What Really Happens When You Shave Your Arms

Growing up, you may have been cautioned by a friend or family member to think twice before shaving because doing so will make hair grow back thicker. The arms is one of the areas of the body that frequently gets brought up during these shaving conversations. Thankfully, science has debunked this misconception and offers up explanations as to how this cautionary tale may have came to be.

Although stubble may first appear thicker and coarser as hair begins the regrowth process, research confirms that this is not actually the case. In the course of a study conducted by Indiana University in an effort to disprove the validity of commonly accepted medical myths, researchers came across reports of a 1928 experiment that compared hair growth after shaving with natural hair growth on the body to determine the differences between the two (via Science Daily). In short, there were none. So why do so many of us believe that our body hair will come back with a vengeance?

Those dark, coarse hairs are not actually as they appear

Experts at Scientific American reveal that the process of hair regrowth can be somewhat deceptive. The rate of body hair growth differs for everyone based on factors such as age, sex, or hormonal changes. Sometimes these factors can align with our shaving habits leading to the misinformed idea that shaving is the cause of thicker hair growth. A prime example of this is when adolescents experience thicker hair regrowth after shaving areas such as the face or armpits. However, medical experts have concluded this is primarily due to hormone changes during puberty and not because of hair removal itself.

Additionally, as hair begins to resurface, its appearance can be visually misleading. Our natural body hair is pointed at the tip and it's that same tip that gets removed during routine shaving. When the hair grows back, it grows back with a blunt edge having been dulled by the razor, which gives it a thicker appearance. Furthermore, hair may initially seem darker at first, but this is because the hair has not yet had the same exposure to sunlight and the surrounding environment that your other hairs have already had. In time, you may find these "darker" hairs to be only temporary.

Body hair removal is a personal choice and should be based on each person's individual comfort level. Knowing all the facts, rather than the myths, can help with making an informed decision that's right for you.