Paradoxical Hair Loss Treatment: New Study Finds Plucking Hair Out Could Undo Hair Loss

There are tons of great ways to remove unwanted hair. Shaving is a quick, efficient way to get rid of hair in less than 10 minutes. Waxing can actually help keep unwanted hair from growing back by weakening the follicle. Tweezing can help get rid of specific, problematic hairs.

But according to a new study, plucking hair out can also help more grow.

Published in the journal Cell, a new study from the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California reveals how individually plucking 200 hairs from the back of a mouse in a specific pattern caused as many as 1,300 hairs to regenerate.

Prof. Cheng-Ming Chuong, who led the study, and his team of researchers hypothesized that hair follicle stimulation through hair plucking could lead to new hair growth, as previous studies have shown that damage to follicles influences regeneration in surrounding areas.

Chuong and his team then plucked 200 hairs from the back of a mouse in a number of different patterns, and found that plucking hair from an area between three to five millimeters in diameter regenerated between 450 to 1,300 new hairs, which even grew outside of the plucked area. Interestingly, plucking hair from an area more than six millimeters in diameter did not regenerate new hair.

The research showed that the level of inflammation beneath the skin was finely tuned to the scale of damage, and through immune responses and chemical signalling, the amount of regeneration was controlled.

The most exciting thing about the research is its wider implication. Not only do the findings suggest a new treatment for hair loss, but possible organ regeneration.

“The implication of the work is that parallel processes may also exist in the physiological or pathogenic processes of other organs,” said Chuong, “although they are not as easily observed as hair regeneration.”

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