The Hair Growth Factor
Women should expect some hair loss in life: 50% of us will experience it, especially after the age of 50. But recent surveys report that 75% of UK women are complaining of hair thinning, and they pinpoint the start of hairloss issues before the age of 35.
Unsurprisingly, the search for a solution is feverish - and one recent therapy is showing more promise than the rest.
The Calecim Professional Advanced Hair System uses stem cell technology and a derma stamp - a professional-grade micro-needling tool to infuse areas of compromised hair growth with a liquid "cell-signalling medium".
The result, proven in a clinical test (the company's own) and backed up by the observations of some of the country's leading cosmetic doctors, is 14% more hairs and 16% increased hair thickness after a 12-week course of 24 applications (two kits).
"You get not just denser coverage, but a marked improvement in the hair's health and quality," says cosmetic physician Dr Tapan Patel.
Stem cell therapy for hair growth has been around for a long time, using growth factors extracted from the patient's own blood (platelet-rich plasma or PRP) to boost follicle regeneration. But its success depends on the quality of the patient's plasma, which decreases with age and as a result of lifestyle factors.
There is no such issue with PTT-6; the active substance in the Calecim serum is derived (ethically) from the umbilical-cord stem cells of red deer. "PTT-6 is present in various mammals, but the deer's has the highest regenerative properties," Tapan says
Containing more than 3,000 growth factors, peptides, exosomes and more per application, the substance is bound to kick-start cell regeneration, he says.
Cosmetic physician and hair transplant surgeon Dr Munir Somji adds that the serum features "growth factors we know are specific for hair growth in high concentrations - so I know for a fact it counteracts hair loss".
HOW DOES IT WORK?
"The Calecim system stands out for its tailored approach to dormant follicles and the fact that it targets specific areas of interrupted growth with remarkable precision," Tapan says. "Not only can it cause a 24% increase in the growth of hair follicle cells, it also significantly minimises scalp inflammation, a huge cause of follicle cell death."
This, Munir says, makes it "a great option for androgenetic alopecia [male and female pattern hair loss], without the side effects of medications such as finasteride and minoxidil".
He also rates it "fantastic" for telogen effluvium (hair shedding due to stress or trauma), saying: "It was of particular use in Covid-19-related hair loss, and we use it after hair restoration surgery to prevent shock loss."
"It targets specific areas of interrupted growth with remarkable precision"
IS IT FOR EVERYONE?
For the therapy to work, you need follicles that are asleep rather than dead. Knowing for sure requires "advanced diagnostics performed in clinic - we examine the scalp to look for miniaturisation, a reflection of follicle regression", Munir says.
Both doctors say that telltale signs of this are hairs that have become finer as well as dry and dull, while growth appears to have ceased.
Advanced traction alopecia, where the follicles are damaged and eventually die off due to chronic pulling or tension on the hair, is an example of a condition that the Calecim system cannot correct.
A specialist will part the hair of suitable candidates to expose areas of thinning, which will then be treated by several passes with a 0.4mm micro-needling tool. Half a vial of Calecim serum is applied to the target areas and massaged in.
You're sent home with the rest of the vial and five further vials for 11 more applications, plus a derma stamp to repeat the process twice a week for six weeks, restoring a healthy hair cycle.
"If a pro has deemed you right for treatment, the success rate will be high," Munir says, although Tapan warns that it's also important to adhere meticulously to the application protocol.
"At home, it's essential to apply consistently and commit to the full and proper treatment to get the long-term results," he says. If you do, these can be "transformational - denser and longer hair with improved texture and vitality, and new growth that is stronger and noticeably healthier".
The Calecim Professional Advanced Hair System at-home kit is priced £315 at calecimprofessional.com. A scalp analysis and treatment course at Tapan's Phi Clinic (phiclinic.com) or Munir's Dr Medispa Clinics (drmedispa.com) in London and Essex is £1,800.