Regrowth of cut hairs

Great BBS, Andrea - I just had to join!

I just used a Wahl hair clipper with the 1/4" guide to trim my chest, stomach and legs yesterday. Worked great and looks great. But I wonder about the difference in regrowth rates of the cut hairs compared to the hair on my head. I’ve read lots of info about the fact that head hair will continue to grow for 2 to 10 years until it reaches its maximum length. That’s why it keeps growing when you cut it short - most of those hairs haven’t reached their maximum length yet.

But my body hairs had all reached their maximum length of 1-1.5" before I cut them. Does this mean the same hairs will not start growing again and will remain at this 1/4" length and only replacement hairs will grow longer when they finally push the old hairs out of the way? Or put another way, if a hair has reached its maximum length and stopped growing, will the same hair start growing again if you cut it?

This may be of interest for just this first trim job because subsequent trims will be on mostly growing hair, but I’m curious nontheless…

Welcome, Patrick! So far, the forum has turned out to be a big hit! I had held off for a long time because I thought it would be a real hassle, but all the readers and posters are first-rate! :grin:

Here’s the basics on hair anatomy:

The hairs you cut were only about a third of your total hairs. The other two-thirds are in a different part of their growth cycle and aren’t visible right now.

Hair has three stages of growth:

Anagen (actively growing)
Catagen (resting, then shedding)
Telogen (dormant)

The hairs you just cut are all Anagen and Catagen hairs. That means some are still growing, but others are done and will shed soon. It’s hard to nail down the proprtion, because it varies a lot by individual.

In addition, you have some Anagen hairs that are still under the skin and will pop out soon. Hairs in Anagen stage grow at different rates depending on their thickness. That’s why guys who use those Wahl trimmers on their beards have to do it regularly to keep the hair at a uniform length.

So, the ones that are done growing will stay at the length you cut them until they shed. You’ll need to keep trimming the ones that are still growing until the get to Catagen stage, too. In the meantime, new Anagen hairs will keep popping up and eventually reach the length where you need to shave them

How’s that for a long answer to a short question? :wink:

Turns out explaining hair growth is kinda complicated, but I think that gets the basic idea across.

Glad you’re pleased with the look of trimming! I know some guys with really heavy body hair find that to be a great option for “toning it down” a bit.

That was a terrific explanation, Andrea, thanks! :smile: It’ll be interesting to see how long it will take before I’ll have to get the clippers out again, but this certainly was easy and quick. I’ve shaved some body hair before but was bothered with itching when it grew back - this is almost as good and doesn’t raise eyebrows, shaved or otherwise!

I had read in a GQ magazine recently that it was quite common and actually “fashionable” to trim chest hairs but I had never heard of it before. And only someone who was familiar with how long my chest and leg hairs were before might notice the difference now - and other than my wife, I can’t think of anyone who would have cared! She likes it, BTW.

I’ve also used that horrid Epil-Stop stuff on my chest last year but that’s a subject for another post! Ouch…

Andrea, I join Patrick in saying a great big thanks for this wonderful bulletin board! I’m very relieved to find lots of other folks out there with body hair issues.

I’m not one for shaving my body hair, and I, too, have found electric clippers to be the perfect alternative. I use the 1/4 inch setting on my chest and either the 1/4 or 1/8 on my stomach. I really like the way it looks.

However, my chest itches like crazy after I clip the hairs. I really only would expect the itching to come with shaving, not clipping. Am I alone? Is there a good remedy? So far, I have used Gold Bond powder when it really itches a lot.

Any suggestions?

Great to have you here! :grin:

Some people get itchy from the hairs. Same thing happens at the barbershop or beauty salon.

You can either jump in the shower right after and rinse the hairs off (easiest and best), or use some little whisk brush to brush them off.

Some people get itchy from the bits of hair and skin that sticks to the clippers. you might try cleaning them carefully between uses. Another culprit might be the oil that comes with it.

I’d suggest doing it right before a shower, and then washing the trimmed areas with a mild body wash (or just a little shampoo). If you’re still itchy, some powder can help, or maybe a little Benadryl lotion or other topical antihistamine. Some even find taking an allergy pill with a histamine blocker a half hour before trimming helps.

If you’re still itchy after that, maybe you need a flea dip! :stuck_out_tongue:

Hope that helps, and let us know what ends up working best! :smile:

Andrea, thanks for your reply.

I will try using shampoo on my chest/stomach for the first few days after trimming and maybe even the Benadryl if that doesn’t work.

When I say I itch after clipping, I mean that it lasts for at least 3 or 4 days! I always do it (just as you suggested) right before a shower and I am always careful to clean the clippers well. So perhaps the Benadryl will be necessary.

Hopefully some others will benefit from your response to my little problem. Thanks, and I’ll keep the BB posted on my results.

I get a little iching too that lasts up to a week but it’s not from the tiny bits of hair that get cut off as Andrea suggests (those are washed off in the shower). I believe it is due to the sharp cut end of the hair that remains and it’s poking into your skin occasionally, especially if you wear a t-shirt.

I think that after a week or so the ends fray a bit and aren’t so sharp anymore. Hair ends that have been “burned” off by a depilatory cream like Nair for Men have dull ends and don’t stab you as much. Looking at both through a high power lens shows a clear difference between them - the cut ends are very pointy and sharp!

Yes, Patrick, that’s exactly what I’m talking about!! Good to know that I’m not alone on this. So, what do you do for the week-long itching spell? Any lotions, powders, creams, etc. that you recommend? Simple scratching?


That probably explains it, Patrick! That’s a new observation for me!

I wonder if it makes a difference for the first few days whether you wear a tight shirt or not?

Definitely keep us posted on your experiences. :relaxed:

Glad I could help! Wearing a loose shirt the first few days definitely helps. I work from home so I can just wear a loose-fitting sweatshirt all day. When it does itch I just rub on it a tad to move the hair and it stops poking me…of course, another one might poke me then, but hey, what can ya do? :wink: