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Reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
If you’re seeing some male pattern hair loss in the mirror, it doesn’t take a lifelong appreciation for science fiction for you to want to turn to futuristic treatments like hair cloning.
The idea is so simple when you’ve spent your life watching futuristic movies: a quick scan from a robot, you can identify bald scalp patches, grab a couple of hair follicles from a donor area and 3D print yourself a whole head of hair in minutes.
Unfortunately, that’s not how things work. Not yet, anyway…
Today, a receding hairline or bald spot can’t be fixed in minutes — in fact, there’s no “cure” for hair loss yet. There are, however, a variety of treatment options available. Hair cloning procedures might not be on the list yet, but they may one day soon join the ranks of proven methods.
Want to know more? Below, we’ve explained hair cloning, the latest research and how realistic this science fiction could be in the future. We’ve also shared some current science-backed ways to treat hair loss until the future becomes now.
Hair cloning, hair multiplication or whatever else you want to call it is very much an in-development treatment, so put the visuals from your favorite movies aside for a minute.
The hair cloning process creates new hairs from donor hair follicles in a sort of multiplication process.
Research has been ongoing for decades, and you might keep hearing that the procedure is weeks away — that someone is on the verge of making a successful hair cloning process not just possible, but a reality patients can depend on.
Now, it’s important to understand that hair cloning is very different from treatments like hair regeneration or hair restoration surgery, also known as hair transplant surgery.
Regeneration is about making existing follicles start to regrow hair again, while hair transplants, like follicular unit transplantation, move hair follicles from other parts of your body to balding areas.
Cloning, meanwhile, is really about taking one hair, growing a hundred just like it in a petri dish or a test tube and then surgically implanting them on your head.
There are also some procedures like cell therapy, which involves stem cells, that are similar, but not identical.
So does this cloning procedure work yet? Well, no — no it doesn’t. But it’s getting closer.
Let’s get one thing clear straight away: there are no pending release dates, no timelines and no products awaiting their elevation to the same famed status as Rogaine.
At this moment, clinical trials are years away and most of the data we have so far is based on animal testing, meaning that human hair isn’t the current standard.
But there are still companies like HairClone, which are trying to capture the market whenever it becomes available. This company’s model focuses on storing your follicular units in cryopreservation for the day when someone can take them and create new hair follicle cells for you.
As for the research into cloning itself, we’ve definitely come a long way in the last decade or so.
Consider the progress:
A 2011 study revealed that it wasn’t a lack of stem cells in hair follicles that led to baldness, but a lack of progenitor cells (which are similar to stem cells). Unlike permanent forms of alopecia, researchers determined that androgenetic alopecia may be reversible because it does not destroy hair follicle stem cells.
In 2013, researchers improved cloning by reshaping the petri dishes they used, which changed the in vitro environment the cells grew in; cells retained their ability to induce hair growth.
In 2019, Stemson Therapeutics announced that they had perfected their approach to growing new hair follicles from human dermal papillae cells (the cells at the bottom of hair follicles) after implantation in mice.
But there hasn’t been much more added to the collective knowledge base since this last study.
Sadly, science can’t always move quickly — research is trial and error, and until the trials yield many more successes, we’re going to be waiting.
In reality, it may be a while before the hair cloning procedure becomes an FDA-approved, commonplace solution. What’s out there right now simply isn’t proven, and while many researchers have shown it can work, there hasn’t been a lot of consensus on how to make it work every time.
Hair cloning is obviously an interesting idea — and interesting ideas get a lot of attention and research funding — but even what we’ve outlined above represents just a small fraction of what’s needed to get to the “yes it’s ready” stage.
In the meantime, you can prevent hair loss and regrow hair using existing and FDA-approved hair loss treatments like those we’ve listed below.
“I tried several different options before but Hims combined approach of all four methods by far created the best results.”
“Hims has been the greatest confidence boost, no more bald jokes! I look and feel so much younger!”
“When I show my barber my progress, he is always in disbelief. I have to recommend Hims to any guy who’s experiencing thinning.”
