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RedDawgEsq
11-21-2005, 09:11 AM
This morning upon gazing into the mirror I discovered that a single eyebrow hair had grown overnight to a length of almost an inch (several times the length of its neighbors). I know it wasn't there when I went to sleep. Something similar has happened to me several times in my life but this was the first time in about 10 years. Made me wonder what the underlying physiology of such "wild" hairs might be, or if the phenomenon has ever been studied or documented? A brief exercise of the SDMB search engine was unproductive.

Ike Witt
11-21-2005, 09:24 AM
Totally unrelated to the question you have just asked, but did you ever find a Sensaround sound system for your theater?

RedDawgEsq
11-21-2005, 09:29 AM
Totally unrelated to the question you have just asked, but did you ever find a Sensaround sound system for your theater?
a) No
b) Would you care to sell me some of your memory?

twickster
11-21-2005, 10:05 AM
The hair didn't actually grow an inch overnight -- it had probably been there but behaving itself the night before.

Try mousse.

Ike Witt
11-21-2005, 10:22 AM
Would you care to sell me some of your memory?

Anybody remember "Sensurround"? (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=215911)

RedDawgEsq
11-21-2005, 12:01 PM
The hair didn't actually grow an inch overnight -- it had probably been there but behaving itself the night before.

Try mousse.

twickster: Yes, the hair grew (almost) and inch, overnight, believe me. This wasn't the first time. (Well, maybe the first time for this particular hair.) But even if it took several days or weeks (which it didn't), what causitive effect would result in one hair growing noticably (4X-5X) longer than its neighbors over any amount of time (which was, in this case, about 8 hours, honest)?

RedDawgEsq
11-21-2005, 12:04 PM
Anybody remember "Sensurround"? (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=215911)
Adam, I remember posing the question and the ensuing discussion, I'm just wondering how you did??

Ike Witt
11-21-2005, 12:24 PM
Adam, I remember posing the question and the ensuing discussion, I'm just wondering how you did??
I have a photogenic memory. That and I review all my old posts every now and then just to keep things fresh in the ol' noggin'.

Fear Itself
11-21-2005, 12:36 PM
twickster: Yes, the hair grew (almost) and inch, overnight, believe me. I am having a hard time, because it so grossly exceeds the average hair growth rates for eyebrows (http://www.keratin.com/aa/aa013.shtml):Eyebrow hair is a protective patch of hair above the eye sockets. It channels away sweat and other fluids and helps reduce any excessive glare from sunlight entering the eyes. Average maximum hair length is about 10mm. The hair fiber is curved and coarse and includes a medulla. Hair growth rate is typically 0.16mm per day in both men and women. This is one of the slowest growth rates of any hair follicle type found on the human body. Slow growth has led to some degree of superstition from many in the medical and cosmetic industries. Some surgeons are wary of shaving eyebrows for fear they will not grow back. They do grow but the rate of growth is so slow that the patient may become concerned. Eyebrow follicles are also sensitive to injury. Plucking an eyebrow follicle once or twice may lead to extensive and irreversible destruction and no further hair growth.
I'm not calling you a liar, just that it is easier to believe you didn't notice that hair growing so long.

ombre3
11-21-2005, 12:47 PM
I am having a hard time, because it so grossly exceeds the average hair growth rates for eyebrows (http://www.keratin.com/aa/aa013.shtml):I'm not calling you a liar, just that it is easier to believe you didn't notice that hair growing so long.

I think that the rate of eyebrow hairs can tend to grow exponentially depending on age------meaning becoming an old fart.

I have noticed the same thing myself----altho not to that degree.

I don't think he is lying at all.

Earlobe hairs seem to do the same thing after a certain age. My wife will tell me that I have a hair growing out of my earlobe in excess of an inch. And pull the disgusting thing out. I don't know where it came from.------didn't notice it yesterday.

ZipperJJ
11-21-2005, 12:55 PM
I have weird hair and skin issues so this may just happen to me but...

Sometimes I will have the tiniest bump for a while and then one day the bump will be gone and a semi-longish hair will be in it's place. The hair wasn't so much ingrown but "grown over". The skin over the follicle eventually dies and the hair emerges.

Perhaps your long hair was just hiding under some skin and it eventually "popped out".

