Crikey, you’re covered in the stuff! What’s that? Hair! It grows in all the right places – and sometimes springs up where you’d prefer it didn’t. It’s your best friend and your worst enemy. You’d be surprised what you don’t know about the follicles that flourish in your private areas.
Read on for some fascinating facts to impress your mates.
Your hairs have muscles.
Yep, you read that right. Believe it or not, the cells that your hairs are built from can also make each hair stand to attention. Your biceps are wimps in comparison to the workout going on inside your follicles.
Hairiness is linked to intelligence!
A 1996 study found members of the high IQ society, Mensa, to be hairier than the general population. We’re not totally convinced, but let’s go with it… Since we know that frequent shaving tends to make hair grow back faster, it’s definitely worth a shot if there’s a chance being hairier could make us smarter!
Your eyebrows are crawling with critters!
Demodex mites are a microscopic species of aracid that make their home in the eyebrows of 50% of humans. They’re harmless as a rule, but in rare cases these eyebrow mites can cause inflammation and itchiness.
We have three types of hair – well, strictly speaking, two…
The long hairs that sprout all over your body are charmingly known as terminal hair. That’s the stuff that makes up your beard and decorates your, ahem, nether regions. Let that sink in for a moment: your perfectly groomed beard is basically made of pubic hair. That’s probably given you some pause for thought, particularly if you’re among our hairier readers… Anyway, we’ll leave you with that thought, and plough on with some more terminology.
Vellus hair is the finer growth on your arms and legs. Also known as peach fuzz.
Lanugo is the soft, downy hair we’re born with. So essentially every baby is a hairy baby. Lanugo hair can be found in a handful of adults, but most of us shed it by the end of the fourth trimester.
The hair on your head lives longer than your body hair.
If you’re blessed with fast-growing hair you know a visit to the barbers is in order every few weeks. But if you need all that maintenance to keep your barnet at bay, shouldn’t the rest of you need a regular trim too? How come we aren’t all walking around looking like yetis in a shoulder-to-toe shagpile carpet? The answer is, our body hair has a much shorter lifespan than the hair on our heads. Nature keeps us effortlessly groomed in that department by shedding body hair every few months. So there’s one thing you can cross off your to-do list!
Pubic hair has a smell of its own!
It’s no cause for panic – beards and underarm hair can get just as funky. The culprit is the sebaceous gland that’s attached to the hair follicle. Its job is to ward off germs and sweat. And the price to pay for your sebaceous glands to give you this protection? You guessed it: body odour.
- Smells damn sexy!
Besides protecting you from all manner of nasties, your body hair ratchets up your pulling power. Terminal hairs are hormonal conductors that help you to seduce potential targets. So get up close and personal, and let them have a good sniff!
Whether you’re overheating, or feeling chilly, your body hair has your back. The second the temperature feels a bit too cool, body hair kicks in to hold onto your body heat. When you’re too hot it goes into reverse, making you sweat more to cool down. So if you’re planning to bare all on the beach, think again before shaving off all that incredible built-in air conditioning!
You’re losing your hair, and there ain’t much you can do about it
On average we lose about 100 hairs a day. For less fortunate blokes the number can be as high as 150!
There’s gold in them there hairs
In a recent study Philippe Walter and his colleagues at the Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris managed to isolate and identify nano-particles of gold in hair. But don’t get too carried away: you won’t be selling off your locks to buy a yacht. In theory you’d be able to extract enough to pay for a rubber ring. Elsewhere scientists have been exploring every possible use for human hair, from electronic applications to markers in cancer diagnosis. Exciting times for human hair!