Hormonal regulation of hair follicles exhibits a biological paradox
Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2007 Apr;18(2):274-85
Hair’s importance for insulation and camouflage or human communication means that hairs need to change with season, age or sexual development. Regular, regenerating hair follicle growth cycles produce new hairs which may differ in colour and/or size, e.g., beard development.
Hormones of the pineal-hypothalamus-pituitary axis coordinate seasonal changes, while androgens regulate most sexual aspects with paradoxically different effects depending on body site; compare beard growth and balding!
Hormones affect follicular mesenchymal-epithelial interactions altering growing time, dermal papilla size and dermal papilla cell, keratinocyte and melanocyte activity. Greater understanding of these mechanisms should improve treatments for poorly controlled hair disorders, alopecia and hirsutism.