Saturday, April 09, 2005

The hair growth myth

Back in January, I addressed the question of whether shaving affects hair growth. It's a very common hair myth, and I've seen it addressed in many sources. From the Peninsula On-line (Qatar), this article:
Would shaving my head once or twice help my hair to grow thicker and stronger once again? I am 28 year old man and since coming to Qatar about four years ago, I’ve been suffering from hair fall and my hair has become thinner and brittle for some reason. I was advised by friends who have stayed here for long to have my head shaved once or twice to allow thick and strong hair to develop. Some say it is better to go bald in summer, due to the high heat and humidity and if I do so in winter, I will suffer from colds. Others tell me that summer is bad because my head will be exposed to strong sunlight and heat and can damage the brain. Which is the best season to shave my hair and does it really help? My job is indoors so sunlight is not much of a problem.

I am sorry to say, but you are totally misguided by your friends. It is a myth that shaving the head or hair in any part of the body will make it grow stronger, longer or thicker. Shaving does not have any influence on the hair growth. On the contrary, pulling the hair as in threading or waxing for removal of unwanted hair stimulates the hair from its resting phase to the growth phase. This does not mean that you should pull hair for better growth. It is ridiculous that going bald will directly affect your underlying organs such as the brain.

But exposure to extremes of temperature does have generalised effects such as heat stroke, hypothermia and frost bite, among others. There are many reasons for hair fall which I have explained in my previous articles. To summarise, they are stress, improper nutrition, inadequate sleep, irregular work hours etc. Get yourself evaluated by a dermatologist and clear your doubts. There is no particular season to shave off your head if you wish to. But do not expect any change in the hair growth after shaving.

- Dr Jameel I Sayed. MBBS. DDV. DNB. MD (Skin and VD). Specialist Dermatologist. Al Rafa Polyclinic.
I'm sure we'll see this one many times more, of course.

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