Think back to the first time you picked up a razor. Whether you were alone with your blade in the shower or trapped at the sink with a parent, you were probably pretty excited to enter what felt like a new wave of maturity. Yet, you probably felt a little bit of apprehension, too: Would your hair really grow back faster and thicker than before? Every adult in the world seemed to believe so.
Turns out, though, mom doesn't always know best. “Shaving does not make hair grow faster or thicker. Your hair is not ‘alive,’” says cosmetic dermatologist Michele Green, MD. “Shaving doesn’t affect the hair follicle, which controls the growth of the hair,” she explains. Say it with us: Shaving doesn’t affect the rate at which your body hair will come back — which is a different speed for everyone — or the diameter (thickness) of each piece.
Shaving with a razor slices hair without reaching under the surface of your skin. This sharp cut may make hair appear thicker, darker, or coarser, but that’s not actually the case. “Perception is not reality, and it may feel like it grows back faster because of how quickly the hair comes back,” Dr. Green explains. “The frequency of shaving [whether you do it every day or every week] has nothing to do with how fast your hair grows.” The same goes for waxing. This method removes hair by the root — which is still above the follicle — meaning you will stay smoother for longer. However, ripping off hair with wax, just like cutting it above the skin with a razor, won’t actually change its growth pattern, according to Dr. Green, since all growth is controlled by the follicles under the skin.
The rule spans across the entire body. This includes the legs, armpits, and bikini area, among any other area you may choose to shave. However, “all of these areas have a different hair growth rate and thickness,” Dr. Green says, which varies per individual, and per body part. “For example, hair on the face usually grows more quickly than hair on your legs and is generally thinner as well.” While hair removal itself won’t cause a change, keep in mind that if you notice one area growing faster or coming out denser, it’s completely natural.
Consider this myth busted.
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