Most men remember well the horror that they felt when they first discovered a gray hair in their beard. Many, in a moment of panic, reach for a pair of tweezers in order to pluck out that gray hair and launch it into oblivion. Of course, one gray hair eventually leads to five, and then 20, and so on.
Of course, the real question is whether or not plucking out a gray hair is the best course of action. Today, we’ll be talking about what really happens when you pluck those grays, as we’ve all heard old wives’ tales and other warnings over the years.
Does Plucking Out Grays Deliver Long-Term Benefits?
Some men mistakenly believe that once they pluck out a gray hair, it’s gone forever, and that the next hair that will take its place will be the color of their natural hair. However, this isn’t the case, sadly. Once an individual facial hair has turned gray, it means that the follicle itself can no longer produce pigment. Therefore, that gray hair that you plucked will only be replaced with another gray in the near future.
However, we have to dispel the classic myth that plucking out one gray will cause more grays to appear. This simply isn’t true, as it’s not rooted in science.
What Happens When You Pluck a Gray Hair?
So, what really happens to your beard and skin when you pluck out a gray hair? Allow us to explain.
Increased Risk of Ingrown Hairs
First, plucking a gray hair out of your face increases your risk of ingrown hairs. That’s because doing so disturbs the follicle, resulting in a slight injury. This can cause the next hair to grow in an irregular manner, and it can lead to an infection.
Potential Permanent Damage to the Follicle
It’s not unusual for a follicle to stop producing hair if you’re constantly plucking the strand that grows out of it. Essentially, constantly plucking from the same follicle tells the follicle that it can stop trying to grow a new hair.
An Uneven Appearance
If you’re regularly plucking out multiple gray hairs, you can end up with a patchy, uneven-looking beard. As we get older, more and more of our follicles lose their pigment, which means that inevitably, we’ll have more and more gray hairs. Trying to pluck out each one can cause you to end up with bald spots all over your face, which is anything but attractive.
Lastly, plucking can lead to skin irritation. You know how your skin hurts as you pluck out a hair? This is because the skin becomes injured due to the pulling action. Eventually, this can lead to skin irritation as the skin cells try to protect themselves against the constant pain.
Don’t Be “Plucking” Around When It Comes to Your Beard
As it turns out, plucking out one gray won’t cause ten to grow in its place, but it can cause some level of damage to the follicle and surrounding skin. If you’re struggling with grays, first remember that it’s a natural part of aging, so there’s only so much that you can do. However, if you can’t stand the salt and pepper look, we suggest other routes, such as dyeing your beard, rather than plucking out individual gray hairs.