I always thought that it was a myth that plucking hair would make more hair grow. Apparently I was very wrong becaue a research team at the University of Southern California has shown that if they pluck so many hairs in a certain pattern, they can increase hair growth dramatically.
Cheng-Ming Chuong and his team did some intensive plucking of hairs from the back of a mouse (I don't envy whoever got that job...) - 200 in an area less than six millimeters around, and in a circular pattern. In their place, 1,200 replacement hairs grew.
But if the plucking took place in an area larger than that, and if random hairs were plucked from here and there, no hairs regenerated.
The study was published in the most recent journal Cell.
But why did the hairs regrow?
When hair follicles are damaged - like from being plucked - they release inflammatory proteins to signal their unhappiness. The proteins call immune cells to rush to the injury and start healing it. The immune cells, in turn, give off molecules that, if there's enough injury, can tell all of the follicles in the area, "Hey guys, it's time to grow some more hair."
Brilliant, right? The work could lead to new treatments for male pattern baldness, which affects two-thirds of all men at some point in their lives.
Chuong also noted in a press release that other organs might be able to signal regrowth.
"The implication of the work is that parallel processes may also exist in the physiological or pathogenic processes of other organs, although they are not as easily observed as hair regeneration," he said.
Hat Tip BBC News