This is not scientific research BTW. Just a lesson on my face :)

Fear Itself
11-21-2005, 12:59 PM
I don't think he is lying at all. Neither do I. I simply feel he is mistaken.

crowmanyclouds
11-21-2005, 01:09 PM
I just turned 42, and I've started to see the same "wild hairs" in my eyebrows. My WAG is (at least for me) it's crazy old man hairs. :eek: First the super bushy eyebrows, then the crazy ear hair! :(

panache45
11-21-2005, 01:14 PM
If he's a liar, or mistaken, then so am I.

I have a couple eyebrow hairs that do exactly the same thing. I can pull them out, and a few weeks later they're back, at the same length, seemingly overnight.

I also have one hair that grows, at a normal rate, from the middle of the bridge of my nose, about half way up. Luckily, I can feel it and tweeze it before it becomes visible.

It's definitely an age thing. I just turned 60, and this stuff has been happening for a few years now.

RedDawgEsq
11-21-2005, 03:20 PM
I have weird hair and skin issues so this may just happen to me but...

Sometimes I will have the tiniest bump for a while and then one day the bump will be gone and a semi-longish hair will be in it's place. The hair wasn't so much ingrown but "grown over". The skin over the follicle eventually dies and the hair emerges.

Perhaps your long hair was just hiding under some skin and it eventually "popped out".

This is not scientific research BTW. Just a lesson on my face :)
Nope, sorry, there was no pre-existing "bump" from whence the hair could have emerged. Sorry now that I tweezed the sucker; if it happens again, I'll have the wife confirm its rapid appearance (she notices such things) and I'll simply clip it to see if it continues its unusual growth.
Perhaps we should approach the subject from a different angle: What is the etymology of the term"wild hair" as a synonym for something that has a spurious or unexplained nature or component, e.g., getting a 'wild hair' to go skydiving?

Fear Itself
11-21-2005, 03:44 PM
What is the etymology of the term"wild hair" as a synonym for something that has a spurious or unexplained nature or component, e.g., getting a 'wild hair' to go skydiving?I think the phrase is "a wild hare", as in rabbit, which is unpredictable and rash as it jumps around.

Xema
11-21-2005, 04:07 PM
I have a photogenic memory.photogenic ?

From dictionary.com:
pho·to·gen·ic adj.
1. Attractive as a subject for photography.
2. Biology. Producing or emitting light; phosphorescent: photogenic bacteria.
3. Caused or produced by light: photogenic seizures.

RedDawgEsq
11-21-2005, 04:19 PM
I think the phrase is "a wild hare", as in rabbit, which is unpredictable and rash as it jumps around.
Apparently it can be either, here (http://p098.ezboard.com/fwordoriginsorgfrm1.showMessage?topicID=13086.topic) is one further inquiry I have made, but the jury is still out.

Mangetout
11-21-2005, 04:40 PM
I have wild hairs in my eyebrows (they are regularly spaced at about quarter-inch intervals and are thicker and more resilient than the others - I did wonder if they might be some kind of whisker-analogue.

I'm having a hard time accepting the rapid-growth -overnight thing; such a rate would be orders of magnitude above what is normal. Seems much more likely that the hairs were growing nearly flat to the skin, hidden beneath/amongst the main mass of normal eyebrow hairs, then something caused them to curl a bit or become more erect, bringing them suddenly to your attention.

I kind of expect you'll reject this suggestion though.

Ike Witt
11-21-2005, 05:10 PM
photogenic ?
You have never seen my CAT scan have you? My brain is cute as a button, if I do say so myself. If there is ever a need for brain models, I am at the top of a very short list. :D

Actually, it is a slip that my father once made when he was commenting on my memory.

The Scrivener
11-21-2005, 05:45 PM
re. memory: try "eidetic": "of, relating to, or marked by extraordinarily detailed and vivid recall of visual images." :)

RedDawgEsq
11-21-2005, 07:51 PM
I kind of expect you'll reject this suggestion though.

Yep, sure do. The unlikeliness of this kind of growth is what makes it so puzzling and why I am pursuing some sort of explanation, hopefully by someone with medical credentials. Would this fall under dermatology?
I can be so certain of my description of what happened because:

a) I had spent about ten minutes the night before trimming my beard and moustache with the aid of a large concave (magnifying) mirror, and had examined the eyebrow in question because of a different hair that frequently grows in stiffer (but no longer) than the rest, and is, because of that, somewhat irritating. I am absolutely positive I would have seen the subject hair, had it been there. It was not. When I noticed it this morning it was with a normal (non-magnifying) mirror, such was its contrast with the other hairs (which are "normal", not bushy). Switching to the concave mirror the difference was startling. When I I tweezed it out it seemed the same thickness and stiffness as all the rest.

b)This has happened before, although it was so long ago that I have forgotten whether the same eyebrow/hair position may have been involved.

