We may soon have a new treatment for hair loss. Scientists have discovered that plucking hair in a specific pattern and density stimulates surprisingly dense regrowth. A new study has demonstrated this by plucking 200 hairs, following a particular pattern and density, in a mouse. It has been observed that the process can induce up to about 1200 replacement hairs to grow. Cheng-Ming Chuong, from the University of Southern California (USC) explained “It is a good example of how basic research can lead to a work with potential translational value. The work leads to potential new targets for treating alopecia, a form of hair loss.”
A couple of years ago the first author and visiting scholar Chih-Chiang Chen arrived at USC from National Yang-Ming University and Veterans General Hospital, Taiwan and his visit led to the beginning of the study. Chen, a dermatologist, was already aware of the fact that hair follicle injury affects its surrounding environment. The fact that this environment in turn can influence hair regeneration was already established by the Chuong lab.
For testing the concept, an elegant strategy was developed by Chen in which 2oo hair follicles were plucked from the back of a mouse, one by one, in different configurations. It was observed that higher-density plucking from circular areas, having diameters between 3 and 5 millimeters, triggered the regeneration of 450 to 1300 hairs. This also included the hairs outside of the plucked region.