We keep thinking why do we have armpit hair, especially, before a party or an important meeting when we have decided to shave it. Armpit hair is also a very heated public discourse amongst us as beauty itself takes on public opinion and meanings.
This is no funny question. Armpit hair has evolutionary significance in human beings. It is supposed to naturally wick sweat or other moisture away from the skin, aiding ventilation. Armpit hair stops colonization by odor-producing bacteria is thereby transferred away from the skin (see skin flora). The armpit is also called the axilla has hair after humans achieve the second stage of adrenarche (the biological word for child development). These hairs start appearing from age 5-10. Children with lower nutrient diets (based on analysis of macronutrients, vitamins, minerals, and certain whole foods) tend to enter puberty earlier. One of the first signs of puberty is hair developing in the underarms and groin.
The armpit is also an important site that protects important lymph nodes and soft tissue. Armpit hair prevents skin-to-skin contact when running and walking. The apocrine glands are concentrated in hairy spots, like your nether regions and those pits I am constantly shaving. It sheds and therefore the normal longest armpit hair would be less than 6 inches. David Reed Welp of the USA has the longest armpit hair in the world according to Guinness World Records. It is 21.7 cm (8.54 in).
What kind of hair is it?
Armpit hair is due to the secretion of the hormone dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and is also important for feeling normal in the society. It is interesting that armpit hair is same as facial hair, and pubic hair – they are all the same type of hair and are called “terminal hair.” Armpit hair can be thick or thin. Mostly armpit hair is thick. It starts growing as fine hair (vellus hair), and at puberty starts to change and becomes coarse. So, why do we have armpit hair?
During the adrenarche the process when a child attains their puberty the armpit hair (medically known as axillary hair) appears. This happens due the production of the hormone DHEA by the adrenal glands. This hormone also causes body odor and sometimes mild acne.
Three types of hairs are seen in our bodies called cymotrichous: wavy or curly in oval sections, typical of Caucasian races (Europeans); leiotrichous: smooth in round sections, typical of Mongoloid races (Asians) and ulotrichous: woolly and dry in flat sections, typical of black ethnicities (Africans).
Hair is composed of water and the chemical composition of hair is: keratin, lipids, minerals and pigments. The hair structure of adults is divided into three parts: shaft, root and bulb. Hair on our skin is located in the hair follicle, a particular skin structure with a sac-like form, tilted by approximately 75° to the skin’s surface. The apocrine gland is attached to the upper third of the hair follicle. The root of the hair is not visible as it lies inside the skin. At the base of the follicle is a loop facing upward and containing a connective tissue full of blood vessels, lymphatic vessels and nerves, called the papilla. The papilla is responsible for support, nourishment and endocrine control of the cells in the hair matrix. By horizontally dissecting a hair will find that it is divided into three parts: the cuticle, the cortex and the medulla.
Top 10 Reasons Why do we have armpit hair?
1. We don’t want to shave it:
Regular shaving of armpit hair can be worse than you can imagine. Some people luckily don’t even have to shave their armpits, they don’t grow visible hairs in that area. On the other side, medical science has a lot to offer and using razors for shaving armpits is not the only technology we have to use to look acceptable in the society. Having armpit hair shows we are more certain about our beauty.
It is funny how knowledge changes the system. Women till the late 18th century flaunted hair without being too conscious. Today, having armpit hair is a big deal because most women prefer to shave it. According to Islamic tradition, the removal of armpit hair and pubic hair is required of an observant Muslim. In Leviticus, shaving the complete body is mandated in the treatment of leprosy.
Hair flowing depicts freedom and looseness. Forced hair removal may be a castration symbol. In olden times witchcraft could not be done without hairs. Body and facial hair, was a matter of pride and prized in its multitude and length. Maleficent powers of witches and wizards were in their hair. Allegedly, witches were stripped naked and their entire body shaved to discover the so-called witches’ marks when they were being punished.
Loures Leon, Janelle Monae, Priyanka Chopra all flaunt their armpits to show that women don’t need beauty equalizers and standards. Some days are just days when we have hair and that is totally fine. All days are not the best hair days even for the hair on our heads.
If you think why do we have armpit hair, then don’t think about yourself as a model. Just think of yourself as a regular person. However, men don’t give so much importance to their armpit hair as much as women do. On men, hair is also “attractive”. In that sense, having armpit hair, just makes men and women both more desirable.
