What possessed Mother Nature to furnish us with body hair? What's it for? Why saddle us with hairy arm pits, furry toes, pelts on our legs and stubble on our middle-aged chins? No matter how much women grumble, there's a reason for that exuberant growth. Blame evolution! So here's why you can't retire your razor just yet:
Mother Nature didn't invent them so mascara manufacturers can tempt you with different shades. Just like eyebrows, eyelashes serve the purpose of protecting eyes from dust, moisture, annoying insects and anything else that might drift into eyes and may harm you. As chemotherapy patients all over the world can testify: life without eyelashes means considerable more eye irritation from sweat, dust, rain etc. Evolution also gave us eyelashes to alert us to danger. When an object comes too close to our eyes and into contact with our eyelashes, we instinctively shut our eyelids to protect our eyes - try putting contact lenses in for the first time and you'll know that's true!
Eyebrows are, together with the eyes themselves, the most noticeable feature in human faces. Eyebrows serve two main purposes: communication and protection. They prevent water, sweat, dust and other irritants from harming our eyes. They also allow us to raise a quizzical eyebrow and demonstrate what we think without the need for verbal communication.
3. Hairy Armpits
It is still unclear to scientists why we have underarm hair. Some argue that hair under our arms helps with ventilation and sweat distribution, a sort of natural air conditioning system, if you like. Hair may also help to remove odor-producing bacteria from entering the skin, as they hang out in the hair instead. Since the invention of deodorant, underarm hair doesn't seem to play a great role in our lives anymore, so it's personal choice, if we keep it or shave it off.
4. Hair on Our Arms
Hair on our arms and legs was meant to keep us warm before we invented clothing. Lose your arm hair during medical treatment or after shaving it off and you'll certainly notice the difference!
5. Hairy Legs
Why is it there? Firstly, it's there to keep us warm. Think back to when humans lived in dank caves and you'll understand why being covered in a thick layer of hair was a good thing. Secondly, hair can protect us from scratches, which could get infected. Relatively minor wounds could lead to death, when you are a creature living in trees. Having your limbs protected from getting scratched by twigs and thorns is pretty cool. Hairy legs may not seem practical or desirable today, but when humans were ape-like, it was all the rage.
6. Hair in Private Places
Scientists are still debating the issue of pubic hair, considering protection of our delicate sexual organs as one theory. Pubic hair is also a natural means to prevent skin irritation from chaffing. Remember, we used to climb trees a lot! However, one of the more commonly applied theories is that humans have pubic hair to attract the opposite sex. Well, it does start to grow when we reach sexual maturity. The apocrine glands lurk somewhere around our pubic area, secreting a sweat and oil compound from our skin that is brimming with pheromones, chemicals designed to turn the heads of potential passing mates. Each person has their own unique smell, which springs from the uniquely assigned pheromones or MCH (Major Histocompatability Complex) that each person possesses. Our pubic hair acts as a sort of washing-line for these pheromones, where they hang out with the sole purpose of attracting a mate for us. Thanks very much, you pesky pubes!
7. Upper Lip Hair
Many women are embarrassed by upper lip hair because facial hair is considered to be solely a masculine trait. But if you have it, you are no less of a woman (although you might worry a little if you have nasal and ear hair too ^_^). All women have “vellus hair” – it is down to genetics how dark and pronounced yours is.
8. Anywhere else It Chooses to Grow
Hair on the toes? A mole that sprouts hair? The odd chin hair. The inexplicably long & unwanted singular hair that suddenly appears? A hairy nipple? We can all be prone to the vagaries of body hair. These random somatic mutations are common and nothing to worry about unless they increase in number or sprout more profusely in one area. It means your body is telling you something and you need to let a doctor decipher its message.
So let’s talk hair. Do you shave it all off or just your legs and armpits? Do you bleach or wax? Have you had laser hair removal? What’s the oddest place you have hair? So many questions but please share!