Problems tackled: 40,677

Hairiness

Each person has about 2 million hairs and only about 100,000 of these are on the scalp. We have hairs over our entire body, except the lips, soles of the feet and palms of the hands. In the UK, £25 million is spent every year on hair-removing products

Hairiness in women

  • 25% of normal middle-aged women have unwanted facial hair
  • After the menopause, the face becomes hairier, while the rest of the body’s hair is slowly lost
  • 10% of 65-year-old women have noticeable chin hair

Hairiness in men

  • Research among medical students in the USA found that 45% of male medical students were very hairy, compared with 10% of the general population
  • In Kerala, in southern India, research among medical and engineering students and manual labourers found that the students had more body hair than the labourers; the top six in the class of engineering students were far hairier than the bottom eight
  • A study of 117 male members of the brainy society Mensa (you have to have an IQ of over 140 to join) showed that Mensa members had a tendency to thicker body hair – and the most intelligent had hair on their backs as well as on their chests
     

Written by: Dr Margaret Stearn
Edited by: Dr Margaret Stearn
Last updated: Tuesday, August 2nd 2011

 


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Comments on this article

Posted by Optional on 29/01/2017 at 05:06

hi everyone .. i am so embarrassed about this but i have butt and abdominal hair i literally have to shave every single day but it doesn't do anything obviously it goes away but you can see stubble and a hair line my butt is full of shaving marks and black hairs like it looks like a leg that's been shaved every day for 10 years what do i do ?? for years i have avoided putting on a bathing suit even telling my boyfriend of 5 years help help help !!

Posted by Hairy McClairy on 11/10/2016 at 11:28

I was one of those girls who grew a lot of noticeable hair since elementary school. My earliest tries with wax was literally when I was 8 years old, because apparently my mom thought that I was getting abnormally hairy around the knees. Gradually, my body hair started appearing darker and more prominent on my arms, legs, lower back and armpits --and I went through a heck-ton of bullying and even physical abuse because of it. So I totally get how it feels to get absolutely pressured to feel ashamed or disgusted with yourself, so here are my two cents on what you should know if you do want to remove some body hair: 1) Do NOT shave in an everyday basis. Shaving absolutely sucks. For some people, just using a razor is good enough to completely hide your body hair for a good day or two--but if you're like me, your hair will look like it would come back stronger and thicker over time (and the daily stubble rash will make you HATE. IT. And you will get said stubble no matter how many expensive razors you buy or how many types of cream you use). You will also get the 'five o' clock shadow' on your legs, and it might get to the point when you'd be forced to shave every day, and your legs, arms or armpits will wind up looking like your dad's face by the end of the day. If your deadbeat boyfriend/girlfriend (or douchebag schoolmates) order you to shave twice a day in order to gain their acceptance, don't do it. It's a waste of time and nothing hurts/itches more than dragging a razor blade over stubble rash. 2) Hair-removal wax (with Argan Oil) is a god-send. I definitely recommend using the type for facial hair--because somehow the chemicals are much more gentler for sensitive skin (but still pack a punch for thick hair). It takes a while, but over time it does make your body hair turn softer and fluffier and therefore it takes longer to grow back. I use the stuff for my armpit hair and after 6 weeks, it took 4 days for my armpit hair to gradually grow back (and it came out as soft as kitten-fur). You can definitely use that on your arms, face or chest because it's that gentle. 3) You MAY have to spend a lot of money and time on wax. Unless you live in the middle east (where the waxing industry has plenty of high-quality of stuff which caters to all skin types and hair types), you will struggle with a lot of wax types which may be too hard or too weak on your skin (or both--I once had a wax session which left open holes in every one of my pores, but it wouldn't even take out my leg hair). Personally, I absolutely advise against buying wax strips or 'for home' equipment from your local pharmacy. Why? Because almost all of them are weak-a** sh*t. They will leave a huge mess at home, and if you're like me--they're very likely to be as effective as a rusty razor. Go to a beauty salon, and ask for a consultancy regarding your body hair and skin type. They might even do a 'test' with a section of your skin just to make sure that their waxes aren't too weak or strong for you. It's less mess, and at least you could find out who and what may actually help you in a long-run. Don't ever buy wax strips 'for men', they're even weaker than 'womens' wax' despite that they're supposed to be designed for hair types with deeper roots than with women's bodies. Lycon wax is fantastic for sensitive skin, but it's only effective for people with extremely weak hair--like, the type of people that would make perfect actors for a waxing commercial (because they already look hairless). I DO recommend using wax with tea tree oil extract--they're strong enough to yank out thick body hair (without snapping the ends), and they're gentle enough for sensitive skin. 4) All in all, it's a process that takes SO much time, effort and money. It also hurts, and sometimes it's physically and mentally exhausting to constantly try to get rid of body hair only to wind up getting bad results every time. Plus, sometimes you wind up stuck in a small town with nothing but a beauty salon that only gives terrible wax services within ten miles, and sometimes you're a poor senior school student with no money or allowance to help you gain 'acceptance' from your local peers. I look back, and I realize that during my teen years that I have wasted SO much money, time and even actually hurt myself with trying to find 'the right product' to help remove my body hair. So when you're stuck in a rut--it's much better to wait and save up for a bonafide good treatment than to purchase a cheap wax set (or one of the million different 'state of the art' razor blades by the likes of Venus) to help with your problem. Yes, that will mean spending a lot of time with hair all over you--but having healthy skin and body hair is much better than dealing with bleeding open pores, rashes, stubble, cuts, AND scraggly hair is worse. The former is much more attractive than the latter. You will also encounter a lot of people who will act that the whole process is a cakewalk and will blame YOU for failing to look hairless at all times--even though they very likely had never tried getting rid of thick body hair or were just lucky to not have to. THEY are not the ones who will be spending loads of money, time and literally dealing with bleeding and rashes--yet they act like you're supposed to (and I've met guys and girls who then complain that they had to SEE their BF/GFs shave. Even though they were the ones that pressured and insulted their BF/GF into doing it in the first place. Luckily I never dated those types--but seriously, if someone couldn't handle your natural self? They're not someone who truly cares about you (and guys? I know a lot of ladies who trash their BF's self-esteem and try to push them into shaving--and if your GF does this, find another girlfriend. Seriously, us girls get told that this is abusive behavior if a guy does it--and it's still abusive behavior if a girl forces a boyfriend to change himself just for aesthetic purposes.) Digression aside, these people are definitely not worth it. If they couldn't even consider what's it like in your shoes, then definitely go find new people.

