Plucking hair in a specific manner can significantly promote hair growth.
Those suffering from baldness have a new, rather unorthodox therapy that might appear detrimental, but it is, in fact, a lot more beneficial than any product currently on sale. Those faced with receding hairlines can try plucking out hairs to promote hair growth. However, brazenly pulling out one’s hair won’t do the trick.
New research suggests that selectively plucking hairs in very close proximity can stimulate some startlingly dense regrowth. Led by researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) in the U.S., researchers demonstrated that by carefully extracting 200 hairs, one-by-one, from the back of a mouse in a specific configuration and density, they could trigger the growth of around 1,200 new hairs in the area — a five-fold increase.
Though the research is in its infancy and presently has been demonstrated, albeit successfully, only on mice, the researchers say their findings could pave the way for new treatments for balding, or alopecia.
Premature balding is alarmingly rising. Previous researches have routinely suggested that nearly 50 percent of men between the ages of 40 and 49 might experience some form of balding. Male pattern balding, known as androgenic alopecia, is estimated to affect about 6.5 million men in the UK and more than 35 million men in the U.S.
So how does one pluck hair to promote hair growth? Though it sounds a little too good to be true, it has a rather simplistic and logical explanation. Our body responds to trauma by boosting the immune system in the vicinity.
Researchers say that the trauma caused by the hairs being plucked triggers an immune response, as the skin follicle sends out a kind of distress signal via the release of inflammatory proteins. This causes immune cells to rush to the site of the injury. These immune cells secrete a molecule in response, and this, in turn, signals to the plucked follicle and other skin follicles in the vicinity. Essentially, the immune cells are instructing the region to grow hair, which hasn’t been lost naturally, explained Phillip Murray, a mathematician at the University of Dundee in the UK, who co-authored the paper.
“We’ve made a discovery about how hair communicates when it’s distressed. The regeneration is very dependent on the pattern of the pluck. When the team pulled 200 hairs from an area on the mice’s back exceeding a 6 mm-wide diameter, they didn’t observe any regrowth at all. Basically, if the follicles are too far apart, they can’t signal collectively as a group. This means no immune response, and no hair growth. But if the plucking is closely packed together, the follicles can work together to coordinate a stronger immune response, stimulating lots of new hair growth.”
Though the team hasn’t yet perfected the system and pattern that will definitively assure hair growth, pulling hair might offer new hope for balding people.
[Image Credit | Getty Images]