Women's body hair has been a taboo subject for a long time. Yet, most people are unaware that a woman's body contains roughly 5 million hair follicles, with an average of 100,000 on her head. Or that the hair on your body does more than just look good—it helps keep you warm and pick up sensations?
Many cultures have varied perspectives on body hair; some see it as a sign of beauty and fertility. There is much to discover about women's body hair, from the physics of hair growth to the cultural importance of hair removal. Therefore, without further ado, here are 10 facts about women's body hair that you're not likely to know.
10 Facts About Body Hair That You Probably Didn't Know
1. Ingrown Hairs are More Common in Certain Areas of The Body
After trying to groom it, you may have had ingrown hairs along your bikini line. Ingrown hairs occur when hairs grow inward rather than outward because of frequent friction and pressure from clothing. According to dermatologist Dr. Jessica Krant of New York City's Laser & Skin Surgery Center, the hair in this area is more likely to develop in a curly pattern than the hair on the underarms or legs.
2. You Could be Shaving Your Underarms The Wrong Way Around
You should shave your underarm hair in the direction it grows for your protection. This is, for the vast majority of people, upward. However, everyone is entitled to their own opinions and choices. According to Dr. Krant, shaving against the direction of hair growth may result in a smoother surface, but it also increases the risk of ingrown hairs.
3. Small Shaving Cuts Aren't a Big Deal
Although nicks are annoying, they are usually only superficial and simple to repair. Krant says they should be treated like any other cut. Apply some petroleum jelly to the wound and cover it with a bandage if it's deep or sensitive. If bleeding persists after rinsing the area and applying pressure for a few minutes, seek medical attention.
4. Shaving Can Exfoliate Your Skin
Dr. Krant advises skipping the body scrub if you intend to shave your legs. This is because shaving exfoliates the skin by scraping off the outer layers. However, using your razor gently is critical to avoid over-exfoliation, which can cause dryness and irritation. Avoid going overboard with your razor to keep your skin healthy and free of irritation.
5. A Lot of Body Hair Could Indicate a Serious Condition
Don't worry, body hair is completely normal! It serves a purpose by keeping us warm. However, if you notice an excess of hair on your mustache, chin, chest, or stomach, irregular periods and difficulty managing your weight, this could be a sign of polycystic ovarian syndrome, a hormonal condition. It's best to make an appointment with your gynecologist to get checked out and, if necessary, treated.
6. Body Hair is Associated with Intelligence
It may surprise you, but a recent study discovered that having more body hair may indicate intelligence. The study found that many male Mensa members, known for their high IQ scores, had more body hair than the general population. While it is not a conclusive link, it is intriguing to consider the possibility of a link between body hair and intelligence. Who knew that having hairy genes could be a sign of intelligence?
7. There are Two Kinds of Body Hair
There are two kinds of hair on our bodies: vellus and terminal. Terminal hair is longer, coarser, and more pigmented than vellus hair, which is short, thin, and almost invisible. Terminal hair is most common in the pubic area, armpits, and legs, whereas vellus hair covers most of our bodies. Both hair types are important for skin protection and body temperature regulation.
8. Contrary to Popular Belief, Shaving Does Not Cause Hair to Grow Faster, Thicker, or Darker
Have you ever heard the old wives' tale that shaving could alter body hair's thickness or growth rate? Well, it's just a myth. According to Dr. Krant, shaving only cuts thicker, mature hairs in the middle of the hair shaft while allowing the same hair to grow. As a result of the blunt tip from the cut, the hair appears bulkier and darker. Conversely, waxing removes the hair at the root, allowing new, thinner, and softer hair growth. However, over time, this hair will become just as thick and dark as the hair you shave. So, don't believe the myth: shaving will not affect your body hair's growth rate or thickness.
9. Some Women Have Boob Hair
There is no reason for women to be concerned if they develop hair around their breasts. Stretch marks in a spoke-like pattern may appear as breasts develop quickly, but they will fade over time. Furthermore, as puberty progresses, girls may notice a small amount of hair growing around the areola, which is normal. So don't be concerned; your body is doing its natural thing!
10. Body Hair Does Not Require Conditioning
Some companies have launched lotions claiming to treat and nourish body hair as more and more women come out to support their hair. Yet Dr. Krant says there's no need for these items. Naturally, the oils your skin produces are enough to nourish your body hair, so you may skip the conditioning step.
To sum up, the significance and history of women's body hair are intriguing yet often disregarded. So much of this natural feature of our bodies deserve our attention and study, from its significance in evolution to cultural and societal attitudes. The decision to keep or shave off one's body hair is a deeply personal one, and it is vital to keep that in mind as attitudes in our culture continue to shift toward body positivity and inclusivity. A deeper sense of self-love and agency can result from learning about and embracing our natural body hair.