Posted by Optional on 13/10/2015 at 10:10

Hair all over my belly and chest.so embarrassing.any solution.?

Posted by Rose on 07/03/2013 at 04:29, Ghana

H'v been challenged with unwanted hairs on my upper lips. After years of shaving it keeps on coming but i don't know what to do,i'm really humiliated as an 18yrs girl .pls help me .i need a cream for it

Posted by Optional on 25/02/2013 at 09:52, United Kingdom

I've got hair my face lip and shin

Posted by Optional on 30/08/2012 at 10:06, United Kingdom

I am 66year old hand have unwanted hair on my upper lip and on my chin what can I take to get rid of it for good

Posted by Optional on 05/08/2012 at 06:10, India

i have hair growth on my nose ,ears,cheecks and forehead i want a permenent solution to remove it

Posted by Optional on 29/02/2012 at 06:41, United Kingdom

hi i am 15 years old and i have a lot of hair all over the only thing i am really emmbarest about is bottom hair and back hair

Posted by Optional on 17/02/2012 at 12:23, United Kingdom

My daugther has suffered terribly from facial and body hair. All her fine body hair is dark, and it was ruining her life. I bought a home laser machine a couple of years ago but it wasn't effective. Last year I bought an IPL machine which seems to be much more effective. It cost £350 but it's cheaper than the sessions you'd have to take at a salon. I think it was a Philips Lumea System SC2001. I hope you find something that works for you, because can really ruin your life, especially now that women are supposed to look like Barbie dolls with no body hair at all.