Hopefully it may happen again, in which case I will take great pains to obtain photogenic, er, photographic proof.

samclem
11-21-2005, 08:11 PM
Hopefully it may happen again, in which case I will take great pains to obtain photogenic, er, photographic proof.

The only proof you could offer would be a daily photo, and one in which all the hairs were somehow extended to their maximum length. Then, if a hair suddenly appeared an inch longer on the next days photo, I'd believe you.

I also believe you're merely mistaken, and the hair was perhaps submerged in the mass.

commasense
11-21-2005, 09:11 PM
While we're picking nits, photogenic and otherwise, I just thought I'd mention that "whither" means "to where." I believe the OP probably meant to use "whence" ("from where") in the title.

Askance
11-21-2005, 09:31 PM
I have a couple eyebrow hairs that do exactly the same thing. I can pull them out, and a few weeks later they're back, at the same length, seemingly overnight.Exactly - seemingly overnight but in fact it took a few weeks, as you say. You just noticed it.

Xema
11-21-2005, 09:52 PM
My brain is cute as a button, if I do say so myself.
You should see if you can train it to phosphoresce.

AskNott
11-21-2005, 10:06 PM
Perhaps you could dye or bleach your eyebrows; that would provide a marker for further growth.

"What happened to your eyebrows?"
"I bleached them for research."
:eek: "Really?"
"Oh, yeah. Wanna see the charts?"

samclem
11-21-2005, 10:25 PM
Perhaps you could dye or bleach your eyebrows; that would provide a marker for further growth.

Or just shave them down totally. ::eek::

phouka
11-21-2005, 10:51 PM
See, I get those, and I'm not even a guy, let alone an old one. Even weirder is that they always start off as dark as the rest of my eyebrow hairs and then grow in white. It makes me look like I've got gaps in my eyebrows. Weird frickin' things. At least they lie flat.

RedDawgEsq
11-22-2005, 11:51 AM
You know, I really wish you learned Doubting Dopers who think you know my own body better than I do, would concentrate less on trying to convince me that what happened to me, unlikely as it seems, is somehow due to my faulty observation, and instead focus on trying to find a reasonable, physiological explanation for what happened, because IT DID HAPPEN. I am prepared to accept that there is no scientific explanation; People are not supposed to be able to lift Volkswagens off of their idiot brothers who failed to use proper support under them, but IT HAPPENS. Regardless, implying that I am somehow mistaken about the situation described in the OP is counterproductive and uncharacteristic of Dopers in general.

pool
11-22-2005, 12:44 PM
RedDawg don't take it so personally, the people here have provided you with reasonable explanations of this hair phenomenon. I really doubt that you personally inspected this particular hair amidst the (thousands?) of others and pulled it straight to determine its length, and then the next morning repeated the procedure on the same hair and found that it grew an inch overnight. You asked for answers to this question and thats exactly what you got. No scientific explanation? We're not talking about black holes lol its a hair.

Corii
11-22-2005, 04:06 PM
Well, I've had something similar happen to me as well - once in a great while I will discover an arm hair that was on a turbo charged growth sput and reached an inch or two in length. They're always stark white as well. It's odd because I shave my arms every 4-5 days. I just figure there's some things about my body I'll never understand.

Corii
11-22-2005, 04:08 PM
That would be a growth SPURT, although sput is a terribly amusing word.

RedDawgEsq
11-22-2005, 05:28 PM
You asked for answers to this question and thats exactly what you got.
Pool, in the OP I asked ONE question, to wit: "Made me wonder what the underlying physiology of such "wild" hairs might be, or if the phenomenon has ever been studied or documented?" (OK, granted, its actually two questions.) Kindly point me to a subsequent post that answers those questions. Thank you for your comment.

