that thick, strong, firm hair can be generated by promoting the VEGF function. It is believed that VEGF increases blood vessel formation in order to assure plentiful nutrition to the hair root.

It is also now thought that a VEGF mechanism plays a role in cortex-on-cortex adhesion: helping to bond the spindly cortex cells, which have a middle layer of keratinized protein fibers. This latter mechanism is considered a "new" function of the VEGF gene.

The research findings were initially presented at the 5th International Congress of Hair Research, held in Vancouver, Canada, June 13-16, 2007.

Kao applies research results such as these in formulating treatments that enhance hair thickness, strength, and firmness, and in developing such products as hair growth tonics and hair conditioners.

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Kao Corporation

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