A McDonald's Fry Ingredient Can Cure... Baldness?

A new study claims an ingredient found in the fry oil can generate hair growth.

By Ethan L. Johns
February 06, 2018

Image: JOERG KOCH/AFP/Getty Images

Imagine a world where the simple act of eating unctuous, salty McDonald’s fries could help grow back the luscious locks of your golden youth, when you were in an 80s hair metal band and wore that coif tall, loud and proud. Now keep imagining, because that world will never exist.

Even if just eating fries won’t grow your hair back, new research published in the journal Biomaterials has revealed a revolutionary and “simple” technique for hair regeneration—one that uses a key ingredient in McDonald’s french fry oil.

Dimethylpolysiloxane (PDMS, also known as dimethicone) is an additive used in the Golden Arches’ french fry oil for its anti-frothing properties. When frozen foods (or almost any food, for that matter) hits hot oil, the moisture in the food heats up and evaporates, causing a froth to appear on the surface of the oil. PDMS keeps that oil crystal clear (it’s also used as a conditioner for skin creams and a lubricant for prosthetic eyes).

The research around PDMS’s effects on hair growth was undertaken in Japan, where scientists succeeded in mass-producing hair follicle germs (HFGs) that could be transplanted under the skin of mice. If the HFG is the hair seed, then the PDMS acts as the substrate—the soil, to draw an analogy to a potted plant—that keeps the seed in place and allows it to grow.

Though the treatment has only been attempted on mice, the researchers have preliminary evidence that a similar treatment should work for humans. Just think of what this would mean for the people of planet Earth. Whatever will happen to its iconic A.F. bald people? Patrick Stewart, Bruce Willis and Stanley Tucci with hair? Doesn’t that just seem… wrong?

While eating McDonald’s french fries won’t cause you to become a human Chia Pet, this new study means that new hair therapies are likely just around the corner. And when they arrive, we know what you’ll be snacking on.

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About Ethan L. Johns

Ethan is the Food News Writer at Genius Kitchen. An expert on the Parisian bistrot, he likes bitters and salted butters, and is no fan of dessert unless it's made with fruit. His hobbies include reading up on the history of borscht and attempting to roll perfect couscous by hand. Twits & Instagram @EthanLJohns