This story is something I stumbled across by accident.
It's really interesting as it backs up the theory of wounding, and also implies the importance of Prostaglandins and the recruitment of growth factors via a stimulus.
In this story, a 78-year-old man with common male pattern baldness was dozing off in his armchair when he fell head first into a coal fire.
He sustained full thickness burns to the left parietotemporal region, the bridge of the nose, and the left infraorbital area.
He refused hospital admission and early surgery and was consequently managed as an outpatient.
Two weeks later, he commented that his bald patch had started growing hair again.
Over the next four months, this hair continued to grow.
The article notes that although this case is interesting, it is difficult to see how this type of stimulation could be applied therapeutically.
Before And After Pictures Of The Old Man After The Scalp Burn
Two Weeks After The Accident
This looks pretty nasty.
His scalp is burned to hell.
Of interest, new hair growth has started in a previously severely miniaturized area of his scalp.
Six Weeks After The Accident
Six weeks after the accident; hair is now thicker.
Four Months After The Accident
Four months after the accident; thick hair growth is now visible.
This man had severe miniaturization with a large nearly completely bald spot, and regrew his hair there accidentally via burning the sh*t out of it.
I'm not condoning going out and burning your head obviously, but its very insightful to how the body responds to skin damage, and the recruitment of localized healing and growth factors.
There are actually guys out there who intentionally sunburn their scalps to elicit a similar response and drive growth factors to their balding zones.
There is evidence to support that it works too in the clinical data:
Damaging the scalp seems to recruit a significant amount of growth factors that would otherwise not be present, which can lead to some degree of hair regrowth.
A more practical application of this practice is seen through wounding (microneedling).
Dermaroller And Microneedling
Dermarolling is the most common form of microneedling, which involves using a mini-wheel covered with hundreds of tiny needles to gently prick the skin or scalp.
Most would wonder logically wonder how stabbing your head several thousand hundred times could help.
The reality is that microneedling recruits these same growth factors and can promote healthy hair growth in areas that would otherwise be worse off.
Maybe not to the extent that literally burning your head would have, but the calculated channels created in the scalp via microneedling have been clinically proven to aid in hair loss prevention.
If you're going to microneedle, I strongly advise you use a dermapen instead of a dermaroller, as a good dermapen will create straight channels into the scalp, whereas rollers create micro tears in the scalp.
It's fascinating to see accidental interventions like the story I mentioned resulting in dramatic outcomes via recruiting these growth factors in completely miniaturized areas.
Does this mean you should go burn your head? No, of course not.
There are things you can explore though that recruit these same growth factors, like a high quality Dermapen.
Even just looking at this guy's story, regardless of how extreme it is, provides some valuable information that can be extrapolated to shed light on certain growth pathways that are otherwise overlooked.