Will Hair-Thickening Shampoo Make My Body Hair Grow Wild?

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If all you needed to reverse the course of male-pattern baldness was some over-the-counter hair-thickening shampoo, don’t you think Hulk Hogan and Donald Trump would have ditched their bandanas and combovers (respectively) by now?

Unfortunately for the Hulkster, the Donald and millions of other men around the globe (and more than a few women too), hair-thickening shampoos don’t actually create more hair; they merely make the hair you already have look a little more lush.

In other words, they’re nothing more than an optical illusion. “These shampoos can work by improving moisture retention in the hair fibers, temporarily plumping the strands,” says Jeffrey Benabio, Physician Director of Healthcare Transformation at Kaiser Permanente in San Diego. Others use materials such as silicone to coat the hair shaft, says Nicole Rogers, a hair-transplant surgeon in New Orleans, an effect that’s short-lived. “The problem is that they only last until the next shampoo,” she explains.

And so, it’s impossible to truly transform the hair currently on your head—or to the question at hand, other parts of your body—with hair-thickening shampoo. As Benabio points out, “Hair fibers don’t contain any living cells, similar to nails. Therefore, the hair that’s already grown can’t grow thicker.”

There are, however, medications that can reverse the balding process by allowing dormant hair follicles to grow new hair, e.g., minoxidil (the active ingredient in products like Rogaine) and finasteride (the active ingredient in products like Propecia). Surgical options include hair transplants and either scalp reduction (cutting out areas of the scalp that are hairless, which give the areas with hair more real estate) or scalp expansion (stretching the more fertile sections of your scalp until they overwhelm they barren sections).

If you’re uninterested in any of the medical or surgical options described above or if you’re unconcerned about your thinning hair, there’s always the alternative: Keepin’ it real.

There’s no such thing as a stupid question—especially when it comes to your body, your health or your hygiene. Send us the things that you’ve always wondered about to bm@dollarshaveclub.com.