Journal Article

Shaving, Coronary Heart Disease, and Stroke

Shah Ebrahim, George Davey Smith, Margaret May and John Yarnell

in American Journal of Epidemiology

Published on behalf of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Volume 157, issue 3, pages 234-238
Published in print February 2003 | ISSN: 0002-9262
Published online February 2003 | e-ISSN: 1476-6256 | DOI:
Shaving, Coronary Heart Disease, and Stroke

Show Summary Details


The relation between frequency of shaving and all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality, coronary heart disease, and stroke events was investigated in a cohort of 2,438 men aged 45–59 years. The one fifth (n = 521, 21.4%) of men who shaved less frequently than daily were shorter, were less likely to be married, had a lower frequency of orgasm, and were more likely to smoke, to have angina, and to work in manual occupations than other men. Over the 20-year follow-up period from 1979–1983 to December 31, 2000, 835 men (34.3%) died. Of those who shaved less frequently than daily, 45.1% died, as compared with 31.3% among those who shaved at least daily. Men who shaved less frequently had fully adjusted hazard ratios (adjusted for testosterone, markers of insulin resistance, social factors, lifestyle, and baseline coronary heart disease) of 1.24 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.03, 1.50) for all-cause mortality, 1.30 (95% CI: 0.99, 1.71) for cardiovascular disease mortality, 1.08 (95% CI: 0.61, 1.92) for lung cancer mortality, 1.16 (95% CI: 0.90, 1.48) for coronary heart disease events, and 1.68 (95% CI: 1.16, 2.44) for stroke events. The association between infrequent shaving and all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality is probably due to confounding by smoking and social factors, but a small hormonal effect may exist. The relation with stroke events remains unexplained by smoking or social factors.

Keywords: cerebrovascular accident; coronary disease; hair; hormones; men; mortality; Abbreviations: CI, confidence interval; HOMA, homeostasis model assessment.

Journal Article.  3669 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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