Baldness is one of the common problems suffered by more than 50% of men aged between 40 and 49. Many treatments are available to cure this but none of the method is easy and cheap. The team led by the researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) have found that selective plucking hair in very close proximity stimulates hair growth.
The researchers demonstrated this theory by carefully extracting 200 strands of hairs, one-by-one, from the back of a mouse in a specific configuration and density which triggered the growth of around 1,200 new hair strands in the area representing a five-fold increase. The researchers say that he trauma caused by hair being plucked triggers an immune response, as the skin follicle sends out a kind of distress signal via the release of inflammatory proteins.
“We made a discovery about how hair communicates when it’s distressed,” Phillip Murray, a mathematician at the University of Dundee in the UK.
The regeneration of hair depends on the pattern of plucking. When the team pulled 200 strands from an area on the mouse’s back exceeding a 6 mm-wide diameter, they didn't observe any regrowth at all. But when they repeated the process, plucking individual strands in circular areas between 3 and 5 mm, they saw some big returns, with between 450 and 1,300 new strands emerging.
So, plucking hair could pave the way for the new treatments for balding or alopecia.