What happens to our hair after death? Is there still hair growth after death? I think the answer to these questions is quite obvious. Because our body systems have stopped functioning, our hair naturally growth stops after death. But several speculations and issues have been raised with regards to the true condition of hair growth after death.
There is a popular myth which says that hair continues to grow even after death. This myth, according to the magazine New Scientist, seems to be popularized by medical students working with cadavers. According to these medical students, hair growth is a noticeable phenomenon among the cadavers in their study. Accordingly, this myth made its way to reach the belief of many.
However, studies show that this seemingly growth of a dead person’s hair is only due to decomposition. Decomposition is the process of dehydrating the body after death. Many factors such as how deep a corpse is buried or the amount of its exposure to air and water determines how long a body will take to be dehydrated. Coffins may also cause the decomposition process to slow down. Generally, it takes a year before a body becomes nearly fully decomposed. In the process of decomposition, the body is dried and desiccated causing a retraction of the skin around the hair. In essence, the retracted skin might be responsible for creating an illusion that the hair has actually grown, when in fact it did not. While everything else in the body part shrinks due to dehydration or removal of water inside which compose almost 70% of the body, the hair remains intact thus appearing as if there was still hair growth after death. The hair remains intact even after death because it is a natural dead protein ever since, the only thing that is alive and makes hair growth is the hair follicle. The hair follicles eventually also die with the absence of living cells necessary to carry out their function of growing hair.
Indeed, hair growth requires a complex hormonal function that is not possible after death. Therefore, hair growth after death is one thing that would remain a fiction.