The Big Shaving-Your-Legs Myth

Thicker, darker hair…all from a razor? A dermatologist separates fact from fiction.

From the WebMD Archives

 You’ve heard the adage: Shaving your legs makes hair grow in thicker and darker. But is it true?

No, says Tulane University dermatologist Ron Davis, MD. Your hair grows in follicles beneath the skin, and nothing you do to your leg hair on top of the skin  can change its diameter or the number of follicles present, he says.

Shaving does do something that affects the perceived texture of your leg hair though.

"When you shave, you chop off the naturally tapered end of the leg hair, which creates a blunt end," Davis says. This can feel prickly when you run your hand over it.

When you wax your hair or use a depilatory, your hair feels softer when it grows in simply because it doesn't have that blunt end anymore. 

Hair that grows in after you shave -- especially in summertime -- may indeed be darker, but that's because it hasn't yet been exposed to the lightening effects of the sun, Davis says.

WebMD Magazine Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD on November 14, 2012


Ron Davis, MD, professor of dermatology, Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, La.

© 2010 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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