These days, it’s not uncommon for people to take a razor to their hair for a smooth head look. Whether it’s because of health conditions that affect hair growth or a simple fashion choice, shaving your head is a personal preference. There’s no reason to feel it’s unprofessional or that you have to explain your decision, since we all have our reasons for looking the way we want to look.
Does shaving your head promote hair growth?
It is a myth that shaving your head speeds up hair growth and causes hair to become denser than before.
While your hair may appear slightly denser at first, that’s simply because new hair growth appears a bit darker and blunter and creates the illusion that hair strands are packed more closely together. As hair strands grow longer, they taper at the ends and get lighter in sunlight.
Hair growth rate, volume and texture depend on what happens inside of the body. It has nothing to do with the external act of shaving.
Are there benefits to shaving your head?
While some people shave their heads for health reasons, others may just want to sport a new look. Here are some of the benefits of shaving your head:
- Hair loss: Hair loss affects both men and women. Your hair may be thinning or receding, or you may have a health condition like alopecia areata that causes hair to fall out in patches. Or you may have a scalp disorder like seborrheic dermatitis. Whatever the reason, you can try topical treatments, wigs, hairpieces or hats, but sometimes shaving your head is the easiest solution.
- Save time: A shaved head means you don’t need to spend time combing, brushing or drying, and you can also shower quickly.
- Save money: A shaved head also means you can stop splurging on hair care products and trips to the salon.
- Look younger: Over time, the quality and color of your hair can start to deteriorate with age. Some may want to shave their heads to hide graying hair, and others simply like the bald look. A 2012 research study found that men who sported a shaved head look were perceived as dominant and attractive. And women are often viewed as confident when they throw convection out the window by getting rid of their hair.
What are the disadvantages of shaving your head?
Once your head is shaved, it may take some time to adapt to your new look. It can also cause a few minor inconveniences:
- Dry skin: Frequent shaving can cause you to develop dry and itchy skin. Scratching may irritate your scalp further. To avoid this, remember to apply moisturizer on your exposed scalp daily.
- Razor burn: You may occasionally get cuts on your scalp while shaving or get razor burn when exposed skin becomes red and inflamed after shaving.
- Exposed skin: When your head is shaved, your bare scalp will be more exposed to the external environment and changes in weather. You may need to apply sunscreen when going out in the sun, or wear a hat during the colder months to keep your head warm..
- Ingrown hairs: Shaving regularly may cause ingrown hairs, especially if your hair is normally tightly curled. Ingrown hairs can cause inflammation and discomfort.
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Vreeman RC, Carroll AE. Medical Myths. BMJ. Dec 22, 2007;335(7633):1288-9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18156231/
Mannes AE. Shorn Scalps and Perceptions of Male Dominance. Soc Psychol Personal Sci. 2013:4(2):198-205. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1948550612449490