Clarification of Answer by
01 May 2003 17:00 PDT
Hi again Charles111 !
after a thorough search of the medical literature available to me
online, I'm not able to get you any of the hard data you have
requested. But I do have some further information for you which I
think you will find helpful
To use this information, I think we need to delve into the basic
biology of hair growth a little bit more and understand exactly what
we're dealing with.
First of all, it all comes down to follicles. Damage the follicle and
you end hair growth. Period. That's why laser hair removal is
considered permanent it kills the follicle. As long as the follicle
isn't damaged, your hair will grow back just like it was before.
So what about waxing? Waxing certainly has the potential to do more
damage than shaving, because you are pulling the hair right out of the
follicle. Waxing, in essence is the same process as plucking only you
can do more hairs at the same time. The effect is the same, pulling
out hairs from the "root" and the more you do it greater the
likelihood of follicle damage. Again, no exact numbers on this.
Now, this is just my opinion, but I cannot imagine that the type of
wax would make a difference, unless the technique for removing certain
types of waxes is a gentler process which would reduce the amount of
damage to the follicle.
How much waxing is "safe" doesn't seem to be definitive. Everybody
seems to ballpark eyebrow follicle damage somewhere between "once" and
"several." (not helpful I know!) I do have to wonder if the numbers
are fuzzy because it is different for different people. Just like our
genetics effect to what length we can grow the hair on our head, it
may also effect how sensitive to damage our eyebrow follicles are.
But of all our hairs, eyebrows are the most sensitive. As I noted
earlier, for eyebrows, damage can occur after just a few encounters.
And as you pointed out, the one source mentioned that even one waxing
can be enough to cause irreversible damage. But, I've been unable to
find any literature which gives numbers, percentages or detailed
projections on regrowth success.
One thing to think about if you have had to get your eyebrows waxed
more than once to maintain the look you want, then obviously your
eyebrows ARE growing back after more than one treatment. I would think
this would bode well for those newly removed hairs you'd like to
You said ---------------
"So after two months, 90% of the eyebrow will return. What I would
like to know is about the remaining 10%. I want to know what
percentage of the eyebrows plucked returns over the course of, say,
the next year."
We have to remember that at any time, a certain percentage of the
follicles are in fact not actively producing hair and in fact may be
in the process of losing hair. I wonder (and again, I don't have the
data) if 90% is considered "full" re-growth. Perhaps they are assuming
that in any 2-month period, 10% of the follicles are not producing
hairs so are not expected to "sprout" during that time.
Take a look at this next section. It explains the growth cycle of
hairs and how these cycles are affected by cutting or pulling hairs.
It might help make sense of the above percentages.
HAIR GROWTH PHASES
ANAGEN PHASE --
On the head, each hair grows one half inch a month for about 2 to 8
years. This called the Anagen phase. For eyebrows and other non-head
hairs, the anagen phase is only about 2-3 months long. This is why
hairs on other parts of the body do not grow as long as head hairs.
CATAGEN / TELOGEN PHASE --
After the growth (anagen) phase, the hair moves into the catagen phase
and rests. As this phase comes to an end, the follicle ejects the hair
in a phase called telogen and subsequently the anagen phase begins
again to generate a new hair.
For head hairs this rest phase lasts for about 2 to 4 months. Hair
located on other body sites (eg, eyebrows, trunk, and extremities) is
characterized by longer telogen phases (up to 9 months) and shorter
anagen periods (4-7 months).
Therefore, for head hair, the phase cycle is constantly repeated with
about 90% of hairs in anagen phase and 10% in the telogen phase at any
However, because the cycle of eyebrow hairs is longer in the telogen
phase than anagen, the proportion is the opposite. At any given time
90% are resting and only 10% are growing.
HAIR ANATOMY AND GROWTH
THE BIOLOGY OF HAIR
HUMAN HAIR GROWTH CYCLE
HAIR GROWTH CYCLES
So, what does this mean to you?
waxing is not permanent. In fact, when the hair is pulled out, the
follicle is stimulated to begin anagen phase again, and a new hair
grows within several weeks.
.The new hair, which is softly tapered,
takes a few weeks to reach the surface of the skin, and therefore
regrowth is delayed, rather than immediate.
. Emergency rooms doctors are taught not to shave eyebrows
Because 90% of the hairs in the eyebrow are in telogen phase (as
opposed to 10% of scalp hairs in telogen phase) it usually takes many
months or years before the growth phase naturally switches to anagen.
For this reason, shaved eyebrows seem to take "forever" before they
regrow. When a telogen eyebrow hair is plucked however, the growth
phase is disrupted and the hair is immediately converted to anagen
phase, with predictable regrowth."
"When hair is cut with a razor, the tip becomes squared off. This
makes the new growth feel stubbly or "thicker." Shaving does not
stimulate hair growth. The new growth feels more coarse because the
tip of the hair has a sharp cut edge, rather than a natural tapered.
Plucking, electrolysis, and laser removal result in regrowth of a
naturally soft tapered hair."
"This small study demonstrates for the first time that full brow cilia
regrowth is possible after completely shaving an eyebrow."
Cilia regrowth of shaven eyebrows.
Fezza JP, Klippenstein KA, Wesley RE.
"A novel and simple approach to single hair follicle transplantation
for alopecia is a hair threaded on a curved needle with the follicle
attached. It is the best
procedure in certain areas, namely the
The presented technique
has been time-tested by the senior
author for the last 20 years."
The "pluck and sew" technique of individual hair follicle placement.
Caputy GG, Flowers RS.
This research is unrelated to what you are talking about, but DOES
contain the following encouraging statement:
A laser pulse close to the upper part of the eyebrow induced a blaze
and the eyebrow was instantly destroyed by the fire. Regrowth of the
eyebrow was complete after a few months
Hair ignition by dye laser for port-wine stain: risk factors
Molin L, Hallgren S.
PUBMED SEARCH HISTORY # OF RESULTS
#28 Search eyebrow AND regeneration 10
#27 Search eyebrow AND regenerate 0
#24 Search eyebrow AND regrowth 3
#23 Search eyebrow AND removal 34
#22 Search eyebrow AND regrow 0
#20 Search eyebrow AND waxing 0
#17 Search eyebrow AND follicle 9
#16 Search eyebrow AND tweezing 1
#13 Search eyebrow AND removal 34
#12 Search eyebrow AND wax 0
#11 Search eyebrow AND waxed 0
#7 Search eyebrow AND growth 34
#6 Search eyebrow AND hair 626
#4 Search eyebrow 846
#3 Search eyebrow AND hair AND follicle 9
#1 Search eyebrow hair follicle 9
I did a similar search of emedicine.com with fewer results.
So that's the extent of what I can find online. I do hope this gives
you a sense of what is or isn't known about eyebrow regrowth after
hairs are removed.
Again, thank you for your question