3 Things We Learned About Our Hair in 2016

Hair loss remedies are improving; more millennials can cut their own hair than do basic DIY; and pube-grooming may have surprisingly dark consequences.

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Every month we try to learn three things about our body. What’s going on down there? Why does it do that? Will it ever stop? With 2016 drawing to a close, we’ve rounded up some of the most fascinating things we’ve learned about our favorite and most important body parts. Keep an eye out for our other pieces focusing on our brains, our general bodies and, yes, our genitals, but for now, here are three memorable things we learned about our hair this year.

The end of baldness?

Luckily for the follicly-challenged, science and technology are progressing in the world of hair loss (at least when compared with coloring the scalp with spray paint, powder or permanent ink.) L’Oreal announced in September that it’s optimistic about a method of 3D printing hair follicles capable of sprouting new hair, using a “bio-ink” created with natural cells. Another, more counterintuitive strategy to regrow hairs—developed by Dr. Cheng-Ming Chuong of the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California—involves ripping them out first: Chuong successfully demonstrated that plucking 200 hairs in a specific pattern induced 1,200 replacement hairs to grow in a mouse. So, problem solved for balding mice; the rest of us will need to wait.

Millennials guys can’t throw a curveball, but can (and do) cut their own hair

A November consumer study asked 1,000 American men—Baby Boomers and Millennials—about their ability to perform traditionally masculine skills like changing your car’s oil, filleting a fish and making a fire without matches. Boomers had the edge in nearly every category (e.g. 72 percent of them could fix a leaky faucet compared to only 37 percent of Millennials and half of Boomers could fillet a fish to 35 percent of Millennials). But there’s one area where youth won out: Nearly 40 percent of Millennials reported being able to cut their own hair, compared to only 28 percent of Boomers, with seven out of 10 indicating they had done so in the past month. As for why, the survey pointed to new clipper technology and the widespread availability of haircutting video tutorials available online. Of course, not all of those videos are going to get you the results you want.

People who groom their pubic hair are more likely to have had an STI

A December study from the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections found people who have “mowed the lawn” at least once in their lifetimes were nearly twice as likely to say they had had at least one STD. And “extreme groomers” – those who remove all their pubic hair more than 11 times each year — were more than four times as likely to have had an infection. Of course, as MEL points out, there’s no conclusive proof that pube-trimming itself puts a person at higher risk of an STI: It just seems likely that those with an obsessive interest in maintaining a neat downstairs area are doing more casual boot-knocking than others.