Can mechanical stretch induce hair regeneration? Here’s the scientific evidence.

Increasing pressures in the modern world make it easier for individuals to suffer from hair loss and baldness. There are a multitude of hair nourishment products and invigorating treatments emerging. Hair regeneration has always, and continues to be, a popular topic. Research from the Taipei Veterans General Hospital (TVGH) found that the use of a mechanical stretch device on the skin of a mouse activated hair follicle stem cells and promoted hair regeneration. The study is expected to open up new opportunities for balding patients.
Proper removal can help hair regenerate 6 times more!
The TVGH research team discovered that after removing 200 hairs in a 5 mm diameter on a mouse’s skin, 1200 hairs grow back. The hair regenerated at about 6 times original, and the phenomenon was coined as the “quorum sensing effect”. Based on these results, the team looked to understand how this mechanism could work without hair removal. They used a special mechanical stretch device on the back skin of mice. Results showed that 7 days of skin stretching with a straining strength of 33% resulted in optimal hair regeneration. The regeneration did not occur when there were not enough strains or if they were not performed over a long enough time. Researchers explained that when the skin is stretched, the BMP-2 hair growth inhibition factors increase, and hair follicle stem cell activities are suppressed. Once the skin is relaxed, BMP-2 expression declines rapidly and suppression of hair growth factors decreases, which in turn pushes the hair cycle into the anagen phase.
Individual hairs are always in one of three stages of the growth cycle – anagen, catagen, or telogen. Normally, 90% of scalp hair is in the anagen phase. Extension of the telogen phase will lead to gradual thinning. One way to efficiently restore hair is to awaken hair follicle stem cells through stimulation, such as mechanical stretching. If we are able to apply this research in the clinic, it has the potential to benefit many patients with hair loss problems. Further research has shown that this hair promotion is achieved through local aggregation of macrophages and polarization toward the M2 subtype. M2 macrophages can activate hair follicle stem cells and secrete growth factors, such as liver growth factors (HGF) and insulin growth factors (ICF).
Hair plays an important role in our social lives. Baldness can result in a lack of self-confidence and make someone appear older. In recent years, a growing number of patients have been seeking medical treatment for hair loss, likely due to increased environmental pollution and greater life stressors. Hair regeneration and hair loss treatment has always and continues to be a top concern for the public, and is a problem that scientists have been working to solve.


REFERENCE: Nat Commun. 2019 Apr 3;10(1):1524. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-09402-8.

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