London, June 26 (IANS) The discovery that hair follicles in balding people are trapped in a sleeping state will help scientists develop a new treatment to combat thinning hairs.

Trichologists now claim to have identified a way of waking the follicles up again to help restore a fuller head of hair to people who are going bald.

Bruno Bernard, head of hair biology at L'Oreal in Paris who carried out the research, has now announced that the company is developing a new treatment that can be applied to the scalp in a shampoo or cream to help encourage hair to grow again, the Telegraph reports.

He said: Hair follicles exist in two stable states - either an active state or a dormant state. From time to time, they will jump from one state to another.

Some of the follicles are just resting in the dormant state and are waiting for the right signal to make new hair. They are in a latency period. If you can reduce this latency period, you will have more hair.

We have identified a compound and we are going to make a formulation of it that can be applied to the scalp to wake the follicle up from its sleeping state to the active state, added Bernard.

Up to half of all men suffer from androgenic alopecia, the most common cause of hair loss and thinning in humans. It is estimated that around eight million women in the UK also suffer excessive hair loss to some degree.