IGF-1: The Factor Of Growth For Hair Follicles

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Recently, IGF-1 has received increasing attention because of its beneficial effects on hair growth and its potential in treating hair loss. To respond to this tendency, we strive to cover information related to IGF-1 and walk you through its different aspects in this blog. Also, we hope to give you a better understanding of how our products work to boost hair growth daily.

What is IGF-1?

IGF-1, or Insulin-like Growth Factor 1, is a vital protein that adjusts the effects of growth hormones in our bodies. It shares considerable structural homology with insulin and exerts insulin-like effects on food intake and glucose metabolism. 

Research has demonstrated that this growth factor is a product of dermal papilla cells. This finding substantially adds to diverse evidence proving the possibility that IGF-1 promotes hair growth by stimulating the proliferation of keratinocytes in hair follicles. 


Insulin-like growth factor 1 IGF-1

How does it work towards promoting hair growth?

It is noted that IGF-1 plays a significant role in both hair cycle control and hair shaft differentiation during the development of hair follicles. In vitro results reported that this growth factor helps promote hair follicle growth by regulating cellular proliferation, maintaining the anagen stage, and postponing the catagen stage. 

According to research findings, the hair growth process occurs through the interactive signals between the epithelial parts and mesenchymal-derived dermal papilla cells. As a product of dermal papilla cells, IGF-1 has a tight connection with hair growth. Indeed, it inhibits apoptosis (a form of programmed cell death) and promotes epithelial cell growth, followed by an increase in hair growth.

In particular, as a physiologic regulator of the hair growth cycle, IGF-1 works to stabilise the anagen stage. And in hair organ culture, it can prevent hair follicles from entering the catagen stage pre-maturely. This insulin-like growth factor 1 also helps protect hair follicular pattern, hair shaft, and differentiation thanks to its critical role in hair morphogenesis, the developmental process by which tissues and organs acquire their shape.

Not only improving hair growth but IGF-1 also gets recognised in dealing with hair shedding. Noticeably, IGF-1 itself might be considered as a new therapeutic option to treat androgenetic alopecia and alopecia areata. 

Androgens are well-known for their involvement in the development of androgenic alopecia. On the human scalp, there are androgen-dependent hair follicles whose dermal papilla cells have specific intracellular androgen receptors. When androgens bind to those receptors, an alteration in their production of paracrine factors will happen, leading to a change in the type of hair produced. In this stage, as a crucial paracrine hair growth factor, IGF-1 takes part in the regulation of hair growth thus reducing such hair loss conditions.

IGF-1 in hair loss treatment and hair growth enhancement

There have been several hair loss treatments aiming to stimulate the secretion of IGF-1, and they have achieved positive results. Studies have proved that this growth factor was upregulated in dermal papilla cells of AGA patients who respond to finasteride. Besides, increased expression of IGF-1 mRNA in the dermal papilla cells of the 5 alpha-reductase inhibitor responding patients may prolong the anagen phase in balding areas. 

With Capilia Longa as one main ingredient of our hair growth formula, derived from the plant Curcuma Longa, our products could create an inductor effect on the hair follicle dermal papilla proliferation. According to an in vitro study, capilia longa stimulates the secretion of IGF-1 on hair follicle dermal papilla cells, thus enhancing their proliferation. As a result, there would be an improvement in the hair loss condition, and new hair growth is expected. 

Indeed, the report showed that the stimulatory action of Capilia Longa was maximal at the highest evaluated concentration after 24-hour of treatment. Specifically, the treatment increased the IGF-1 release of hair follicle dermal papilla cells more than double compared to untreated cells after 24 hours

Minoxidil (0.25μg/ml), the selected reference compound, also improved the IGF-1 secretion. However, data indicated that 24 hours after the treatment, its stimulatory action was lower than that of Capilia Longa.

That is to say, with repeated application on a daily basis, our hair growth products could induce a maximal increase in the proliferation of hair follicles. Also, it would help create optimal and sustainable results on hair growth and hair loss conditions.


The insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) appears to be one of the crucial paracrine growth factors in the regulation of hair growth. In our body, IGF-1 is produced by human follicle dermal papilla cells. It is also a potent stimulator mitogen that promotes hair follicle growth by maintaining them at the anagen stage and boosting the proliferation of dermal papilla cells and keratinocytes.

For hair loss treatments, IGF-1 has shown its positive effects when it is upregulated in dermal papilla cells of AGA patients treated with finasteride. Furthermore, its mRNA expression boosts the 5 alpha-reductase inhibitors to prolong the anagen phase in balding areas, leading to a reduction in hair loss.

According to research, the Capilia Longa formula can enhance IGF-1 production in dermal papilla cells. It, therefore, is potent in enhancing hair growth and improving hair loss conditions. Besides, the in vitro report shows that daily use of our hair growth routines will maximise the benefits with stimulatory action on IGF-1 reaching the peak.


Ahn, S. Y., Pi, L. Q., Hwang, S. T., & Lee, W. S. (2012). Effect of IGF-I on Hair Growth Is Related to the Anti-Apoptotic Effect of IGF-I and Up-Regulation of PDGF-A and PDGF-B. Annals of dermatology, 24(1), 26–31. https://doi.org/10.5021/ad.2012.24.1.26

Trüeb R, M: Further Clinical Evidence for the Effect of IGF-1 on Hair Growth and Alopecia. Skin Appendage Disord 2018;4:90-95. DOI: 10.1159/000479333

Su, H., Hickford, J. G, Palmer, B. R, & Bickerstaffe, R. (1999). Insulin-like growth factor 1 and hair growth. Dermatology Online Journal, 5(2). http://dx.doi.org/10.5070/D32v79r893 Retrieved from https://escholarship.org/uc/item/2v79r893