Posted by david on 15/12/2011 at 12:08, United Kingdom

am 17years old lad my chest is all hairy it is embarressing at what age does chest hair stop growing

Posted by Dee Menace on 09/11/2011 at 12:15, Canada

I have PCOS but the doc put me on meds for 1 yr and the facial hair doesnt seem as noticeable ask your doc about metformin. changed my diet, i still however only get my period like once every 6 months... im worried i wont be able to have children so i keep telling people i dont want them... any ideas about the babies? i love kids

Posted by Optional on 26/10/2011 at 11:06, United Kingdom

reading these comments i feel alot better about myself, i thought i was the only one but im not! i have hairs on my stomach and im embarressed to go swimming or even get changed for PE! Ive been nagging my mum for electrolisys for ages but she just doesnt have the money and i dont want to shave because it will just make them thicker! ill just have to wait a while until she gets the money:/

Posted by steven on 20/10/2011 at 12:01, United Kingdom

am 16 and i have hairs on my chest it is embarrassing how do i shave it off

Posted by Michael on 05/09/2011 at 01:57, Australia

So what this article is saying, is that i have a greater and denser amount of body hair purely because i have a higher intelligence and/or stress levels?

Posted by anuradha on 08/04/2011 at 04:02, India

i grow a lot of under arm hair. i personally do not like using hair remover or waxing. i use razor. but they grow again in 2-3 days. tell me how can i keep my pits odourless with those little bit of hair(3-4 days old).

Posted by Optional on 05/03/2011 at 12:00, United Kingdom

Hi all, so many familiar stories here. I have PCOS and the consequent unwanted hair on backs of thighs, groin, stomach, breasts, upper chest, neck and face. Did all the bleaching, shaving, waxing, plucking. My mum paid for electrolysis (she has the problem to a lesser extent) for both of us when I was a teenager for upper lip. This was the only bad area at that time, and despite it being very painful, that was a permanent solution. A combination of ageing and weight gain (possibly the PCOS again, but mostly desk job) saw the problem get massively worse and it was affecting my life significantly- no swimming, no throwing head back when laughing, scarring from in-growing hairs on my chin..... So I decided to try laser hair removal. My god it hurts but it absolutely works. You smell like a pork scratching afterwards too! But hey- we're used to a lack of glamour huh? The first time is the worst because there is most hair then. Do it on a Friday so you don't have to go to work for a couple of days (I looked like Desperate Dan the next day!!) I went to a sk:n clinic. It was expensive but they do a payment plan, and I've since realised that you can convert tesco vouchers into 4x face value sk:n vouchers.

Posted by Dana on 31/12/2010 at 12:23, Chile

To Optional on 01/12/2010 I have a hair problem just as you, I'm also an EDS patient with very delicate skin, so I can't wax and I can't shave as often as I would like to. I was teased at age 10 because not even my male classmates had started growing hair while I was already as hairy as boys 5 years older. In my case it was a mix of PCOS and genetics. Contraceptive pills have done half the trick, as for the other part... I've learned to just go with it, I shave when I have some special event, or hangin' out with my boyfriend and when the hairs start growing back I just wait and expose my legs, arms and armpits less. About the hair on other parts, I bleach it. It can be felt, but if you can't see it it's a lot better! My BF is even kinda fond of the hairiness of me hahaha And if you learn to feel comfortable about it, so will others (that you care about) around you too. Don't let it take such a huge toll on your life. (BTW, most people down here are quite hairless, so I reaaaally know what you're going through). I even bought a bikini this year! ;) Best of luck! Dana

Posted by Optional on 01/12/2010 at 03:56, United Kingdom

I realised I was very hairy from a young age but hadn't realiosed the implications until I was about 17yrs old and my body really started maturing. Close friends and boyfriends would comment on it and this made me realise just how abnormal I was. It was only then I realised I had hair EVERYWHERE- back, torso, bum, breasts and face. My hair is veery dark and thick and when I shave in the mornings, by evenings i can feel the regrowth already starting. I also had periods only four times a year which made me have tests carried out and then discovered I had PCOS. 20% of women in this country suffer from this condition but I'ld never known anyone who was affected quite as badly as i am. It's turned me into a very socially awkward person, and I feel as though I am not a woman. I get ridiculed and even thoiugh i'vw waxed, shaved, used depilatory creams it always grows back within 1-4 days and then I have to wait at least 3weeks to properly remove it again so i'm never really smooth. It has affected my relationships and confidence, and I dread going out anywhere. I'm considering electrolysis but it is so expensive and I've been told by consultants and doctors this may not be effective. I feel better after having read some comments, but most persons here seem to have some solution whilst I'm not at all happy with my tried methods...even when i wax you can see the hair follicles because my hair is that thick and very dark.Any suggestions???....they would be very welcome. thank you to all those who posted comments- your honesty and advice is very uplifting

