Puberty is a pretty exciting/bizarre time, your boobs might start to get bigger, you may get a fair bit taller, your period could arrive – oh, and we often start growing hair down there. Yup. So before we all freak out, let’s get to know why we all have hair in the first place.
We have body hair for a few reasons, firstly it acts to keep us warm in winter and cool in summer by a process called thermoregulation and second it acts as a protective barrier to keep out any nasties that may make us sick.
Going through puberty you may notice that different kinds of hair starts to grow in different places. Usually curly dark hairs commonly known as ‘pubic hair’ or ‘pubes’ will begin to grow in your pubic area (the area between your belly button and thighs) and you might also start to notice hair growing in your armpits and on your legs and sometimes on your face, arms and even your toes. This hair can at first feel soft and thin and then as we develop it usually becomes a bit darker, coarser, longer and thicker.
In the science world body hair is known as Androgenic hair. It is called this because androgens or male hormones are responsible for triggering pubic hair growth in both girls and guys. During puberty the level of these hormones increase and causes hair to sprout. Boys have a lot more of this hormone and that is why they get hair in all the places we do as well as on their face, chest and eventually their back.
Body hair usually first appears on your legs, followed a few years later in your crotch, and then a few months later in your underarms. Pubic hair can appear both before and after breast development – both times are totally normal. Hair growth usually starts at around the age of 11 or 12, but it can also start as early as 8 years old. This is totally normal.
First things first, removing body hair has no health benefits! Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise! Any kind of hair removal is a totally personal decision. However many girls and women can feel pressured by their friends, partners, boyfriends, families, celebrities and magazines to mess with their hair. Just remember that you are in charge of your body, no one else, so don’t do anything that you don’t feel you are ready for or makes you feel uncomfortable.
Many women do choose to remove some or all of their body hair and that is ok but there are just as many women in the world who choose to keep it and remember that’s ok too.
This clip explains why we have pubes in the first place: