15 Real Side Effects of Shaving Your Head Bald (2024)

bald man

Going full baldmode is essential for embracing yourself and the bald look, but it’s not all dandy.

Whether you are a seasoned baldy or considering your first shave, here are the main side effects of shaving your head.

I have also included tips on overcoming them based on years of my bald experience.

1. Cuts and Nicks

Cuts and nicks are the most common side effects of shaving your head bald. 

There’s nothing worse than getting ready for a big event only to notice a tiny stream of blood trickling down your freshly shaved scalp. It’s like your head decided to play a prank on you. 

It usually happens because you apply too much pressure to the razor at the wrong angle or are just rushing the shave.

Not only can these cuts be painful, but in some rare cases, they can lead to infections if not properly taken care of. And let me tell you, infections on your scalp are no joke. 

The key is to take your time and use a sharp razor. Don’t rush through your shaving routine like you’re in a speed shaving competition! 

Protip: The fastest way to treat shaving wounds is to use dedicated products like Styptic Pencil, Alum Block, or Glyder. Some common home remedies include lip balm, vaseline, Listerine (mouthwash), and antiperspirant (aluminum chloride).

2. Razor Burns

One of the disadvantages of shaving your head bald is the dreaded razor burn. 

According to ClevelandClinic, razor burn occurs because the razor blade causes friction and small nicks on the skin’s surface. (1)

Other causes include dry shaving, shaving too fast, and a dull razor blade. 

A dull razor blade is the main reason why I started replacing my razor after each third shave because the blade gets too dull and causes friction on my scalp.

Each razor stroke may cause tiny cracks in your top layer of skin (epidermis), along with a loss of hydration and inflammation.

Compared to other side effects, like dryness or itchiness, razor burns can also cause redness, a burning sensation, and small red bumps that just look bad. 

Most times, when I rush the shave, I get razor burns (fortunately, very rarely nowadays). 

It usually stings and itches for 2-3 days and the small bumps make me self-conscious, although I have embraced the bald look. It just looks uncared for.

Protip: To care for razor burn, cleanse the area with a gentle, hypoallergenic cleanser. Apply aloe vera gel to soothe irritation and reduce redness. Avoid shaving until the razor burn heals. (2)

3. Ingrown Hairs

Ingrown hairs (or razor bumps) are one of the most painful downsides of shaving your head bald.

According to Healthline, ingrown hair is a condition where hair grows back into the skin, causing red, painful bumps. (3)

Ingrown hair bumps can happen anywhere hair grows, including your scalp and the back of your neck.

This happens because the sharp edges of the hair shaft can curl back into the skin instead of growing outwards. 

It’s like when you try to put on a shirt and accidentally put your arm through the neck hole instead of the sleeve.

Compared to nicks and cuts, ingrown hairs are way more frustrating. Not only do they cause discomfort, but they can also lead to scarring and even pimples if left untreated. 

Protip: To prevent ingrown hairs, exfoliate regularly, use a sharp and clean razor, rinse the razor frequently, and use proper shaving techniques. Or, use an electric razor and avoid all those drawbacks.

4. Dry Scalp

The most annoying shaved head con for me is a dry scalp. Compared to razor bumps or ingrown hairs, a dry scalp may not seem as severe. 

However, if you have ever experienced it, you know the constant itching is incredibly annoying and distracting. 

Regularly shaving your head removes the protective layer of hair that helps to retain moisture on the scalp. 

This can lead to dryness and an itchy scalp, causing discomfort and irritation. (4)

It’s important to address this issue by using a hydrating scalp shampoo and conditioner specifically designed for dry scalp.

Also, you need to moisturize your scalp daily to keep it healthy and hydrated. Otherwise, it may get dry really fast.

Protip: Opt for lukewarm or cool water instead of hot water while showering. Hot water can strip the scalp’s natural oils, leading to dryness and irritation. The ideal shower temperature is 37°C to 40°C (98°F to 104°F). If you are brave enough, go for a cold shower.

5. Dandruff

According to dermatologists, bald people can get dandruff. How unfair is that? (5, 6)

The reason bald people can suffer from dandruff is that it’s a scalp disorder, not a hair problem.

According to research, dandruff occurs when there is overproduction and buildup of dead skin cells, which are then shed as those pesky white flakes. (7)

Dandruff can be caused by various factors, including yeast (genus Malassezia), seborrheic dermatitis, excessive sunlight exposure, wrong diet, and stress. 