“Cost effective and affordable. My hair keeps growing thicker, fuller, and at a fast rate.”
“I noticed a huge change in the overall health and fullness of my hairline.”
“Now after 5 months I’m able to style waves first time in 10 years!”
“I decided to jump right in and I'm so glad I did. I definitely feel ten years younger!”
“In just as little over two and half months, I can really see the difference in thickness and in color.”
“4-months strong and my confidence boosted back up to 100% using Hims, future me really does thank me.”
“I’m a 34-year-old father of two and have been using Hims for over a year now. My hair is back to what it was in my mid-twenties.”
So, what can help you today? It depends on what you want to achieve, and how much help your hair needs.
At the moment, the FDA has two approved treatments for hair loss:
Minoxidil, a medication that increases blood flow to the scalp and helps regrow hair.
Finasteride, a medication that reduces the amount of a hormone called DHT in your system, which is thought to kill hair follicles.
Both treatments have been proven to be very effective on their own, but you may want to use both together. In a study published in the journal Dermatologic Therapy, more than 94 percent of men with hair loss who used both treatments showed improvements, versus just 59 percent of men who used minoxidil on its own. We offer a topical finasteride and minoxidil spray, which features both medications to target hair loss from multiple angles.
As for your other options, there are plenty to explore:
Hair care products can help you improve the health of your hair and encourage some extra growth. You may want to consider employing biotin gummies, volumizing shampoo or volumizing conditioner, or even a thickening shampoo with saw palmetto.
Non-surgical hair loss procedures can help you without significant recovery times. Some, like laser hair growth treatments or platelet-rich plasma (PRP) can encourage new hair growth, while others like scalp micropigmentation and microneedling can be used to mask bald spots and thinning hair.
Hair transplant surgery involves grafting DHT-resistant hairs (donor grafts) from the other areas of your scalp and relocating them to your hairline or elsewhere. There are several types of transplant — FUT & FUE hair transplants and NeoGraft each work slightly differently.
Generic for Rogaine®, this FDA-approved over-the-counter version of topical minoxidil is used for regrowth on the crown of the head.
This is the FDA-approved dynamic duo. When used together, men saw better results in clinical trials compared to using either alone.
If you’re looking for something effective but don’t want too many steps in your routine, this once-a-day pill could be right for you.
Clinically proven to regrow hair in 3-6 months, no pills required.
Cloning hair isn’t a widely available hair loss treatment yet. While mice and people from a few studies in Japan may be getting all of the perks, right now we know way too little about the potential benefits of hair regrowth with this method — and almost nothing about potential side effects.
If you want healthy hair, you’ll need to turn to proven treatments.
Here are some important facts to know about hair loss, while we wait for the science to catch up with fiction:
There is currently no cure for baldness.
Male pattern baldness is genetic, but other factors can either cause or contribute to hair loss. Some health issues — such as chronic stress, nutritional issues, hormonal health issues or illnesses that cause fever — can cause a form of temporary hair shedding called telogen effluvium.
Hair loss can also develop as a result of autoimmune disease, inflammation or physical tension that’s placed on your hair follicles by a tight hairstyle or harsh styling product.
Hair loss is common, but it can still cause low self-confidence and affect your quality of life. Hair loss may even cause anxiety, especially if it has a sudden, significant impact on your appearance.
Worried about losing your hair now or in the future? Our guide to the best treatments for thinning hair can help you plan for what’s to come. It provides information about how to treat and prevent hair loss using today’s technology, without having to wait for cloning or other treatments.
Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references. See a mistake? Let us know at [email protected]!
Kristin Hall is a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner with decades of experience in clinical practice and leadership.
She has an extensive background in Family Medicine as both a front-line healthcare provider and clinical leader through her work as a primary care provider, retail health clinician and as Principal Investigator with the NIH.
Certified through the American Nurses Credentialing Center, she brings her expertise in Family Medicine into your home by helping people improve their health and actively participate in their own healthcare.
Kristin is a St. Louis native and earned her master’s degree in Nursing from St. Louis University, and is also a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. You can find Kristin on LinkedIn for more information.