Does Shaving Facial Hair Make It Grow Back Thicker?

Contrary to a common belief, shaving facial hair does not cause it to grow back thicker or faster. This myth has been debunked by clinical studies as early as 1928, yet it continues to be widely circulated. The perception of thicker growth may stem from the fact that hair regrowth after shaving appears different due to the blunter tip, giving an illusion of thickness, and the initial absence of natural elements that lighten hair. Furthermore, the type of hair (vellus or terminal) or its color do not change as a result of shaving.

Shaving facial hair only removes dead hair at the skin’s surface and cannot affect the color, thickness, or growth rate of the hair. That being said, it can lead to side effects like skin irritation, razor burn, cuts, ingrown hairs, blisters, pimples, and itching. For individuals with skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, or acne, it’s essential to exercise caution as shaving may worsen irritation and infection.

Facial hair growth, including its thickness, is primarily determined by genetic factors. While lifestyle factors, such as maintaining a healthy diet, reducing stress, and getting enough sleep, can maximize one’s genetic potential for hair growth, the belief that factors such as testosterone levels determine hair thickness is a misconception.

Is it true? If you shave (or wax) your hair will be thinner

Waxing hair removal might lead to thinner hair regrowth over time. The reason for this is that waxing removes the hair from the root, which could cause the hair follicle to produce a thinner hair during regrowth.

Shaving, on the other hand, merely cuts the hair at the surface of the skin, resulting in quicker regrowth. Shaving might make the hair seem thicker when it grows back, but that’s primarily because of the blunt end that is left after shaving, not because the hair is actually getting thicker.

shave (or wax) your hair will be thinne

It’s also worth noting that everyone’s hair and skin are different, so individual experiences with shaving and waxing can vary. It’s also important to note that waxing can cause temporary side effects like redness, bumps, and itching, and in some cases, more serious risks like burns, bleeding, or infection.

Therefore, while waxing may lead to thinner hair regrowth, the choice between waxing and shaving really depends on individual preference and the balance between the cost, comfort, pain threshold, and the desired results.

Shaving Does Not Affect the Thickness or Rate of Hair Growth

Clinical studies have shown that shaving does not make hair grow back thicker or faster. This misconception can be attributed to the difference in the appearance of hair regrowth after shaving. Unshaven hair has a finer, blunter tip, while regrown hair, initially, has a coarser base. It can appear thicker because the act of shaving cuts it down to its thickest part near the root, giving an illusion of thickness. Furthermore, when the hair is shaved, the thinner part of the shaft is removed, leaving the thicker base behind. As the hair grows, this thick base tapers into a thinner tip over time.

arm hair thickness

In terms of the color of regrown hair, it might seem darker than unshaven hair due to its thickness and lack of exposure to natural elements. This is, however, a temporary effect and not a result of the shaving process itself.

Lastly, scientific studies conducted over a century have not found any evidence that shaving accelerates the rate of hair growth, or affects its coarseness or width. The perception that body hair grows faster than head hair is mainly due to the fact that body hair falls out and regenerates quicker, contributing to the illusion of faster growth.

Despite these facts, the myth that shaving causes hair to grow back thicker or faster continues to persist. However, dermatologists and scientific research support the conclusion that shaving only removes hair at the surface of the skin and does not alter its growth characteristics in any significant way.


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Jenifer Jane
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