Women are enough obsessed with hair – they want their babies to grow a head full of hair. Interestingly in some of the Eastern countries, shaving baby’s first hairs on the head is part of their culture because they believe shaving stimulates hair growth.
Some even attach the belief to religious reasons – perhaps it gives them a better excuse to give up the beauty of hairy heads. But then they believe that shaving the head stimulates thicker, healthier and fuller heads. Whether it is scientifically backed, we shall read soon.
The hair follicles are determined in specific numbers at the time of birth. The follicles are essentially sacs that give rise to hair. The number of follicles on our head influences the number of hairs we grow in our lifetime, apart from determining the nature of the hair – the texture, density or whether it is going to be curly, wavy or straight.
Leonica Kei, director and senior trichologist at Philip Kingsley Trichological Center in Singapore has to say that the number of hair follicles is associated with the genes. The genes determine how many hair follicles one would have, and therefore the number cannot be altered.
Kei also says that several babies are born with invisible hair known as vellus hair. The vellus hair is low in pigmentation, and fine and short; it changes in nature between the third and the seventh month after birth. By the second birthday, a baby will have all the vellus hair replaced by thick, mature, terminal hair.
Therefore, it seems less likely that your baby’s hair would grow better after it has had a head-shave. The factors that influence the diameter and the growth of your child’s hair is solely influenced by the follicles in the scalp. However, you cannot deny that the heatlh of your baby’s hair depends upon factors such as good nutrition.
So if genes and proper nutrition make up your baby’s hair, should you shave them at all? No! The other valid reason to avoid or delay shaving its head is that babies scalp are tender and therefore could be vulnerable to injuries. Kei says that the top of the head called fontanelle is very soft because the skull bones are not articulated together yet.
Maintaining the hygiene of the scalp and hair is also essential to promote healthy hair. It’s ideal to wash your baby’s scalp on a regular basis to avoid the natural secretions from the scalp to congeal into cradle cap which are basically oily, yellow-brown flakes. While this is not a serious condition, it is definitely not a pretty sight and is unpleasant. It is something like dandruff in adults that can be cleared off with mild medicated shampoo or by loosening the flakes.