Posted by Aishy x on 28/09/2010 at 07:45

i wax, its the best way cos 1ce u do it it takes a while to grow back and when it does it grows thinner so i recommend that to everyone even on facial hair. And if u find it hard and painful just think that ur not goin 2 die so no harm done and plus it'll be a relief for u! AND RESEARCH SHOWS THAT IF YOU START WAXING FROM A YOUNG AGE AND CONTINUE IT YOUR HAIR WILL EVENTUALLY JUST FALL OUT!!!!!! SO I REALY RECCOMEND IT TO EVERYONE. and don't be embarassed by it because everyone has hair on their bodies it's just how you act towards it, i just think of it as part of life. SO DONT WORRY!BECAUSE EVEERYONE HAS HAIR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! xxxxxxxxxxx

Posted by Optional on 11/08/2010 at 08:30

I am hairy, everywhere.I have dark hair,and have to shave my entire body daily, including my toes (and bleach facial hair every other day). My back is even hairy, and I`m to embarassed to go get it waxed. This is abnormal and ugly.

Posted by Anastasia Martha Kovalchuk on 07/08/2010 at 10:18

When I was about 5 I grew hair all over my chest and pubic area. It was so dark I wouldnt see my skin at times. I felt bad when I would go swimming or undress for P.E.! My parents would tell me every night that everyone has their own problems, but I just never thought anyone had it as bad as me. Now, I am 13 and ALIVE. I shave every morning and night or I wax (as me docter told me to) and I am all set to go. Now, I can freely tan in a bikini without being ashamed. THANK YOU FOR RASORS, SHAVING CREAM, COUNSELORS, AND DOCTERS. I dont want anyone to be ashamed of their inner seft. Just let it shine and dont let it take over your life. You cant help your natural over active hair growing. :)

Posted by To the comment posted on 25/06/2010 on 09/07/2010 at 12:37

I am a 24 year old woman who has suffered with hair on my upper lip, nipples, chest and abs! I have had my hormones tested and they all come back fine. If you haven't done this yet, arrange to be tested. I would recommend IPL. It has reduced the hair on my abs slightly after about 6 sessions. My nipple hair seemed to reduce and then sprouted back so I'm not too sure what to do with this as I have had 10 IPL sessions on this area. My IPL therapist is very honest and did tell me from the start that in some cases it does not work. If you are in the North London area I would suggest the North London Epilation Clinic in Aldermans Hill near Enfield. I use Ranjit. It makes me very depressed sometimes but you have to face the problem. Avoid bleach & hair removal creams as these make the skin sore. Get waxed, do some research and most importantly if you can't afford IPL (my abs are £100 a pop) go to your Doctor and get checked out!!!! Just do it, it can't make you feel any worse then you do with the hair! Tackle the problem head on and just a word of warning IPL can give you permanent hair reduction if successful not permanent hair removal. You need at least 10 sessions too.

Posted by Optional on 25/06/2010 at 07:53

There's nothing anyone can say to make me feel better. I have hair all over my body. I'm a seventeen year old girl. I don't want to deal with this. I have hair on my face. I try to get rid of it but no matter what, it doesn't work. I hate this. I look worse than a boy. Even boys don't have this much hair on their body. I always wear clothes so I can cover up all my body. I don't go swimming. I can't do anything. I can't have fun. I hate my life.

Posted by Optional on 15/06/2010 at 11:55

I have very thick dark pubic hair that grows rapidly and onto the inside of the upper thigh. When I shave the area it is ok for around 1-2 days and then when it grows back it is itchy, painful and and usually ends up reddening the area and causing ingrown hairs which are very sore. Please help.

Posted by Optional on 30/05/2010 at 02:05

i have hair on my penis and its really emabarrassing

Posted by Optional on 21/05/2010 at 08:14

I've been shaving since I was 40

Posted by Optional on 19/05/2010 at 03:20

Hey there! I have heaps of hair all over my body, I usually just cover it up. Its a problem but I guess I began to realise that everyone is hairy and that it isnt so bad.