Mangetout
11-22-2005, 05:54 PM
You know, I really wish you learned Doubting Dopers who think you know my own body better than I do, would concentrate less on trying to convince me that what happened to me, unlikely as it seems, is somehow due to my faulty observation, and instead focus on trying to find a reasonable, physiological explanation for what happened, because IT DID HAPPEN. I am prepared to accept that there is no scientific explanation; People are not supposed to be able to lift Volkswagens off of their idiot brothers who failed to use proper support under them, but IT HAPPENS. Regardless, implying that I am somehow mistaken about the situation described in the OP is counterproductive and uncharacteristic of Dopers in general.I don't think anyone is claiming to know your particular body better than yourself; people are just expressing quite reasonable reservations (and offering suggested explanations) about something you're describing that sounds impossible - not just unlikely. In order for hairs to grow, a whole bunch of different processes have to happen - hair growth is in fact quite a complex thing- for these processes all to suddenly gear up by several (perhaps tens of) orders of magnitude, for one follicle, with no other side effects is more than just an interesting puzzle, it's a description of an event that just doesn't seem likely to have happened that way.

That being the case, the response you're getting is not uncharacteristic of dopers at all; it's exactly what you should expect from a board that has a strong leaning towards natural science and skepticism.

At the border of possibility is this: maybe the follicle from which this hair is growing is actually abnormally deep within your skin; if such a hair should come to the end of its growth cycle and detach from the root, it might be possible for it to become half-pulled-out and stop in that position (prevented from being pulled out totally by the width of the base) - not new growth, just newly-exposed hair shaft, and more of it than yopu might otherwise expect.

There's another possibility I haven't seen mentioned, but you're not going to like it; the hair may be a foreign, stray hair and may have been captured in a pore in your skin; the structure of hair makes it smooth in one direction and grippy in the other - and this works in a way not unlike the barbs on a harpoon - easy to go in, difficult to come out - it is not at all unheard of for stray loose hairs to happen to become lodged in skin pores and work themselves in (the result is usually quite painful and they are hard to pull out - they feel like they are rooted in place to quite a surprising depth.

Askance
11-22-2005, 09:23 PM
because IT DID HAPPENNo, it didn't happen as described.I am prepared to accept that there is no scientific explanationIn that case, you must accept that it didn't happen as described.People are not supposed to be able to lift Volkswagens off of their idiot brothers who failed to use proper support under them, but IT HAPPENS.No, it doesn't. But if it did, that would have no relevance whatsoever on possible growth rates from hair follicles.implying that I am somehow mistaken about the situation described in the OP is counterproductive and uncharacteristic of Dopers in general.No, it's not, it is entirely in character. You being (genuinely, I'm sure) mistaken in your observation is the only explanation that fits the facts. I rather think that the more we doubt your story the more convinced you become that it was so. Nevertheless, I'm afraid you are mistaken.

pokey
11-22-2005, 11:18 PM
I worked with a woman once who told me grew a long hair on her arm overnight and asked the doctor how it was possible and he said that it probably fell out of her head and just happened to get stuck in the pore and that it happens sometimes, probably in bed where hairs fall out and you just sleep on them.

I never knew what to make of that story. She said she showed him the hair and it was really embedded in there. She could pull on it and the skin would pull out just like if it was a real hair growing there. I have no idea if she was even telling me a true story.

When you pull it out, does it have a root?

pokey
11-22-2005, 11:21 PM
There's another possibility I haven't seen mentioned, but you're not going to like it; the hair may be a foreign, stray hair and may have been captured in a pore in your skin; the structure of hair makes it smooth in one direction and grippy in the other - and this works in a way not unlike the barbs on a harpoon - easy to go in, difficult to come out - it is not at all unheard of for stray loose hairs to happen to become lodged in skin pores and work themselves in (the result is usually quite painful and they are hard to pull out - they feel like they are rooted in place to quite a surprising depth.
Oops, sorry I repeated what you said as if it were brand new.

Mangetout
11-23-2005, 05:27 AM
I never knew what to make of that story. She said she showed him the hair and it was really embedded in there. She could pull on it and the skin would pull out just like if it was a real hair growing there. I have no idea if she was even telling me a true story.

When you pull it out, does it have a root?Not in my experience; the embedded end of the hair just has a clean, blunt end (at least the bit that comes out does).

Back when I lived with my parents, my father used to get dog hairs embedded in the soles of his feet on a regular basis; because of the barbed nature of them, the action of walking 'ratchets' them into the pore; pulling on them does indeed raise the skin as if they were genuinely rooted; they make a squeaky, vibrating, almost musical sound when they pull out, for more or less the same reasons that a horsehair bow makes a violin string resonate. Of course skin is somewhat less resonant, so the note is rather more muted.