Anti-tweezing myths?

There are two idea I’ve heard (mostly from electrologists) that I’m seriously doubting the veracity of.

Firstly, I’ve heard that tweezing hairs causes blood to rush to the area and activates inactive hair folicles thereby making hair grow back thicker.

But if this is the case, why do old ladies who plucked their eyebrows their whole lives end up losing their eyebrows. If this myth is true, shouldn’t they have Groucho Marx brows?

Secondly, that tweezing makes it harder to get electrolysis in the future. This one at least slightly makes sense since the hairs might grow back crooked, but if tweezing damages the root, might that not make electrolysis easier?

Of course, electrologists have a fairly obvious reason for badmouthing other forms of hair removal. I’ve read conflicting things about both claims and I can’t find any actual scientific basis to back up either. Are they just myths?

Since you have thrown down the gauntlet, let me ask you a preliminary question that will answer these questions for you:

  1. When you tweeze out a hair, what is that thing that looks like a root composed of? Yes, we call it the “hair root,” but what actually is this?

I don’t know, but I’m guessing you do, so just say it.

It would be helpful for you if you would follow along first with your own conceptions of what you think is going on. I’m assuming you are an esthetician. Not comfortable with a guess? Well, that’s okay. Try this question for a moment …

  1. It’s said (by a few estheticians) that waxing will eventually reduce hairs on a person’s legs. When I was a young man, I had luxurious leg hair. Now that I’m an old fart, my legs are virtually hairless. I have NEVER waxed or shaved my legs. How did that happen?

Enough with the guessing games and tangents. It’s patronizing and arrogant. If you have a point to make, make it.

" … I’m seriously doubting the veracity of [ideas from electrologists] … Of course, electrologists have a fairly obvious reason for badmouthing other forms of hair removal." (Re: my first question): “I don’t know [the answer], so just say it.”

Your statements feel like accusations. It’s like the Creationists that say, “How can we be descended from fish when we don’t have gills?” Guess what? We DO!

I’m trying to “soften you up” a bit so you will be more receptive to the waxing/tweezing theory upon which electrology is confidently based. With some basic understanding, you might be more receptive, and not dismiss 100-years of observation and study as being a “fairy-tale” electrologists concocted “for badmouthing other forms of hair removal.”

Some of us DO have groucho marx brows after years of tweezing. I can tell you personally, that I have thick terminal hairs from the bottom of my brow to the edge of my eyelid which are very noticeable after 15 years of tweezing the area. That is the result of plucking. On a bad day I look like Fru-Fru from Dune.

They arent myths.


In other words: You got “Theo-Waigel-Eybrows” (Theo Waigel is a former German Minister of Finance):

To the OP:

The committee regrets to inform you that you won’t be winning the “Miss Congeniality” award. All seriousness aside, I hope you are receptive to some solid information.

So, here’s one tiny factoid to consider.

Most people think the hair “root” is a separate structure that fits into a tube-like configuration called a follicle. This is not the case. That “root” you pull out is the skin itself and, upon tweezing, you tear out a good portion of the follicle (skin).

If you have the opportunity to tweeze out a chunk of a man’s beard … quickly squeeze the skin and you will see blood oozing out from the torn-out follicles (hair roots). Tweezing breaks tiny blood vessels and injures the skin … (and creates an opportunity for infection).

A large portion of the follicle lies well into the reticular dermis. This layer of skin heals (only) by laying down collagen (a lot of visible collagen we term “a scar”).

With each and every “plucking,” some scar tissue forms in the injured (dermal layer) follicle. This can do several things. It can eventually cause an irregular appearance to the surface of the skin (pebbling). It can cause the regrowing hair to grow “crooked.” In some specific cases, perhaps, the hair growth might be eliminated (this might be the case with some eyebrow cases).

As far as waxing being a competitive form of hair removal? The idea is preposterous.

Waxing is temporary and electrolysis is permanent.

Waxing/tweezing only makes the job more difficult for electrologists.

Excellent post, M.

My understanding–but please correct me if I’m wrong–is that tweezing/waxing are really only likely to make hair grow back thicker/darker in areas that are hormone-sensitive. Therefore, eyebrows are “okay,” in that the blood rushing to that area isn’t going to make the hair grow crazy, whereas a woman’s neck, for instance, is a terrible idea.

I’m on Spiro (a drug that blocks androgens from getting to hair follicles) and while I rarely wax, I’ve noticed that waxing (mainly my thighs) no longer makes the hair get coarser. I think it’s because the blood is still rushing to the area but there aren’t as many androgens in it… Does anyone think this is likely?

Dear “Sky,”

Human biology is complex and even with this tiny “hair & follicle,” a lot is not fully understood. Some people do well with waxing and yet other people can wax the same area and have problems.

At the moment I’m working SLOWLY with a young woman (15-years-old) that waxed her bikini area and ended up with horrible ingrowing hairs (three hair “bundles” required surgical removal). It was a mess! Another person can wax the same area and have no problems whatsoever.

Your question about increased blood flow (from tweezing) causing “hormone-sensitive” hairs to grow thicker is plausible and probably true.

Thanks for the response, Michael!

My pleasure. Client’s observations are valid and important. From hundreds/thousands of observations theory starts to emerge.

From your very first response, you have repeatedly insulted me, talked down to me and treated me as an ignorant antagonist.

How exactly does me requesting scientific evidence to backup a claim make me a creationist?

And I should point out, you still haven’t provided any actual evidence, just a narrative. Maybe that narrative is 100% accurate, maybe it isn’t. That’s what I was trying to find out in the first place before you railroaded my thread.

That’s not even remotely how science works. Anecdotal evidence plus more anecdotal evidence never equals a legitimate scientific theory.

That would require some sort of controlled trial, which is what I wanted information on in the first place.

Too bad a “creationist” has to explain this to you.

All seriousness aside, you are an arrogant, patronizing jerk, and I expected better from this site’s reputation.

Thank you for your response. This does make some sense. I would still like to see some controlled scientific basis for the idea, but as a fellow layperson, I doubt you have any more access to that kind of information than I do.

At least some people around here try to be helpful.

You have obtained a reasoned explanation from Mr. Bono, which is much more than most of us can offer. But you have focused on form and not in substance. Michael was just trying to make you think.

Sorry you (over)reacted like that. Hope you find the answers you are searching for.

When you tweeze hair, the white clump around the base of the hair is the internal root sheath. Tweezing and waxing the hair follicles may distort the follicles, which makes it more difficult for the electrogist to remove hair. I think even the direction in which you remove hair can affect how it will grow back.

Tweezing the hair on my knuckles a few times, though did sting a little, I have noticed not all hairs have grown back.
I’ve plucked the light hairs on my cheeks and have noticed that they have grown back a little longer, making me worried I did the wrong thing, plucked them because I hated that slight shadow when I turned my head in a mirror.
The hairs on both knuckles and cheeks when pulled, had that bulb like ending to them, the root I’m presuming, though some hairs didn’t so I guess they broke off from the root.
Is it possible that continued plucking/tweezing could change that hairs growth cycle from Anogen to telogen phase? I’ve read telogen phase last anywhere from 2-6 months then reverts back to Anogen phase and regrows again.
I’m asking because like I said the hair on my knuckles looks like less has grown back.