Does Hair Grow Back Thicker When You Shave?

It's time to settle this question once and for all. The success of your next romantic encounter might depend on knowing the answer. If you shave your face, legs, or even pubic hair today, will it grow back thicker tomorrow - and make you look like a werewolf?

That's a scary picture that you don't have to wait for Halloween to appreciate.

Let's see what some medical doctors said when asked, "Does your hair grow back thicker when you shave?"

Dr. Jerri Hoskyn, M.D., is an assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Dr. Hoskyn's short answer is NO. Your hair does not grow back thicker when you shave. Shaving does not cause hair to grow back faster, darker, or coarser either. It's just another urban legend.

"Shaving ... has no effect on the part of the hair shaft below the skin surface, which is where growth and pigmentation occur." That's the clinical explanation of why shaving does not cause hair to grow back thicker.

Dr. Hoskyn offers this suggestion of why many people believe the myth. "Although the hair may seem to grow faster after shaving, this is just an illusion. A small amount of growth on a clean-shaven face is much more noticeable than a small amount of growth on a bearded face."

Dr. Hoskyn clarifies these misconceptions further, "Likewise, the blunt, stubbly ends of new growth can give the illusion of darker, coarser hair."

Dr. Kitha Griffin, an Atlanta dermatologist, also says the perception that your hair grows back thicker when you shave is just a myth. She explains the apparent thicker hair growth after shaving as an illusion.

"New growth is often sharp-tipped and stubbly, depending on the removal technique." This may look or feel similar to the bristles on a brush, but there is no more hair present than before shaving.

Dr. Griffin notes that if it were true that your hair grew back thicker when you shave, all men would have thick beards. Don't forget all the bald men who would shave their heads instead of spending thousands of dollars for hair implants.

Common Sense

All of the hair we can see on our bodies is already dead. The living hair is buried deep under our skin in the hair follicles. How can your hair grow back thicker when you shave, when it is already dead?

Other Hair Myths - Debunked

* Your hair continues to grow after death - Your skin becomes dehydrated and shrinks, giving the appearance that your hair is growing longer. Ditto for fingernails.

* Hair grows thicker when cut during a full moon - Although the full moon does control the ocean tides, it has absolutely no effect on your hair. Unless you already turned into a werewolf because your hair grows back thicker when you shave.

* Masturbation causes hairy palms - We all heard this one when we were teenagers. No, you won't get hair on your palms. Maybe calluses if you do it excessively.

What should you do when you hear a body hair removal myth? Ask the hair removal experts.

Want to know what shaving secret thrilled a Florida woman so much she invited the company owner to visit her on the beach? Ask the hair removal experts.

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