Scientifically Proven Side Effects A Man Gets Shaving Their Head

For men, shaving the head isn't exactly news. Males around the Mediterranean area of the world — think Ancient Egypt — practiced shaving the head thousands of years ago. Per the Atlantic, Alexander the Great decreed that his soldiers should shave their heads and beards for purely practical reasons: In the days when warfare was largely hand-to-hand, long hair located anywhere on the body was a potential handhold for an enemy. Though we've graduated to longer range weaponry, the practice is still common among armed forces today, and also serves to reduce disease and poor hygiene — though those reasons aren't particularly new either.

The ancient Egyptians had an almost maniacal obsession with personal cleanliness, including rituals about how to establish and maintain it, according to Ancient History Encyclopedia. Around 450 BCE the Greek historian Herodotus reported that the Egyptians bathed several times a day, in addition to removing body hair by a variety of methods, including, but not limited to, razors, pumice stones, and depilatory concoctions. Animals were hairy — not human beings.

It's no secret that some men shave their head

There's no question but an adult male with a full head of hair is considered impressive. Studies have indicated that abundant male hair is even perceived as hyper-masculine, presumably in a good way. As LiveScience tells us, "Think of the Biblical hero Samson, whose strength was in his tresses." The question then arises: Since we no longer live in the times of ancient Egypt, why would a man shave his head? At least one study suggests that once the hairline starts to recede, there is a perception of weakening and aging, and a man might actually be better off cutting to the chase and, well, cutting off what remains of his cranial hair. As explained by an article in the journal Social Psychology and Personality Science, some physical traits tend to be perceived consistently as dominant: brown eyes over blue, for instance. The perception of hair, said the study, is a little more malleable.

Pay someone, or do it yourself

Male pattern baldness can be a source of personal despair. Helpful or not, there are scientific measurements out there that will let you know just how far along your balding has come, according to the American Hair Loss Association. Action-figure icons like Bruce Willis, Vin Diesel and Jason Statham all sport shaved heads. Very manly, and generally considered attractive. The look goes back further — Yul Brynner, of The Magnificent Seven and The King and I, famously kept his head shaved for his very active career. It didn't hurt.

That's the psychological science. What about the biology? Because like everything else in this modern world of ours, there's a divergence of opinion. Should I, or shouldn't I? Some of the side effects will be purely psychological. On the one hand, no more product, no more combs, no more trips to the barber shop or hair stylists. Men tend to wear the same hairstyle longer than women do, but once the hair starts to go away, there's a certain freedom involved with not having to bother with that cowlick that's persisted since you were four years old.

The look works for Vin Diesel

Do you actually like the shape of your head, unadorned by hair? On the other hand, if you're balding, you might not have a choice anyway. (There's always hats. And caps. And, yes, toupees.) Once shaved, if you're running about with nothing between your scalp and the clear blue sky, there's the distinct possibility of sunburn, particularly in areas that have had hair over them for your previous lifetime. Your scalp is just another stretch of skin, after all, and proper precautions should be taken to protect it from harmful sun exposure.

Consider the possibility that with less hair comes less padding — meaning a shaved head won't have hair to cushion unseemly encounters with other, harder, possibly sharp surfaces. How tall are you, and how high is that door frame? Don't forget that a cut on the head, whether from a miscalculation or from a razor, can result in bleeding, and head wounds, regardless of the source, bleed copiously.

Bruce Willis seems to be doing okay, too

Frequency of shaving can make a big difference. Does the head get scraped as often as the face, or just when the stubble gets overpowering? Shaving any part of the human anatomy, male or female, brings its own rewards, but also its own challenges. Just as careless use of a razor can damage a man's face, the same fate can occur over the rest of the head. One potential difficulty is acne. Done carelessly, shaving the head can irritate the remaining follicles, causing redness, swelling, infection, and ingrown hairs. Besides appearing unsightly, the resulting condition can be painful as well. Shaving carelessly can damage the skin in other ways, causing rashes or introducing harmful bacteria that can produce painful and unsightly conditions like folliculitis.

It's a tough call, but don't let this discourage you. It's your head, and this is still America. Done right, shaving your head will result in smooth sailing.