Why Do We Get Hair On The Armpits?

Armpit hair appears from the start of puberty. At this time the pituitary gland triggers hormones known as an androgen in the ovaries and testicles. Females reach puberty at 10-12 years of age and males at 11-14 years. Apocrine sweat glands are the glands associated with hair follicles of the axillary and pubic regions. The androgens released during puberty cause the apocrine sweat glands to start functioning.

Axillary Hair

Axillary hair is known to go through 4 stages of development. This development is driven by androgen in males and females.

  • Stage 1: No axillary hair
  • Stage 2: Scanty axillary hair
  • Stage 3: Coarse axillary hair
  • Stage 4: Adult axillary hair

Hair in a baby is known as lanugo hair. They soon change to vellus in childhood, which helps the body regulate temperature.

Vellus hair is often referred to as ‘peach fuzz’ or ‘baby hair’, because of its appearance.(1) It is short, thin and lightly colored.

As puberty starts, the hair transforms again and is now termed as terminal hair. This hair is thick, strong, and darker. As the level of androgen increases, hair grows in more areas such as legs, arms, chest, stomach, and feet.

The hair in the armpit, pubis, and face are all of the same types. They start as fine hair and progresses to coarse hair. This hair also shed often. The longest armpit or pubic hair is a maximum of 6 inches in length.

Benefits of Armpit Hair

They might feel inconvenient at times, but body hair benefits us in many ways.

Armpit hair Is Good For Pheromones

Pheromones are the naturally-produced chemicals that contain an odor that plays a role in sexual attraction.

If the armpit hair is not removed the odor gets trapped and gets stronger because of sweating.

A study done on heterosexual couples found that a person’s natural scent gave stress relieving benefits.(2)

It was found that there is something alluring about body musk.

Reduce Friction

Armpit hair reduces skin-to-skin contact while performing certain activities such as running and walking.

Helps Prevent Certain Health Conditions

Along with reducing friction, armpit hair also helps in preventing ingrown hair, armpit pimples, skin tags, razor burn and skin irritation.

Is Shaving Off Armpit Hair Beneficial?

Having hairless smooth underarms is not the only benefit of shaving underarm hair. The other benefits are mentioned below.

You Will Sweat Less

Armpits sweat and can leave sweat stain on the clothes. Shaving the armpits can be a solution to it, as the hair holds onto moisture.

Some people sweat excessively and removing hair can actually be of great relief to them.

Less Body Odor

Armpits are linked with body odor. Hair in the armpits can be removed to reduce the trapped odor.

A study found that men who removed armpit hair had reduced body odor.(3) Another study had a similar result.(4)

Shaving the underarm hair also makes it easier for the soaps and other cleaning products to get into the skin and follicular openings.

There are certain conditions in which there could be reduced or no underarm growth, the conditions include:

To keep or remove the hair on the armpit is a personal choice. Some do it for aesthetic purposes while a few get it done due to the body odor.

Growth of hair in the armpits is a natural process as the body grows. They, if not present at all could be of a medical concern.

Keep it or remove it, it would be of help either ways.