It’s time to let grow of the stigma

Female body hair is increasingly being discussed, and women are beginning to reclaim their bodies from social expectations. But there’s still a way to go.

So, why do we have body hair?

The body has over five million hair follicles. Depending on where the hair grows, it has different functions to perform.

There are several benefits to having body hair, including regulating our temperature and keeping dirt out of our bodies (in areas such as our eyes and nostrils). Additionally, hair under our arms, on our legs and in the genital area helps prevent chafing when moving around. 

Why is there a stigma around female body hair?

The stigma attached to female body hair is an old-fashioned beauty standard that can be disadvantageous for women, who are often expected to be hairless at all times.

While body hair on men is typically considered natural and manly, for women, it’s commonly perceived as unfeminine, unhygienic, and something that should be removed or hidden.

Recently, female body hair has become more accepted in light of many body positivity movements. However, the stigma continues to impact many women.

Should body hair be removed or embraced?

To remove or not to remove your body hair is a deeply personal choice that should be yours and yours alone.

For some women, not removing their body hair is about making a statement. For others, it’s just not a big deal. Sometimes women may choose not to remove it because they find it aggravating, time-consuming or expensive. Whereas other women simply prefer that silky smooth feeling that comes with being fuzz-free.

At the end of the day, it’s your body, your business. You should feel empowered to do whatever makes you feel confident in your own skin, whether that’s embracing or removing your body hair.

Unwanted hair?

It’s completely normal for women to have hair on their faces as well as their bodies. But some women have thick, dark hair on their face, neck, chest, tummy, lower back, buttocks or thighs, with the most common cause being polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Rarely, it can be caused by certain medicines, using anabolic steroids, other hormonal conditions (for example, Cushing’s syndrome) or a tumour affecting the hormone levels. 

If you’ve noticed a sudden or recent increase in your facial or body hair, you should see your GP. 

If you have hirsutism (excessive hair growth in women) your GP may suggest:

• Losing weight if you're overweight – this can help control hormone levels

• Things you can do at home to remove or lighten the hair – such as shaving, waxing, plucking, hair removal creams or bleaching

• Taking a contraceptive pill if you've not been through the menopause yet – this can help control hormone levels

• A prescription cream to slow hair growth on your face – if this is appropriate for you, it can also be accessed via the Boots Online Doctor – Facial Hair Removal Treatment service*

If these haven’t helped after six months, your GP might refer you to a specialist. They may recommend other medicines to control your hormone levels.

*Treatments provided by Boots Online Doctor are subject to an online consultation to check suitability. Charges apply.