Medical Misconception: Shaving

Each month we set the facts straight regarding a popular health and wellness myth.

This month’s myth: Shaving makes hair grow back faster and thicker.

Many of us have heard that shaving causes our hair to grow back more quickly, and the hair that returns is darker and thicker than before. But no matter how much anecdotal evidence we have, this ongoing belief is just a myth.

A study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology in 1970 had five young men shave one leg each week for several months, and left the other leg untouched as a control.

According to the study’s findings, “No significant difference in total weight of hair produced in a measured area, or in width or rate of growth of individual hairs, could be ascribed to shaving.”

And Lawrence E. Gibson, M.D., of the Mayo Clinic, also shed some light on the topic on that health system’s website. “Shaving facial or body hair gives the hair a blunt tip,” according to Dr. Gibson. “The tip might feel coarse or ‘stubbly’ for a time as it grows out. During this phase, the hair might be more noticeable and perhaps appear darker or thicker — but it’s not.”

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