Why do we grow hair in the armpits?

At puberty, hormonal changes bring about the growth of hair in the armpits and in other parts of the body. For what reason does it grow? What is your function? In this space we tell you more about its characteristics.

And it is that, as we approach adulthood, we notice that those little hairs – which were almost imperceptible to our eyes – begin to change. The reason is that they become terminal hair and intervene in some functions. Let's see what this is about.

Terminal hair characteristics

The human being has three types of hair on the body, and these are undergoing changes during the different stages of their development; each has its own characteristics.

The lanugo, which spreads throughout the body, has been present since the last trimester of pregnancy and disappears in the first months of the infant. Androgenic (non-terminal) hair, less fine than lanugo, still colorless and superficial. And the hair or terminal hair, which replaces the prepubertal with the following characteristics:

  • It has a lot of pigment and marrow.
  • It is thick and visible.
  • It is found mainly in the armpits, the pubis, the eyebrows and the eyelashes. Those that grow on the scalp (hair) are also part of terminal hair.
  • It is distinguished from non-terminal hair because it is longer, except for the one that comes out on the scalp, the axillary hair exceeds 2 cm and does not usually exceed 3-5 cm.

Terminal hair that grows in the armpits, like pubic hair, is called in specialized settings "ambosexual hair." It means that it grows in both sexes; further, its density will depend on the amount of androgens in the person. What is its specific role?

Both the density and other characteristics of body hair are attributed to the activity of androgens in the body.

Why is hair growing in the armpits?

The hair in the armpits comes out due to the action of androgens in the human body. These are a group of hormones, among which testosterone stands out. Regarding this, it is believed that it is an exclusive hormone of the male gender; however, this is not the case. It also occurs in the female reproductive system, although to a lesser degree.

In both cases, these hormonal changes are responsible for the growth of terminal hair during adolescence. The pubic appears first and, approximately two years later, the armpit hair appears. The time of appearance is variable according to the development of each person.

Benefits of underarm hair

One of the main functions of underarm hair is to maintain an optimal temperature in the body. The hair is capable of acting as protection against cold air or excessive heat that comes into contact with that sensitive region.

It also serves to retain or slow down sweat when it is produced in large quantities. In this way, it prevents the liquid from dripping, as is often the case on the back.

It should be remembered that hair alone is not responsible for the bad smell that can occur in the area. It is attributed, yes, to inadequate hygiene that allows bacteria to accumulate in the armpits.

See also: 5 natural solutions to eliminate armpit odor

1. Reduce friction

Armpit hair prevents skin-to-skin contact, therefore reducing irritation that friction can cause, for example, when we exercise. Not plucking this hair considerably reduces the possibility of ingrown hairs, which can cause painful discomfort and infections.

2. Pheromones

In the armpits there is an odor that is characteristic of each person and the presence of hair helps to trap it. Those smells are known as pheromones. In particular, they are chemicals produced by the body naturally, which are released to act as signals, especially in the opposite sex.

The word pheromone is a neologism that comes from the Greek, and means to carry or transport something that causes a reaction or excitement. The definition became popular in the mid-20th century, and since then fragrances began to be manufactured seeking to reproduce the essence of these scents.

Hence the ancient belief that he associated the intensity of the armpit odor with an exaltation of masculine virtues. Which, as in scientific studies on animals, served to increase attractiveness and find a mate.

3. Prevents other discomforts or diseases

Wearing underarm hair naturally, without shaving or plucking, reduces the appearance of rashes. Similarly, it prevents abscesses that are formed by the obstruction of a clogged pore when exposed to chemicals or dirt. Given this reality, some doctors suggest that it is preferable to cut the hair with scissors if we want the area as clear as possible.

Maintaining the hair in the armpits helps to avoid irritation in the area. Its elimination is a personal decision, associated with aesthetics.

Keep reading: Cystic hairs: causes and care

Waxing underarm hair is a personal decision

While it is true that at this time the tendency to wear shaved skin prevails, it is good to know the benefits of growing underarm hair. The criteria to eliminate them do not respond to a medical guideline but rather to an aesthetic one. They are embedded in a cultural pattern typical of this century.

Wearing hairless skin and undergoing treatments to keep the skin free of underarm hair is a personal decision. It will depend on the tastes and customs of each one. In any case, in both cases it is not a problem if good hygiene habits are maintained.