Many people know that protein is a key component of hair. But researchers recently discovered that a special kind of protein plays a critical role in skin function and hair growth, according to a study published in Journal of Clinical Investigation, reported by ScienceDaily.

That protein, called N-WASP, triggers hair growth by promoting hair follicle cycling controlled by hair follicle progenitor cells.

Progenitor cells are types of stem cells (specialized cells that have self-renewal or regenerative properties).

For the study, researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston analyzed mice lacking the N-WASP protein in their skin. The analysis showed that the mice needed this protein for rapid skin cell regeneration and hair growth.

Researchers also found that N-WASP protein controlled the function of a gene-regulating protein (beta-catenin) located in the skin’s outer layer.

Study authors suggested that the relationship between the two proteins supports the division of the special stem cells responsible for hair growth.

Read RH’s “Black Hair Growth,” which dispels the myth that black hair can’t grow long and strong.