Okay, so maybe you may not want to try pulling out your hair to see if new strands will grow. But according to a recent study done on a single mouse, published in the medical journal Cell, plucking out hair in certain areas of the scalp might just might spur regrowth of hair on balding heads a University of Southern California (USC) press release announced.

For the study, researchers pulled 200 hair follicles, one by one, in different patterns, from the back of one mouse. When scientists plucked the strands from a circled area on the mouse’s back with a high density of hair, this action resulted in between 450 and 1,300 hairs being regenerated in that area. In addition, some new strands grew beyond the circled area where the hairs were plucked.

Findings showed that when hairs were plucked in a specific pattern, this action triggered follicles in the mouse’s skin to send out a “distress” signal, according to researchers. This SOS in turn triggered the release of inflammatory proteins that caused immune cells to race to the area losing hairs. According to scientists, this is when the immune cells signaled to neighboring follicles to regrow hair, a sort of communication between cells.

Cheng-Ming Chuong, MD, PhD, a professor of pathology at USC, and the lead study author, said that the value of this finding is that “the work leads to potential new targets for treating alopecia, a form of hair loss.”

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