Personally, I find bald head dandruff to be the most annoying drawback as it’s difficult to get rid of. Dandruff affects almost 50% of the general population.

Dandruff vs. Dry Scalp: Dry scalp is caused by a lack of moisture in the scalp, while dandruff is commonly caused by an excess of oil on the scalp and an overgrowth of Malassezia yeast. (8)

6. Sunburn

Probably the most painful side effect of shaving your head bald is sunburn. Without any hair to shield our domes, it becomes more vulnerable to sunburn.

Depending on the level of sunburn, it can result in a painfully red and blistering scalp that eventually starts peeling. (9)

At least once every summer, I still get a painful reminder that you don’t need that much sun to get a sunburn. 

Just forget yourself out for a couple of hours without a suncream or hat, and voila.

To avoid this and to get a safe bald head tan, it’s crucial to always apply sunscreen generously to your scalp before heading out into the sun.

Look for a sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 that is specifically designed for the face and scalp. 

And don’t forget to reapply regularly, especially if you’re sweating or spending extended periods outdoors. 

7. Folliculitis

One of the drawbacks of shaving your head bald is the increased risk of developing folliculitis, a condition where hair follicles become inflamed and infected. 

During shaving, the hair is cut at the base, leaving sharp edges that can pierce the skin as they regrow, creating entry points for bacteria. 

These bacteria can enter the follicles, causing infection and inflammation.

According to MayoClinic, common folliculitis symptoms include: (10)

  • Clusters of small bumps or pimples around hair follicles
  • Pus-filled blisters that break open and crust over
  • Itchy, burning skin
  • Painful, tender skin
  • An inflamed bump

Dealing with folliculitis requires proper hygiene and a skincare routine, such as using a gentle cleanser and keeping the scalp clean and moisturized. 

Folliculitis vs. Scalp Acne: Scalp acne results from clogged follicles, forming pimples, while folliculitis is an infection of hair follicles, causing red and painful bumps. (11)

8. Uneven Skin Color

Compared to other side effects, an uneven skin color might not be painful, but it’s the most difficult to change.

The uneven appearance occurs mainly due to sun exposure. 

While your face and neck are always exposed to the sun, your scalp may have never seen direct sunlight if this is your first time shaving.

For many new bald men, the difference in skin color can be a significant concern and make them even more self-conscious about their appearance compared to dealing with hair loss.

This is especially true if the contrast is very noticeable.

The easiest way to solve this is to either accept it and live with it or work on achieving a natural tan that smooths out the color difference.

The most common way to tan a bald head is through direct sun exposure, but it’s essential to use at least SPF30+ sunscreen to protect your skin.

Alternatively, using self-tanners can provide a safer option for achieving an even skin tone. 

Protip: According to the FDA, there is no such thing as safe sun exposure. Sun rays trigger the production of melanin, a skin pigment that heightens the risk of skin cancer development. (12)

9. Upkeep

The upkeep is a bald head problem that no one talks about, although it requires regular effort from you.

The ironic reality is that your hair might be balding in the middle, but the rest of the head is blessed with fast hair regrowth. 

Research suggests that on average, hair tends to grow between 0.2–0.7 inches (0.5–1.7 cm) per month. (13)

I usually feel a small stubble under my fingers and see a small hair shadow the 1-2 days after a wet shave.

The hair regrowth maintenance just requires time and planning, especially when you have an important meeting next day and 11 PM you remember that you haven’t shaved for days.

Personally, I find the upkeep to be worth it, because I feel that the outgrown look is just uncared for. 

Protip: If you are lazy and don’t want to put in the time, then use an electric razor. You will need to use it daily, but it’s fast and convenient. The only downside is that you cannot get that smooth look. Instead, you will get that Jason Statham stubble.

10. Temperature Sensitivity

Once you go baldmode, your scalp is exposed to the elements and becomes extremely sensitive to temperature.

Without hair acting as insulation, your scalp becomes more sensitive to temperature changes and airflow. 

My experience with this was that due to lack of temperature regulation (no hair) I couldn’t sleep in a cold room, as I was used to before. 

I basically sneezed all night instead of sleeping.

So, I ended up increasing the bedroom temperature a couple of degrees. It was a bit uncomfortable, but I adapted.

This sensitivity makes it necessary to wear a hat in less-than-pleasant weather, adding an extra consideration to your daily outfit. 

