3d hair printingScientists at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, United States, have discovered a way to use 3D printers to create a very realistic hair-like substance.

Print-your-own hair?

The process is simple enough to be performed on a regular, home-use 3D printer, and all you need is a flexible plastic material. The process is very simple – the printer melts the plastic, drops some out and then pulls away to create long, hair-like strands. The results are surprisingly realistic and are currently being trialled for use on toys, hair pieces and even toothbrushes. So could printing your own hair be a realistic option for hair loss sufferers? Well, sadly the process is quite time consuming, taking 20 minutes to produce just one square centimetre of hair, which means making a full wig could take you several days, but as 3D printers improve, who knows what could happen?

What are the options in the meantime?

If you suffer from hair loss, chances are you want a solution now, and there are a number of different things you can try:
  • Topical treatments: If you are in the early stages of hair loss or have very slightly thinning hair and are unsure about anything as drastic as surgery, there is an ever-expanding array of topical treatments on the market, some of which have been shown to have an effect on at least slowing down the rate of hair loss.
  • Hair transplant surgery: If you are suffering from male-pattern baldness and have been receding for five years or more, then you could be a candidate for hair transplant surgery. This is an expensive option and it is worth bearing in mind that you need to have enough hair on the back of your head to transplant, and also that you might need further operations in future if your hair continues to improve. However, for some men hair transplant surgery can be life changing.
  • Scalp micropigmentation: Previously known as micro-hair tattooing (MHT), scalp micropigmentation (SMP) is a very clever technique which uses pigment to create the illusion of a full head of hair which has been given a number one cut all over. For the full effect, you do have to be prepared to shave your head, but with the possibility of choosing your own hair line, colour and profile, SMP offers a great opportunity to save face in the face of hair loss.



By Ian Watson


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