Fake (Follicle) News : Does shaved hair grow back faster?

Image result for woman shaving legs

Sources: How stuff works

Madison McGuire

With the trend of facial shaving on the rise among women, many people have wondered whether taking off “peach fuzz” with a razor makes its subsequent regrowth faster and thicker. Shaving is an inexpensive and efficient method of hair removal. But some worry that shaving may increase hair growth. This has contributed to the popularity of alternatives like waxing, threading, laser treatments, electrolysis, and body sugaring. However, recent findings show “no significant differences in total weight of hair produced in a measured area could be ascribed to shaving.” Compared to unshaven hair, there is no reason to believe that shaving will result in thicker or faster regrowth.

Hair is tapered at the end, so when the tip is sliced, its perceived as thick stubble, but it will eventually taper again once it grows well past the surface. Hair is also affected by the environment. For example, newly shaven arms have not been exposed to sunlight and other factors that lighten the hair. In addition, facial hair is naturally more fine and delicate than body hair, so specific types of razors should be used to maintain facial fuzz and avoid irritation.

Only procedures that cause trauma to the follicle can affect the rate of growth, such as laser removal. Even though many people prefer to ditch the razor and undergo a more permanent method of hair removal, shaving will not result in “gorilla-like” regrowth as people once believed.  

http://the.dermaflash.com/mythbusting-does-shaving-make-your-hair-grow-back-thicker-and-coarser/

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/fact-or-fiction-if-you-shave-or-wax-your-hair-will-come-back-thicker/

https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/does-shaving-make-hair-grow-faster-thicker

https://www.thelist.com/56671/really-happens-shave-face/

17 thoughts on “Fake (Follicle) News : Does shaved hair grow back faster?”

  1. Hi I definitely agree that shaved hair doesn’t actually grow much thicker and not at all if shaving once or a few times, but I’m curious on how does hair know when to stop growing? If you trim the hair under your arm, how does the root of the hair know that the end has been cut and that it is time to grow again?

  2. Hi @Antonymous, thank you for the excellent questions! It turns out that hair grows in cycles, and a follicle produces new cells during the growth phase. When the follicle eventually enters the resting phase, the hair shaft breaks, and the existing hair falls out so new hair can take its place. Therefore, the maximum length of hair depends on the length of the growth phase. The hairs on our arms are programmed to stop growing every couple of months, while hair on the head can grow for years at a time. The hair doesn’t actually know when it is cut, but it eventually undergoes another growth phase. Hope this answers your questions!

    1. Hey, thanks so much for your kind and helpful answers! yeah I thought about that too, yes the complexive hair growth cycles definitely vary depending on the zones of our body, the ones of arm hair is much shorter than that of head hair, undearms are inbetween :D. It’s true, as I read that hair doesn’t shed all at once, but in a time spanning the whole hair cycle, so that the shedding rate matches the “birth” rate across it, in order to assure constant coverage.
      If I got it, correct, after the growing phase, hair stops growing and rests, it breaks after a while, but it’s still active and maybe in sort of “standby” before that. Before shaving my arm hair for the first time or after it’s fully grown, I also noticed a small portion of shorter hair among most of fully grown ones, probably the most recently shed. After we shave they should be the only ones growing back, while probably most of them are growing back, or it looks like that and hair of 1 cm seems to grow back to 1 cm if we let it fully grow :D.
      I read that although hair shaft in itself has no nerves, they are linked to the follicle which has some nerves and is a sensitive organ that uses the strands as device to heighten feeling. It works like a cat whisker but of course to a much smaller scale and extent, as they use them to perceive space and obstacle. They are called mechanoreceptor and might also carry info like the hair mass – weight. I dunno, though, it’s hypothetical and I’m just curious. It’s normal in a sense, that our body tries to protect us both growing cut hair back and keeping a fixed length under control, when I don’t want it I just shave again :). Thanks again for your patience and helpful explanations.

    2. Hi, I hope I didn’t sound like not trusting your knowledge, it’s just some doubts I shared and I really appreciate your explanations! 🙂

      1. Hello @Antonymous, I really appreciate your in-depth questions and insights! All of the writers on this blog hope to become better investigators through interactions with our readers. Another interesting fact about these cycles of growth is that while individual human hairs coordinate different cycle rates, animals that shed have follicles that synchronize their resting phase. This explains why dogs lose big clumps of fur all the time! You are definitely correct about the sensitivity of the hair follicle and the process of the hair shaft breaking off. The body has an amazing way of regulating a fixed length across certain regions of the body, which varies by individual depending on genetics and hormone signaling. Once again, thank you for your enthusiasm on this topic!

