Potassium deficiency can cause dry hair and skin. The opening of intracellular potassium channels his been suggested as a mechanism regulating hair growth. This potassium channel hypothesis was examined by testing these drugs for effects on hair growth both in vitro and in vivo. These studies provide correlative evidence that the opening of potassium channels is an important regulatory mechanism for hair growth.
Potassium channels will not open when blood sugar levels are high. When blood sugar levels are reduced, back to normal, potassium channel function resumes.
Hair loss drugs such as minoxidil (a vasodilator and potassium channel opener) has been shown to increase hair growth. It has been thought that by opening potassium channels and thus causing hyper-polarisation of the cells it allows more oxygen, blood, and nutrients to the follicles. This encourages telogen hairs to shed and allows the hair follicle to re-enter anagen quicker producing a thicker hair.