There are a number of myths concerning the shaving or removal of body hair. One popular misconception is that shaved hair grows back faster or thicker afterwards. In reality, hair is little more than a waste material formed from excess protein and keratin, the same substance found in fingernails. It has no nerve endings, and no other way to signal a faster growth rate to the glands that excreted it. Hair grows at a specific and steady rate for each person, although there may be a slight increase during the summer season.
The act of shaving only removes the ends of the hairs at or slightly below skin level. The actual roots of the hair remain in the follicles or pores deeper in the skin. When hair that has been shaved begins to grow back at its normal rate, the first part of the hair to emerge is the former root, not a tapered shaft. Because the hair root is thicker than the hair that was removed, it appears thicker to the human eye. What makes it appear to grow faster is its darker appearance against bare skin.
Soon after adolescent males begin to develop facial hair, many of them will shave it off quickly, believing the shaved hair will grow back thicker and faster. In some cases, there is actually some measurable growth in facial hair, but shaving is not the root cause. As more and more adult hormones are released into the adolescent's body, there is an increase in the number of active hair follicles. More facial hair appears, but it is not growing at a faster rate than any previous beard or mustache.
The same theory holds true for other body hair growth as well. Some people may have faster hair growth rates than others because of their diets or an inherited genetic factor, but the shaved hair itself has no control over that rate. Women who shave their legs often may experience a stubbly feeling as the coarse root hairs grow out, but they are not forcing more hairs to appear or causing them to grow back faster. Shaving armpit hairs, chest hairs, or pubic hairs also does not affect the actual rate of regrowth, but the skin irritation and itching as the hairs emerge may cause some people to notice those shaved areas a little more than usual.