Myth of EM? Eyebrows and shaving

I’ve internalized all the dogma of medicine, for good and bad.

When I was an EMT, green as a twig in an ER, I’d learned the basics: for any wound with hair employ the razor, and get the hair away from the laceration so the doc could do a good closure.

So, employment week 3, eyebrow lac? Shaved that sucker clean off. ED doc freaked out, and I learned some Dogma: don’t shave eyebrows, they don’t grow back.  Heard it later, too.  All the way through training, in fact.

Hmm. My now older-guy eyebrows would like to disagree…..

I shave my face, nearly daily. All the hair comes back. I have women in the home, who bemoan their razor-rituals.  I see younguns with cuts deliberately made in their brows, with blithe unconcern they might be permanently bald there…

I’ve never, ever seen a person come in with one normal and one shorn-off brow, never. (I’ve seen people with shaven brows and penciled in, unlikely shaped, eyebrows but that’s an interesting choice).

So. Myth of EM? I think so. I seek the wisdom of the learned crowd.


  1. Mrs. Fred says:

    As a teen, I tweezed my “way too wide” brows ’til they were the shape I preferred. They’re thin, so I’ve spent LOTS of $ on eyebrow pencils over the years to “fill them in”.

  2. Rae the Tech says:

    I say we shave both eyebrows so they’ll at least have a balanced look!

  3. Interesting question. If the follicle isn’t damaged, as it becomes after repeated tweezings. I would think it may grow back. I know when I went through chemo, I lost some of mine, but it filled back in once treatments were behind me.

  4. Interesting the myths we hear about hair. If you go to an esthetician where they do waxing and electrolysis, all the staff will be completely convinced that men have beards because they shave.

    Of course eyebrows grow back, but maybe they grow back slowly. What would be the rationale for thinking otherwise? That eyebrows stop growing at age, um, seventeen for the sake of argument? Or whenever their last molars come in? Are eyebrow hairs supposed to be like teeth? (So why would anyone need to pluck their brows more than once in their life, and why do old people’s eyebrows look bushier than young people’s eyebrows?)

  5. Steve Lucas says:

    Don’t know about eye brows. There is an old story of many, many years ago about a kid who shows up in the ER with a scalp wound. Blood everywhere, parents upset, and the young ER doc calls for a razor to shave part of the kids head.

    Over walks a young EMT just back from Viet Nam where he had been a medic. First he calms everyone down, including the doctor. He then cleans the kid up and tells the doctor to watch.

    Pulling the scalp together he uses the kid’s hair to tie the nicest tight knots holding everything in place. He then tells the parents to watch for infection and in a couple of weeks to carefully cut the knots and comb the kid’s hair.

    He then went on to explain that in Viet Nam the real medical problem was the risk of infection due to broken skin. A friend was in Fiji and received a minor cut. He nearly died from the resulting infection.

    All this scraping can create problems beyond just the cosmetic.

    Steve Lucas

  6. Are you kidding? My cousin wouldn’t have a job if eyebrows didn’t grow back! She’s a Licensed Esthetician and the majority of her business is repeat customers for eyebrow shaping.

    Plus, Buddhist monks of certain lineages have to shave their heads and eyebrows at least once a month. If eyebrows didn’t grow back, I’m sure they’d be happy they didn’t have to get that close to their eyeballs with a razor!

  7. The question is moot. There is no need to shave hair any place on the body for any reason. I never shave hair on the face or scalp. Yes, eyebrows can regrow but they ususally don’t fully grow in. (See comment #1.) I completely agree with comment #6.

  8. Mine grew back. All three times I got cuts over my eyes as a kid, in fact. One on right side, two on the left. My anecdote is not data, but it is truth.

  9. The question is not moot. If we’re perpetuating dogma that’s wrong, it’s wrong.

    I never have eyebrows shaved, and do not advocate ever shaving them, but that doesn’t make the question less useful.

    We only occasionally shave, and then scalps which are, well, scalp jobs and will take a a lot of effort to get closed.

    Thanks to all. Now I don’t worry so much about that guys eyebrow.

  10. penguinman000 says:

    Yep, eye brows do grow back. One of my knuckle headed Sailors shaved his a couple of weeks ago (not sure why). Now imagine a 6’2″ 220 lbs Chamoro with now eye brows. He scares the bejesus out of the Afghani kids. He looks like a Tim Burton version of “Powder”.

  11. For why then, does my wife plead with me and the barber offer to trim my brows each time I visit his chair?

    I say Balderdash.

  12. CholeraJoe says:

    Adam Savage blew one of his eyebrows off on Mythbusters and it grew back.

  13. penguinman000 says:

    I was always taught not to shave the eyebrow prior to suturing due to to screwing up the margins. I.e. you shave it, sew up the lac and then end up with a jagged eyebrow.

  14. I don’t know about shaving, but I can tell you my eyebrows grew back after chemo and my father’s grew back after a fireball burnt his off.

  15. Google current pics of Bob Geldof and his thick eyebrows – after he shaved them off in “The Wall”.

  16. As I understand it, eyebrows just have the potential to grow back VERY slowly-if you hit the wrong point in the growth cycle, when the majority of the follicles are dormant, it could be 6-9 months before they properly fill in.