If you live in a colder climate, this side effect can have an even greater impact. In winter temperatures below 10 degrees, wearing a beanie becomes almost essential for comfort. 

11. Exposed Skin

An unseeable con of being bald was the exposure of my scalp.

A bald head comes with increased sensitivity to the elements and anything that comes in contact with it. 

Each small bump now feels way more painful than it did before. Compared to having hair, even the slightest knock can cause discomfort. 

I never realized how often I would bump my head on things until I embraced the bald look. 

I’ve learned to be extra careful when getting up from bending over or cleaning under a desk or shelf. 

I’ve injured my head several times in a hurry, accidentally hitting it on something above me. It’s a small inconvenience, but it can be really annoying and even painful at times. 

12. Horseshoe Shadow

One baggage that comes with a bald head is the dreaded “horseshoe shadow.” 

This occurs when the hair around the sides and back of your head grows slightly faster than the hair on top, resembling the shape of a horseshoe. 

It happens because hair follicles in these areas are more resistant to balding and continue to produce hair. 

The severity of this hair shadow mainly depends on your hair color. The darker it is, the worst the shadow.

In terms of how bad it is, well, it really depends on your personal preference and comfort level.

Some people don’t mind the horseshoe shadow, and others feel self-conscious about it.

Personally, I hate it, but I have accepted it as there’s not much I can do about it. This also the reason I prefer razors, as the shadow is just amplified with electric razors.

13. Scalp Hypersensitivity

The more often and aggressively you shave your head, the more likely you will experience scalp hypersensitivity.

The constant shaving can lead to irritation and inflammation, causing the scalp to become sensitive. This sensitivity can manifest as itching, redness, and discomfort. 

Additionally, some baldies may experience allergic reactions to certain shaving products or the act of shaving itself, exacerbating the sensitivity further.

For most of us, this sensitivity is due to improper shaving techniques or wrong tools. But some bald heads come with naturally sensitive skin, and they cannot afford razor shaving at all.

To address scalp hypersensitivity, it is important to take proper care of the scalp. This includes using gentle shaving techniques and products specifically designed for sensitive skin. 

Moisturizing the scalp regularly can also help alleviate any dryness or itching. Additionally, avoiding any products that may trigger allergic reactions is crucial.

14. Amplified Imperfections

Shaving your head bald amplifies all the imperfections you even didn’t know you had. 

The most common imperfection is your bald head shape, which you will know only after a shave. 

Your skull shape is what people will constantly see. If you have an odd head shape, you might be self-conscious, making it harder to accept.

Unless you are genetically blessed with sharp cheekbones and a well-defined jawline or can grow a great beard to compensate, you may feel self-conscious about your shaved head. 

These are common fears among first-time baldies, who sometimes struggle to accept the new reality of their shaved head. 

In the end, there isn’t much you can do except accept yourself and your flaws and focus on things that you can change.

15. Bald Jokes

Going baldmode will very likely result in you becoming the subject of bald jokes.

This is because society often uses humor as a way to cope with uncomfortable or unfamiliar situations. 

Being bald may be seen as different or out of the norm, so people resort to making jokes to break the ice or alleviate any awkwardness they may feel.

People may start cracking jokes about your shiny scalp and lack of hair, and while most of them may be harmless, they can still sting if you’re self-conscious. 

Here are my two tips on dealing with these jokes:

  • First, you need to accept yourself as a bald man and learn to laugh at yourself. You cannot pull this off without it. You can fake it until you make it.
  • The second tip is to add an additional layer of a joke on top of the previous joke and laugh it off. When you do this, you take away the power of the other person.
  • This implies that you are confident in your own skin, and you don’t provide a reaction. Think about it, it’s hard to offend anyone who accepts everything that you say and just laughs at it.


Can shaving my head cause scalp irritation?

Yes, shaving can irritate the scalp, leading to redness, itchiness, and discomfort.

What is razor burn, and how can I treat it?

Razor burn is a skin irritation caused by shaving. To treat it, apply aloe vera gel or a mild moisturizer to soothe the affected area.

How do I prevent ingrown hairs after shaving my head?

To prevent ingrown hairs, shave in the direction of hair growth, use a sharp razor, and exfoliate the scalp regularly.

Are there any long-term side effects of regular head shaving?

Consistent head shaving may lead to scalp sensitivity or changes in hair texture, but these are usually temporary and mild.

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