The Myth of Plucking a Grey Hair and more Growing

Last updated on May 17th, 2013 at 01:42 am

There seems to be a prevailing myth that pulling or plucking one grey hair will have 2 growing out. This myth is very popular among middle aged men who start getting grey hair popping out from all places on their scalps. The common way to deal with these grey hairs is to simply pull them out but, are you really going to grow an extra grey hair by doing so, and what is most important, are you doing any damage to your hair follicles by doing so? Let’s look at all this in detail.

Each hair shaft (individual hair) in your scalp is produced from a single hair follicle. There are rare cases in which a hair follicle produces more than one hair shaft and these cases tend to be associated with skin conditions such as pili multigemini or folliculitis. However, in healthy scalps (read, the majority of you folks), each hair follicle produces one single hair shaft.

A grey hair is caused by the losing of pigmentation in the hair shaft as new unpigmented hair grows from the follicle, essentially “decolouring” the affected newly grown segment of the hair shaft. There is nothing more to it, grey hair is just hair with less of the pigmenting material that gives us our natural hair colour.

A man with white hair and the myth of plucking grey hair

Too many hairs to be pulling, don’t you think?

Credit: Wikipedia


By pulling a grey hair, one is simply removing the hair, and the new hair growing from that follicle will continue to grow as it was doing: with no pigmentation. This means that by plucking one grey hair all you are doing is removing the hair temporarily as it will grow back again, and grey too. However, you will not grow an extra grey hair because the hair follicle that produced that hair strand only grows a single individual hair.

The issue that I see here, and that I want to warn you of, is that by plucking a hair you are many times removing the follicle, which can cause defective growth of the hair shaft and in some extreme cases, it can cause the follicle to die due to internal damage. A classic example is people with trichotillomania, a mental disorder in which sufferers have the compulsion to pluck their hair and are left with bald patches on their scalp as they have damaged their hair follicles beyond repair due to their pulling/plucking compulsion.

My advice to you is to not pluck or pull your hair at all! You will not grow extra grey hairs by plucking them and instead you can actually damage your hair. Acknowledge that you are greying and get on with the program; grey hair can look great on men, all you need to know is how to make your hair look the part. If you still insist on removing the offending grey hairs, simply trim them with a scissor, a method which will not damage the fragile hair follicles.

All the best.


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