If you've never given much thought to your arm hair, it may be hard to imagine what it's like to be unhappy with your own day in and day out, but that's precisely the self-consciousness experienced by countless women moving from childhood into adolescence. One such person is Nicole, who recalls, "My arm hair was pointed out to me ever since I can remember. The average human body boasts some 5 million hair follicles , and generations of beauty standards across many cultures have dictated that on femme-presenting bodies, some of this hair is acceptable and some of it is not. Body hair has been censured and policed, giving rise to hair-removal rituals requiring immense time and resources: shaving, waxing, laser hair removal, electrolysis, and more. As the body-positivity movement has gathered momentum in recent years, though, body hair , especially on legs and armpits, has begun to enter the mainstream, with celebrities and Instagram influencers applauded for flaunting theirs. Arm hair has been discussed far less, but that's not to say it doesn't inspire strong feelings in those who have it, which is to say all of us.
Skip navigation! Story from Beauty. Perhaps you've already heard: The bush is back. Yes, claiming that a body part is "in" or "out" of fashion is still inherently problematic, yet many have noted that a fuller-bodied pubic hairstyle is being celebrated in the public eye in in a way it hasn't been for quite some time. In , photographer Petra Collins' picture showing her pubic hair was deleted from Instagram , causing uproar and igniting debate.
For every part of me that wants to keep it long as an F-you to what feel like unfair beauty standards, another part — the one that grew up in the 90s and early aughts and was raised on mainstream teen magazines — feels best when I shave it off. I also learned that a lot more women have body hair than is represented in the media, and that I wanted to change that. And celebrating a wider variety of choices seems like an important step in achieving that. So I asked four women who let their body hair grow free to show me what it looks like and tell me what it feels like to write their own beauty rules.
While conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome can cause the growth of such unruly hair, idiopathic hirsutism usually has no underlying cause, other than a higher-than-usual prevalence of androgens i. Women with the condition tend to grow thick, dark hairs on their back, upper-lip, breasts, chin, chest, or tummy, and battling the fuzz as well as the stubble and ingrown hairs associated with removal may lead to frustration and insecurity. While there are treatments available, like a drug called Spironolactone, which blocks androgen receptors and reduces testosterone, or creams like Vaniqa, many are costly.