        1. Thanks for the appreciation, that’s very kind of you! Yeah I hope to help or contribute, this blog is useful and sometimes admit that the science doesn’t have yet a complete answer but is workin on a better understanding and it’s still a work in progress, so it’s good to inquiry and give inputs with question, not an excuse to turn to conspiracy theories or “common sense” just to fill the holes, but explaining how some people might form a misconception like in this case :).
          I commented on the freezing weather causing cold too.
          Back on the hairy topic, I also forgot to say that if shaving really worked on thickening hair significantly, it would help people, many men and some women, with thinning hair, while it does little to nothing to even slow it down.
          So if ever body reacted with increased hair growth, to “protect the fur” it would be to a very limited extent, but the extent people typically attribute to this myth is clearly incorrect :). The great Robin Williams didn’t grow that much hair because he shaved if he ever did that once, sorry for naming him as example.
          I read that some dogs shed continuously and similarly to other animals including us, maintain near constant coverage, they also grow hair to a length and stop, while others have an almost indefinitely long cycle and should be regularly trimmed!
          My doubt is if hair doesn’t absolutely know when it’s cut, only the hair in growth phase would grow back when shaved, while most of it seems fully grown before shaving, so, maybe like you said, a hormonal signal might tell them to resume growth from a resting phase, till they catch up to their natural length ^_^, dunno.
          Nails are also curious, as we know they are basically a much more extensive follicle, but work just like hair, mostly. They are said to never stop growing but they also never let grown as long as head hair to find out, for obvious reasons :)! Maybe they’d stop at a point, but they might also just be different, as unlike hair they don’t shed, while hair shed regardless of how much it’s cut, the frequency is the same.

          As you only have 31 articles so far, I might suggest, the myth of breasts sagging faster without bra, which imho has an extent of truth depending on the size and the level of movement severity (like running or other strong solicitation), but a study hypothized the ligament can also strengthen.
          So sorry for the length, hope not being invasive O_o
          Have a good time, nice to talk with you.

  3. Hi, I can’t find any studies done on women, or on fine hair, and certainly none long-term. It’s been believed for a very long time that shaving increases the coarseness of fine hair and waxing reduces it. I have absolutely experienced this with my legs, albeit over years. I can’t find a single study citing anything near what the “myth” actually warns against and the only woman I know who does dermaplaning has VERY thick preach fuzz. Her twin sister does not. Is there any real evidence that fine hair won’t thicken or is that just a theory based on our current understanding of what affects a follicle (or what thickens a hair for that matter)?

    1. Hello @Laura-Lee Bowers, thank you for your thoughtful comment. As mentioned in the article, hair is tapered at the end, so when the tip is sliced by a razor, the blade cuts a sharp edge that is often at the thickest point of the shaft. The regrowth might appear to be thicker and darker, but both shaving and waxing don’t actually increase the coarseness of the hair. I believe many women prefer waxing merely because it leaves a smoother feel and longer-lasting results by removing hair from the root. In dermaplaning, a surgical scalpel is used to remove dead skin and vellus hair, so it’s basically like shaving your face. Studies show that none of these methods of hair removal cause thicker regrowth. What’s so interesting about this topic is that the amount of body hair you have is largely determined by your genetic makeup, but changes in hormones are definitely a factor that could result in thicker facial hair compared to, for example, an identical twin sister. Hirsutism is a condition in which excessive or unwanted hair grows on a woman’s body and face as a result of higher-than-normal levels of androgens, including testosterone. Here is a link to an article that explains hirsutism more in depth: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hirsutism/symptoms-causes/syc-20354935

      Let me know if you have any other questions or insights!

  4. Unfortunately, people still overwhelmingly believe that shaving causes more hair to grow back. Or it was the myth that, if you shave, more hairs will grow back from the same follicle, which is actually a medical condition.
    I love your article but most of all I love the answer to your comments.
    People also don’t take into consideration that our bodily and facial hair evolves as we grow older. I have slightly darker hair on my cheeks, sideburns, and even jaw compared to when I was in my 20s. The same can be said about the stomach and back. And I haven’t used a hair removal method on those area until now. It’s just natural progression.
    Waxing also doesn’t make your hair stop growing in time just as shaving doesn’t cause more to regrow.
    Thanks for the article, Madison!

    1. Thank you for your kind feedback @Denisa Alexandra Cinca! All of the writers on this blog hope to become better investigators through interactions with our readers and addressing common health misconceptions. There is definitely a genetic factor when it comes to hair growth, which may explain why some women respond differently to certain methods of hair removal. When it comes to aging, many women experience hair thinning and a slower rate of hair growth, but it’s definitely not uncommon for women’s body hair and facial hair to become more coarse with age due to a decline in estrogen levels. I appreciate your enthusiasm and insight on this topic!

  5. Individuals additionally don’t mull over that our substantial and facial hair advances as we become more established. I have marginally darker hair on my cheeks, sideburns, and even jaw contrasted with when I was in my 20s. The equivalent can be said about the stomach and back. Furthermore, I haven’t utilized a hair evacuation technique on those region as of recently. It’s simply common movement.

    Waxing likewise doesn’t make your hair quit developing in time similarly as shaving doesn’t make more regrow.

    A debt of gratitude is in order for the article Madison

  6. Individuals additionally don’t mull over that our substantial and facial hair advances as we become more established. I have marginally darker hair on my cheeks, sideburns, and even jaw contrasted with when I was in my 20s. The equivalent can be said about the stomach and back. Furthermore, I haven’t utilized a hair evacuation technique on those region as of recently. It’s simply common movement.

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