Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Medical Myths and the Myths about those myths - Part 3 (cutting hair makes is grow back thicker)

"Myth: Shaved hair grows back faster, coarser and darker."

My own experience on this is that it is partially true. It’s not a complete myth. Studies have shown that shaving doesn’t affect hair in that way. Nor do I think the act of trimming hair causes it to grow back thicker and coarser. I do think that how the skin surrounding the hair is treated does have significant impact. I did my own quasi-scientific study on myself when I was an adolescent. In an attempt to grow more hair body hair (being an adolescent trying to speed up the maturity process), I rubbed the skin on my chest aggressively over a period of a few months or so. In the oft chance to see if what I was doing would work, I rubbed one side of my chest more often then the other side. Having seen no immediate hair growth, I stopped this practice. It was about a year later I noticed the results. As hair did start to grow in, it only grew in where I had rubbed my skin months before. Yes, the hair on my chest grew in with the pattern I used to rub my skin. Even today, the thickest portion of my chest hair still vaguely matches the initial pattern I establish during my adolescence.

Another example of the effect of skin treatment is more recent. Although I’m not rapidly balding, I’ve always had a high and somewhat asymmetric hair line at the corners on my forehead. A few years ago, I learned that DHT levels in the skin and body can influence hair growth. It can cause hair to grow in some parts of the body. It can also cause a receding hairline on a man’s forehead too. I started a passive search for products that could affect DHT levels in the skin. In that search, I discovered Nioxin. The brand makes a claim that its shampoo can wash away DHT from the scalp. I tried it. I didn’t see any immediate results. Eventually, I decided to just to use it up. After about six months or so, I kinda started noticing what appeared to be new tiny baby hairs at the edge of my hairline. I decided to try Nioxin out for another few months. I bought more and kept using it. Over the next year, I noticed the hair growing back even more. Now, we aren’t talking about thick new grass on the field. I did perceive the start of a recovery of what I have lost over the past decade.

After awhile, I mentioned to Allie that I noticed a difference. She didn’t believe me. Then one day, she’s looking at me while we are snuggling and all of a sudden she was all like, “Is this all new?” with an amazed look on her face as she ran her fingers along my hairline. At first, I thought she was just she was trying to stroke my ego, so I challenged the comment. But I know her. She’s not the girly type that does that sort of thing. She was being genuine. Since then, my hairline has evened out a bit, and continues to recover at a slow pace.

So, from my own person experiences I can say cutting hair doesn’t change it, but how you treat the skin surrounding the hair does definitely impact it, though it takes a long time.

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