Does pulling out grey hairs cause more to grow back?
Getting your first grey hair is not nice.
Whether it emerges in your teens, twenties or, for the lucky few, your thirties, finding your first grey hair isn't the best experience. Most people will admit that when they saw that one grey hair their automatic reaction was to pull it out. But then sheer panic can strike when you remember the theory that pulling out grey hairs can cause three to grow in its place.
It sounds like a myth but it's such a general consensus among people that some genuinely think it's true. So finally, the experts have spoken and clarified the whole theory.
The Huffington Post spoke to Elizabeth Cunnane Phillips, a trichologist at the Philip Kingsley Clinic in New York City and Sandra Gilman, trichologist and educational director for The Elan Center for Trichology who said:
"No, we cannot add [to] the number of follicles we have, and it will not cause the surrounding hairs to turn grey. The only time more than one hair grows from one spot is when, for some undetermined reason, there is a merging of two hair follicles.”
"If there is a grey hair that you must get rid of, very carefully cut it! Plucking can traumatise the follicle, and repeated trauma to any follicle is not ideal."
The Today Show also received a similar answer about pulling out grey hairs when they spoke to cosmetic scientist Randy Schueller, who even said it might be beneficial:
"That's a complete myth because what you do to one follicle doesn't affect its neighbors. There is some good news: If you're lucky, when the new hair grows back it may be a little less gray than its predecessor. That's because melanogenesis (the process by which hair follicles make the pigment that gives hair its color) is not totally consistent from hair to hair."
But he added cautiously:
"There's no harm in plucking a grey hair, but it also doesn't do you much good. The follicle (the little tube beneath the skin that produces the hair) is still alive and will produce another hair to replace the one that was pulled out."
So there you have it, go forth and pull out those grey hairs of yours.