Why Are Bald Heads Shiny?

I’ve noticed that many men who are bald have heads that tend to be shiny–moreso than the skin on other regions of their bodies. What is the reason for this?

Are they applying a substance to their heads to create this effect, or does it arise naturally?


I’m sure you can get your head waxed or use some creams, but it’s natural. The lack of working follicles may be a factor, but I suspect there’s something else at work, too.

It’s natural. I shave my head every morning, so it is smooth and shiny all day. For the most part, the shine on mine comes from all the oils that my scalp pumps out that would ordinarily end up in my hair. All I have to do is run my hand over my head and look at my fingers to see the oil.

Then again, a little Turtle Wax gives a nice sheen too. :smiley:

I think it is also because the skin is stretched relatively tightly over a hard surface. You don’t get that with other body parts.

It’s all the slapping :smiley:

Well, not all of the time.

This is the dirtiest topic ever.

I forget the brand name, but a few weeks ago while waiting for the slow pharmacy staff to find my pills, I stumbled across scalp stuff for head shavers - it was available in matte or gloss, to suit your mood that day.

Well, and even there you go from matte to shiny. At least I do. Must be all the polishing.


I should have known better.

On nearly every other part of the body, the skin get flexed, and stretch/fold lines form. On the scalp, it covers a big, immobile skull, so there’s very little motion to form irregularities. So, you get a smooth, shiny skin.

I can see this on my own dome (not shaven, my face just extends farther up than before). The forehead has a lot of use due to forehead muscle contractions over the years, but there is a line of demarcation where (I’ve always assume) the muscles stop and from there up (or back) it’s quite smooth where the little remaining hair doesn’t cover it.

Plus the oozing.

csharpmajor, I’m on the prowl day and night for posts worthy of one of my witticisms…

Were this correct, most everyone would have shiny scalps, regardless of degree of hair loss. But looking at someone with thick hair, it’s obvious that the scalp is not shiny. Instead, I think the shininess comes from the atrophy and miniaturization of the hair follicle, which stretches the scalp tauter and makes it progressively shinier. My guess is that the scalps of people who are naturally bald are **all things being equal ** shinier than those who shave scalps that otherwise would have thick hair.