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All About Excess Hair

Humans are quite distinct among land-dwelling mammals for their lack of thick body hair or fur and most of us like to keep that distinction! Somehow we equate lack of excess body hair with civilisation for men (distinguishing ourselves from the animal population) and with femininity for women (distinguishing ourselves from the hairier males of the species).

But really how much hair is an excessive amount?

It's really a matter of taste and convention about how much body and facial hair we find attractive with different views applying to body hair on men and women.

While in most cultures today it's seen as manly to have a hairy chest and legs for example, it can be frowned on for some male modelling and photographic work. And while most females would prefer to lose any sign of facial hair not all men find it unattatractive.

From childhood women are bombarded with images of beautiful role-models on TV and in magazines who invariable have smooth fuzz-free skin. With the first signs of hair appearing on legs and underarms many start to look for solutions to remove it. It's almost a rite of passage as a teenage girl to start shaving your legs and to sport a beautiful pair of smooth hair free legs to the world. That is most girls' introduction to the world of unwanted hair and hair removal. It generally doesn't take long for the novelty to wear off.

Types of body hair

In reality hair grows over almost all parts of the bodies of both males and females - it's just that all body and facial hair is not created equal.

We all have short fine "peach fuzz" hair over most of our body and face (the main exceptions being the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet). This is called "vellus hair". When hair is removed this type of hair is not targeted as, without it, skin tends to take on an unnatural shiny appearance.

The other type of hair is called "terminal hair". This is more noticeable as it is usually coarser, darker and longer than the vellus hair. When we talk about removing hair, it is this hair that we generally want rid of.

All children have vellus hair on their faces and bodies with terminal hair making it's appearance in puberty in both boys and girls.

Hair Growth in Puberty - excess hair

This is the typical pattern of hair growth at puberty for males and females with the darker patches being the heaviest hair growth. For some the hair can grow more thickly than others and in parts of the body which are not the most typical areas for males or females and this can be upsetting. But no matter where excess hair grows or how thickly it can be dealt with one the available methods of removing hair.

See additional articles about Excess Hair

  • Causes of Excess Hair
    What causes excess hair to grow on our bodies (or at least an amount we deem to be excessive)?

  • Hair Growth Cycles
    Hair growth demystified. Hair grows in cycles and for certain excess hair removal methods it's important to catch each hair at the right growth phase to deal with it effectively.

  • Reasons for Excess Hair Removal
    The main reasons for hair removal are to fit into the social and cultural idea of what is attractive. The view of what is considered excess hair changes with time and in different cultures.

  • Excess Hair and PCOS
    Discover why excessive hair growth may be due to an underlying medical condition PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome)