Whether or Not We Need to Remove Hair From the Body
There’s a reason why hair grows on our bodies. The hair has its own functions, and in order to learn more about this topic, we’ve prepared this material.
Why we even have hair
Before answering this question, let’s find out what hair is and what it’s needed for.
Mammals have an internal mechanism that allows the brain to regulate the body’s temperature, known as thermoregulation. So when we sweat, our internal organs cool down. But in order for the sweat to do its job and cool us down, the hair can’t be too thick. This is why we have thin hair that does the job perfectly.
Our ancestors were covered with thick hair, but modern humans lost it around 2 to 3.3 million years ago. In the picture, you can see the inner and outer structure of mammals’ epidermis. It consists of dead cells, sweat glands, and nerve endings. The sweat glands produce the fat that keeps the hair healthy, and the erector muscle can make the hair “stand up.” The hair that consists of keratin grows from the follicle that’s attached to every hair on the skin. The hair is a great heat conductor that lets the heat in and out. Hair protects the skin from a lot of bad things.
But through evolution, the hair coat has become thinner and the human body has changed due to the hot climate and an active lifestyle. Some scientists believe that preserving heat has become less important than staying safe from parasites.
Modern humans have about 5 million hair follicles around the entire body. The location and construction of hair may vary depending on age and hormones. We still need hair because it has an important function. Hair on the head regulates brain temperature. By the way, curly hair is incredibly effective at protecting the scalp and brain from overheating and is very good at evaporating sweat. Thicker hair near the genitals and armpits are most likely connected with sexual selection. The odorous chemicals made by apocrine glands are unique in every person and help attract the opposite sex, like feromones in animals.
As for the invisible hair, it also has an important function. This helps the skin restore and serves as storage for stem cells.
The history of body hair removal
If our hair is so necessary, why do we want to get rid of it? We should look for the answer to this question in ancient times. Hair removal has been used to indicate social status and determine the idea of femininity. In the early stages of human history, people removed hair just to keep their bodies clean. But the first copper razors were used in Egypt and India.
During the times of Cleopatra, people used a sugar mix to remove hair. And Roman women used tweezers, among other things.
One of the theories as to why people want to remove hair appeared after Darwin’s The Descent of Man was published in 1871. According to the theory of natural selection, people get rid of all the useless things, and thick hair is just not necessary. Hair removal was encouraged because the fashion industry, magazines, companies making razors, and other things were making money. After wax epilation appeared in one of the salons in the US in 1987, hair on women’s bodies became taboo.
Should we remove body hair?
When it was harder to keep the body clean, shaving was the only way of getting rid of the bad smell and parasites. In the twenty-first century, it’s different, so whether you want to shave hair or not is simply a matter of taste. But you should consider this factor:
- Shaving can cause ingrown hair, skin irritation, infections, and trauma.