The Mr. Clean look may soon be a thing of the past.
Researchers were able to regrow hair on damaged skin using a technique they hope can also be used to grow new follicles on those who have gone bald from aging.
The new study — led by researchers from the NYU School of Medicine and published in the journal Nature Communications — was done using the damaged skin of laboratory mice. Experiments were done on cells called fibroblasts that discharge collagen, the protein most responsible for maintaining the shape and strength of skin and hair.
The scientists activated a signaling pathway used by cells to communicate with each other. The pathway is extremely active when humans are in the womb, when hair follicles are formed, but stalls in wounded skin in healthy adults.
“Our results show that stimulating fibroblasts through the sonic hedgehog pathway can trigger hair growth not previously seen in wound healing,” Mayumi Ito, the study’s senior investigator, said in a statement.