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Why do males with baldness have shiny skin on their head, whereas we don't experience such "shiny skin" in other parts of body without hair.

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    $\begingroup$ There are products to put on your head to make it more shiny. $\endgroup$
    – skymningen
    Jul 6, 2016 at 11:10
  • $\begingroup$ I always thought that bald people put some clear polish on there heads $\endgroup$
    – James
    Sep 23, 2019 at 0:03

3 Answers 3

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Think of what happens when you don't wash your hair for days. It gets oily and greasy. This oil-like substance on your hair is called sebum and mainly works as a lubricant . The Sebaceous glands responsible for excreting sebum don't stop working when the hair follicles attached to them do. The result is a "shiny" head.

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    $\begingroup$ Actually people "shine" there heads on purpose. There are products sold for this. $\endgroup$
    – AMR
    Jul 7, 2016 at 0:16
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    $\begingroup$ Some do. Their bodies either doesn't produce enough sebum or they want a more "shiny" look. A slight shiness is natural in any bald head though. $\endgroup$ Jul 7, 2016 at 6:57
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    $\begingroup$ Do bald people not wash their heads frequently? And why is my chin not shiny if I shave regularly? $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Aug 24, 2017 at 18:22
  • $\begingroup$ @jamesqf Well you have made an excellent point and it has really made me reopen this question. This sebum theory is good but incompletely explains the question. $\endgroup$ Oct 18, 2017 at 14:06
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    $\begingroup$ Washing your head every single day dries it out, hence triggering the excessive production of sebum instead of hindering it. $\endgroup$ May 14, 2018 at 4:36
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It’s due to fibrosis. Men with androgenic allopecia suffer from chronic inflammation of the scalp. Male pattern baldness is a poorly understood disease, but what most people don’t know is that it’s an auto immune skin condition. The hormone DHT appears to trigger a cascade of events leading to inflammation and fibrosis This results in a build up of scar tissue, I.e. fibrosis that gives a swollen and shiny look to the scalp. Scalp fibrosis results in reduced blood flow and hair follicles shrinkage and eventual death. https://perfecthairhealth.com/the-ultimate-hair-loss-flowchart-why-we-lose-our-hair/ You may not realize it, but claims that bald men’s heads are shiny due to sweat and grease is quite insulting to people suffering from an embarassing and irritating auto immune disease. It’s just an uneducated guess in the truest sense. An attempt to explain something without having done any research into the subject. Armpits are usually sweaty and produce oils but are never shiny.

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    $\begingroup$ Interesting answer. Can you please add some references to it? $\endgroup$
    – Chris
    Sep 10, 2018 at 7:01
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    $\begingroup$ Welcome. Please refrain from shooting at other answers and focus on writing a good answer by providing sources to your claims. I've toned down your answer a bit. $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    Sep 10, 2018 at 9:13
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Skin produces a material called Sebum which is naturally shiny, on skin with hair much of this is absorbed by the hair. In addition the skin over the top of the head is very smooth and fairly taunt because the skin does not undergo much flexion. Smooth surfaces are shiny, skin on a bald head is often smooth and taught (which makes it smoother) which makes reflectivity more even which makes it shinier (glossier) . Smooth taught skin and sebum oils and waxes contribute to being shiny, so even if say your face is not normally shiny the above combination makes the skin on the head shiny. Drying of the skin can also contribute.

Note how people in with uncommonly smooth and hairless skin any large smooth taunt patch (like the thigh or cheek) will also often be shiny (glossy) unless they use makeup.

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