In findings that have huge potential for the treatment of alopecia, researchers have demonstrated that strategic plucking can lead to even more hairs growing back. See the original article from Futurity by clicking here.
By plucking 200 hairs from the back of a mouse in a specific pattern, the researchers discovered that up to 1,200 replacement hairs can be induced to grow – and this has encouraging implication for the development of hair regeneration therapies. This concept comes on the back of previous research into how hair follicle injury affects the adjacent environment, including its role in healing wounds.
How can wound healing help hair follicles?
Our hair follicles are very sensitive to what occurs in the skin in their immediate vicinity. When the skin is injured, it sends out chemical signals to recruit cells from the immune system to help promote the healing of the wound. The neighbouring hair follicles change their focus to assist with the healing, sending out the required cells.
In helping the adjacent area to heal, they are distracted from their principal function so grow less hair. However, research has shown that when a low level of these chemicals are released, hair growth is in fact boosted – but when it reaches a certain level the follicles stop the growing process and remain dormant until the wound is well on its way to being healed.
When does plucking lead to hair regeneration?
University of Southern California dermatologist Chih-Chiang Chen led the research into how the environment may be used to activate more follicles and published their report in the journal Cell.
The concept was tested by plucking hairs follicles one at a time in different patterns and densities from the back of a mouse. The findings revealed that higher-density plucking from small, circular areas (between 3 and 5 millimetres) triggered new hair growth – ranging from 450 to 1,300 new hairs. New hairs even regenerated outside the plucked region. However, when the hairs were plucked in a low-density pattern from an area exceeding 6 millimetres, there was no regeneration at all.
Using molecular analysis, the research team showed just how the hair follicle system responds to plucking of certain hairs: the plucked follicles release inflammatory proteins as a distress signal and immune cells respond by rushing to the injury site. These cells then secrete signalling molecules which, when at a certain concentration, instruct the follicles that it is time to get growing. These findings have exciting implications for people suffering from alopecia, especially male pattern baldness.
The big question is whether this will work as well as for humans as mice; scientists have pointed out that human hair grows differently to mice hair. However, the theory of triggering wound healing is behind another hair loss treatment that is receiving attention: medical micro-needling.
During a medical micro-needling procedure, specially engineered devices fitted with stainless steel micro-needles are run over the top layer of the scalp, causing a controlled skin injury that triggers the body’s natural wound healing process, hopefully stimulating hair regrowth.
In one study reported in the Journal of Trichology in 2013, a hundred cases of mild to moderate hair loss patients were split into two groups. The first group was given weekly micro-needling treatments combined with daily application of minoxidil, whereas the second group only received the minoxidil. After three months, hair count was significantly higher in the micro-needling group. Read the article by clicking here.
For more information on all your hair loss options, contact the experts at HisHair Clinic.