All sweat don’t stink. “No bacteria buffet, no smell.” The smell from the sweat in our armpits comes from the bacteria. In some people there is a malfunctioning version of something called a transporter protein, which is responsible for secreting the molecules that a certain type of bacteria uses and produces the stinky smell.
Anhidrosis — sometimes called hypohidrosis — can be difficult to diagnose- it is when you don’t sweat all. It is a fatal condition, because not sweating can cause over heating in the body which in turn can cause stroke.
The armpit hair serves primarily as a source of heat insulation and cooling as well as protection from exposure to ultra-violet radiation. The Langerhans (pronounced: LAHNG-ur-hanz) cells help protects the body against infections and the keratin in the skin’s outer layer helps to create a protective barrier from bacteria and external pathogens.
The argument that we shave our armpit hair because it’s hygienic is contorted. Nobody ever shaved the hair on their head for the same reason. Studies have shown shaving and waxing hair leads to skin cancer in people. When we have hair on the armpit it holds the bacteria and otherwise it will stick to our skin causing infections in some people.
Trimming and shaving have two very different references. Some people tend to have a lot of hair and it is problematic for them to put on certain clothes because it is too visible. In that case trimming them is the only thing we can do. According to advertisements, we see that completely hair free is an everyday life. But during the pandemic, the parlours were closed and we could not do waxing, then ask yourself, why do we have armpit hair?
Benefits of Armpit hair?
- It traps pheromones; used to attract sexual partners
- Not shaving is a much less hassle
- It keeps your body warm
- You can get it coloured
- You will be less vulnerable to skin infections
- Reduces chafing and skin tags
Should we shave Armpit hair or not?
Armpits do not have an even skin surface so it is often tricky to use a sharp razor, and more often than not, you will end up with a cut or two. Shaving armpit hair seems to make it grow thicker and coarser every time, because it has been cut near the skin surface. Just after a few days of shaving there is an itchy, prickly feeling on your skin. Shaving also damages you skin . Plus, razor burns may end up with pimples and boils. By not shaving under your arms you’ll eliminate the dermatological problems that can result from doing so, that is the ingrown hairs, razor burns, rashes and irritation. So, why do we have armpit hair?
However, if you are extremely hygiene conscious you may already know that there are no more bacteria on your armpit hair than are already on your skin. But still, if you’re consistent with hygienic practices you are likely to smell the same with or without the fuzz.
Instead of shaving, our advice is that the trimmer is the best option for those who are shaving armpit hair regularly, nearly every day. Shaving only is for personal likes. If you like the feel of smooth, hairless arms, shaving will be beneficial. Armpit hair holds onto moisture and shaving will make the sweat unnoticeable.
Serious facts which indicate the armpit hair?
Social sciences research points to the fact that revulsion with armpit hair may be a Western ideology to go against our primal roots as animals. Scientists have studied that animals send out chemical signals called pheromones to attract mates. We still don’t know whether humans secrete pheromones. But plenty of evidence indicates we are highly sensitive to each other’s biochemicals for sure. So, if pheromones do exist, body hair around the groin and armpits could be a likely place to find them.
If you wonder why do we have armpit hair, here are various facts about armpit hair that will shock you:
Scientists have also found that the pits of people who usually use antiperspirants or deodorants, but have now stopped for a couple of days tend to grow an overabundance of Staphylococcaceae—the bacteria that causes staph infections.
Some research shows that body hair by itself is not a cause of bad body odor. Some people do report smelling better after they have shaved their armpits, body hair, or pubes. They feel that it makes them sweat less and smell better. But everyone is unique.
Have you ever wondered about why your armpit hair is short and hair on your head is long? Scientifically, the cells that make the hairs on your arms are programmed to stop growing every couple of months, so the hair on your arms stays short. The hair follicles on your head, on the other hand, are programmed to let hair grow for years at a time.
Children need to go to pediatricians for hair exams if they have irregular armpit hair. Adrenarche is usually normal in girls who are at least 8 years old, and boys who are at least 9 years old. Even when pubic and underarm hair appears in children younger than this, it is still usually nothing to worry about.
Why do we have armpit hair is a topic of contention, no wonder you ask yourself this at times. Most important thing to remember is that you have armpit hair for a reason and shaving it and not shaving it is completely up to you. You are now answerable for the question about armpit hair benefits and facts about armpit hair. All in all, you like it or not armpit hair is there to stay. Its purpose has still not been deciphered.