Shaving head – Hair grows back thicker and healthier?

Dear Alice,

I have a done a lot of damage to my hair over the years; as a result, my hair has become very dry and thin. I was wondering if I shaved my head, would the hair grow back healthier and thicker?

I have spoken to a couple of people who have shaved their heads and they have said that the hair does grow back thicker. If this is true, how does this work? Can it make my hair thicker than my original hair before I did all the damage to it?

Dear Reader,

The quick answer to your question is no. Shaving will neither make your hair grow back thicker nor darker, nor grow any faster. Additionally, shaving does not increase the diameter of your current hair follicles or grow back hair that you have lost (these factors are largely determined by genetics). 

With new hair growth, the short hair shaft will be more noticeable, since it now has a blunt tip due to shaving, as opposed to the normal tapered tip. This may make your re-growth seem thicker than your former mane, but your hair won't acutally be thicker than it was before. In addition, the new hair will be healthier and undamaged, because it has not been exposed to the elements, chemical treatments, blow drying, or normal day-to-day wear and tear. By avoiding or limiting the risks of hair damage such as these, you can have an increased possibility of having a healthier head of hair.

If you shave your head to allow new hair to grow in, you will have a bald or buzzed look temporarily. Baldness or a cleanly shaven head was once viewed as a lack of virility in men, as in Samson's hair being equated with his strength, or unfeminine among women.  However, things really have changed. Over the last several years, it has become not only socially acceptable, but en vogue and attractive for both men and women alike to crop their locks.

The bottom line is that whether you are bald or have a lustrous mane, it is your confidence in yourself that matters most. If you do decide to keep your hair, healthy grooming choices can make a difference. However, if your hair is not growing back in as healthy looking as expected, perhaps seeing a dermatologist and/or dietitian can help, as some hair problems can be a sign of more serious conditions. 

Good luck with your "hairy" choices.

Last updated Jun 23, 2015
Originally published Jan 14, 2005

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