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Wound Healing and Hair Growth

Q:

Hi Dr. Mohebi,

I am not sure how rare hair growth after wound healing is in humans, but having done my Master’s in Tissue Engineering I was excited to find out that my condition might be of benefit to science.

I recently lacerated my shin mountain biking and after it healed I have fast growing dark hair around it.  I don’t have much hair on my legs so it was quite a shock.

Anyway, I just thought I would send you an email in case this was important.  Perhaps its more common than the literature states.


A:

hair loss treatment research

Dr. Mohebi’s research on wound healing and hair growth in animal model: Left: right after skin irritation, Right: 42 days after wound healing with longer than normal and de-pigmented hair

This is a great observation you’ve made.  The research team I was on had done some research on animal models a few years ago at Johns Hopkins that showed wound healing can enhance the growth of hair.  That was an incidental finding during some of our wound healing studies.  We noted some gene therapy techniques we used in the process of wound healing might have affected the hair in the animals we were studying.  In order to understand what this exact mechanism was, we did another study and only focused on hair growth.  It was during this particular study we noticed only the wounding of skin can cause hair to grow faster and thicker.

Before we publish our finding in our animal model of wound healing/ hair growth study, Dr. Cotsarelis and his team from the University of Pennsylvania published a very nice article in Nature in 2007: “Wnt-dependent de novo hair follicle regeneration in adult mouse skin after wounding

This study has never been duplicated in humans, but it is a subject that definitely requires more investigation.  It is possible that with the same mechanism, the wound healing process in humans can affect hair growth.  We do know this won’t happen every time we have an injury in our body.  However, I am interested to know what other elements were happening in your case. Whether you had any medical condition, used medications during the time of injury or after, and how your wound was treated?  I also would like to see some pictures of the area with growing hair!