Q: I lost a bet with some friends and now I have to shave my head. Is it true that it can cause a bald spot?
A: There are lots of rumors surrounding shaving your head. I’ve heard the permanent baldness rumor, as well as the rumor that shaved hair grows back thicker and darker. One look at Britney can tell you that these rumors are both false!
For those of you that need further proof, let’s take a look at the anatomy of hair. Hair grows from the follicle, which resides in the deep dermis. This means that hair must grow several millimeters through the dermis and epidermis to get to the outside of the skin. When you shave, you lop off the hair at the skin surface, leaving several millimeters of hair growing through the dermis. The hair follicle doesn’t even know that the hair has been cut.
Some other hair removal methods can cause hair thinning or baldness. There is some evidence that repetitive plucking or waxing of hair can cause damage to the follicle, which could cause hair loss. In addition, a medical procedure called electrolysis – in which the hair follicle is actually zapped with a small electrical current – can destroy the hair follicle, resulting in permanent baldness. Shaving, however, will not turn you into Mr. Clean for the rest of your life.
Adam Brandeberry, Med IV (OSU COM)
John A. Vaughn, MD (OSU SHS)