LOS ANGELES (CBS Sacramento) — If you’re bald, the quickest way to a full head of hair could be getting rid of the remaining follicles.

It may seem counterintuitive, but plucking your hair could actually lead to hair growth, according to Medical News Today.

New research from the University of Southern California has shown that plucking 200 hairs from the back of a mouse in a specific pattern led to the growth of up to 1,300 hairs in their place.

In a painstakingly accurate experiment, researchers individually plucked the 200 hairs from a region on the backs of mice that is three to five millimeters in diameters.

Doing so led to the regeneration of 450-1,300 new hair follicles.

“It is a good example of how basic research can lead to work with potential translational value,” says lead researcher Cheng-Ming Chuong. “The work leads to potential new targets for treating alopecia, a form of hair loss.”

So how does this work?

The researchers believe it occurs through a process called “quorum sensing,” in which the damage to the hair follicle that plucking them causes, triggers the release of inflammatory proteins. These proteins send out a distress signal that particular molecules run to.

The molecules then encourage damaged and undamaged hair follicles to grow new hair.

The implications go far beyond just helping the two-thirds of men who experience hair loss by age 35.

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

The study is published in the journal Cell.

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