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Do nails and hair continue to grow after death?


Being an older guy, I think about this stuff a lot more. It seems I heard something about this a long time ago,but I never really paid attention as to if it is true or not.

3423 day(s) ago

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bjones
No. It is not true that hair and nails continue to grow after you die. This is a widely held belief, but it is nothing more than a myth. There is a good reason, though, of how the myth got started. No part of the body continues to grow after death. When you die, thatís it. The body shuts down. What does happen is that the body loses mass after death. This is mostly in the form of water. As water is released from the body, the skin and flesh dry up and tighten. This creates an optical illusion that the hair and nails are growing. In truth, the hair and nails remain the same size while the soft flesh is shrinking. The skin around the nails pulls back, making it look like they have grown. The flesh around the hair follicles tightens and makes the hairs stand on end.

If your body is in the care of a mortician, the mortician will try to stop the dehydration with great amounts of moisturizing cream. Men with large beards receive the most cream because their facial appearance changes the most.

The myth has mostly been spread by word of mouth from person-to-person, but various media and entertainment have also propagated it. A character in the novel, All Quiet on the Western Front, imagines the nails of his dead friend growing in strange spirals. Vincent Priceís character in the 1959 movie, The Tingler, also states that hair and nails continue to grow after death, as a fact.


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