What is body hair?

Puberty is a pretty exciting and 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.

Why do we have body hair?

Humans have body hair for a few reasons. Firstly, it keeps us warm in winter and cool in summer by a process called thermoregulation, and secondly, it acts as a protective barrier to keep out any nasties that may make us sick.

What kind of body hair will I grow?

Going through puberty, you may notice that different kinds of hair start 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, legs, and possibly, your face, arms or even your toes. This is all completely normal. 

This new hair can at first feel soft and thin. As we develop it usually becomes a bit darker, coarser, longer and thicker.

Body hair is known as androgenic hair, as androgen hormones are responsible for triggering pubic hair growth in both girls and guys. During puberty, the level of these hormones increase and cause hair to sprout. People with male anatomies have a lot more of this hormone, which is why they can grow more hair on their bodies, as well as on their face, chest and back.

When will body hair start to grow?

For people with female anatomy, hair growth usually starts at around the age of 11 or 12, but it can also start as early as 8 years old. Body hair will usually first appear on the legs, followed a few years later in the crotch area, and then, a few months later in the underarms. Pubic hair can appear both before and after breast development. This is totally normal.

Should I shave my body hair?

First things first: removing body hair has no health benefits, so don’t let anyone convince you otherwise! 

Any kind of hair removal is a totally personal decision. However, it’s common for people to feel pressured by their friends, partners, families, celebrities and magazines to remove parts of their body hair. 

Everyone has different perspectives on body hair, and that’s totally normal! Check out this video to see how different women feel about body hair:

There’s a particularly strong societal pressure for women to have hairless armpits, legs, and even vaginas, which can be a super painful, expensive, and time consuming process. But for some people, removing body hair allows them to feel more confident and comfortable with their appearance. 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 people do choose to remove some or all of their body hair, and that’s ok. There are also just as many people in the world who choose to keep it, and that’s ok too.

If you do choose to remove some of your hair, it’s a good idea to research the many different hair removal techniques such as shaving, waxing, plucking and hair removal cream to find which one will work best for you. There are pros and cons to all of these methods, which you can read up on here!

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