Posted by Optional on 19/04/2010 at 02:42

I have so much hair. I had armpit hair by age 6

Posted by Optional on 12/04/2010 at 02:46

my face is soo hairy..wat shall i do to lessen my hairy face?

Posted by Optional on 12/03/2010 at 07:01

i have hair on one cheek of my bottom what is the cause

Posted by Optional on 27/02/2010 at 09:22

I am 21 and I have hair all over my body as well, I mean all over (back,neck,stomach,butt...). when I was a teenager I would shave one day and the next day I could feel the hair growing again. Because I am very light skin and have very dark hair, even when I shaved the dark hairs can still be seen! To resolve this problem, I became addicted to tanning in the summer so I can get some color and hid the body hair. It helped but once summer was over, shaving didn't help at all. I began Laser treatment about two years ago. I started with my sideburns and now almost three years I am about 70% satisfied. For people that are looking to get LASER Hair Removal: it is not a permanent resolution. People seem to think that the Laser will get rid of the hair forever and it doesn't . At least not for me. Though it has done an amazing job at reducing the hair growth and appearance. I upgraded to full body last year and I am very happy. I also saw an Endocrinologist for this issue. He did some blood work and found that I had high level of male hormones. He prescribed Sprinolactone which has helped a lot. This issue has not gotten in the way of any relationship. I have been with my boyfriend for 4 years now and he is not bothered by it because I have taken care of myself. I haven't deprived myself of socializing and I think every women with excessive body hair should do something about it if it is bothering her.

Posted by Optional on 19/02/2010 at 11:00

im 16 years old, and over how many years i dont know im experiencing this problem. i dont have too much showing hair on my face.... but my body.. urghh just disgusting. i cant remember since when i had this hair problem.. but its really annoying. i shave my arms- which i think is normal.. but i also recently started shaving my stomach and back! it just started by just trying it out.. and then i completly lost control now.. and if i dont i feel.. just dirty.! the other they i was out with my friends, and they had decided to try on some prom dresses... but i just felt so stressed out of the fact that i didnt wnat them to see the nastiness on my body.. i tried it on top of my jumper... i really feel really sick about this.. and idk what i should be doing.. planning to get it off by laser.. but im too yound..and its gonna cost tooo much.. =( heellp

Posted by Optional on 19/02/2010 at 06:50

wow this is very useful stuff, thanks. i feel much better about myself now :)

Posted by Optional on 19/02/2010 at 06:13

I have hair that grows around my nipples. I find this very embarrassing. I had the hysterectomy many years ago is that the reason I have this problem.

Posted by Anonymous on 10/02/2010 at 12:25

Hey I've just been reading through youe post and I have exactly the same problem with being hairy! I used to bleach my facial hair, however I found this made the matter worse so I then resorted to waxing which has improved my problem dramatically. I do wax regularly and thread facial hair as you do, but I have now looked into IPL which is a treatment for unwanted hair growth. As I am quite fair, I opted to have this treatment done instead of laser as I wanted minimal scarring on my face. A friend conversely did opt for the laser treatment. It just depends upon where you go for the treatment and the advice you are given in relation to your skin specifically. Just a word of advice....DON'T let this problem get you down...accept you are beautiful...because that was the breakthrough that helped me combat this issue! I hope this helps!

Posted by Anonymous on 15/03/2009 at 07:56

I have black, coarse hair all over my body. I wax hands and legs, and thread forehead, eyebrows and upperlip. Occasionally,bleach my face because there are hair near side-burns, also some on nose. Looks very embarrassing. Most embarrassing is hair on stomach, chest and back. It is not always possible to wax it, then you need to let it grow back. There's this fine, black hair on stomach and back which is very much visible. I cannot go for swimming impromptu or wear a sari. I really hate it, and it does occupy my mind, 95% of the time. My periods are normal, get it every 28th day.

Posted by jo on 08/02/2009 at 06:24

Since approx last July, i have had a line of new hair which has grown along the line of my parting, it has taken ages to grow to a length where i can flatten it down and the colour and texture are completely different from my own hair. I had just started to come to terms with it and was putting it down to the stress of two very sudden deaths in the family in March. However in the last few weeks i have noticed more growth, and also a patch of alapecia (which is what the doctor thinks it its) Does anyone have any idea about this condition and if there is anything i can do to rectify it.

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