The Spring Equinox has come and gone, and soon enough certain parts of our bodies are going to be on display again, like our legs, toes, and shoulders. But don’t forget about the often ignored body parts that are also making their warm-weather debut: your armpits — and your armpit hair. Most likely, your underarms are the topic of much maintenance consideration. Whether it’s which type of deodorant to use (a topic for another day) or hair removal, dealing with your pits can be, well, the pits.
So, what if you just stopped completely? Well, maybe we don’t mean the deodorant part, because we know what it’s like to take public transportation to work every day and experience a person’s unbridled—ahem—natural scent. But you could lead a more quiet revolution by ceasing to remove your armpit hair.
Joining the ranks of Jemima Kirke, Miley Cyrus, Madonna, and most recently, Paris Jackson, you too can shake off the societal expectations that women need to be hair-free — because having armpit hair is 100 percent natural.
So you might want to consider recycling your razors, which will hopefully make your carbon footprint a little bit smaller. But besides being feminist AF,growing out your underarm hair actually has health benefits, too. Yep, that hair serves a purpose.
Here are five reasons why growing out your armpit hair is good for you (and here are five equally compelling armpit-themed GIFs, because armpits are hilarious).
1. Armpit hair can reduce friction when the body is engaged in heavy activity
So if you do moderate physical activity for a living or exercise regularly, you might want to grow some of that buffer hair to prevent the skin under your arms from sticking to itself. Because let’s face it — chafing SUCKS.
2. Armpit hair is basically built-in sweat-wicking workout gear
The idea is that the armpit hair pulls the sweat away from the body, aiding in ventilation, according to esthetician Marta Camkiran. “It reduces friction between the upper and lower arm during vigorous labor or motion,” Camkiran told GoodHousekeeping.com Additionally, this moves bacteria away from the skin, so it can’t stick around and get comfortable. Thus, protection against infection! (Wait. That’s a pretty amazing band name, no?)
In other words: Ladies, stop swiping your plastic at Lululemon, because ARMPIT HAIR is about to be the next athleisure trend. You heard it here first.
3. Armpit hair covers up parts of the body that contain vital arteries
The hair on your armpit serves as some vestigial protective barrier on your skin. You certainly don’t want your most important blood vessels in danger, do you? Consider this your chance to protect your sweet circulatory system from impending danger. ~You’re welcome.~
4. Armpit hair also has something to do with—wait for it—sex
Yes, like most of our preteen problems—hormonal acne, first periods, awkward stages—armpit hair can be chalked up to good old-fashioned puberty. Studies have shown that it pops up around the same time that ourapocrine sweat glands become active, secreting oils that contain proteins and other good stuff, including pheromones. P.S. The only other place you have apocrine sweat glands is in your genitals, so you know your armpit hair has something to do with doing the nasty.
To go a step further, this could shed some light on what armpit hair is really supposed to do. Which, maybe, is to serve as hotbeds for those sexy, stinky pheromones. Yup, that hair grows just to get allll up in those protein-rich oils, so you can attract some potential mates.
So delete your Bumble profile and grow out your underarm tresses. You’re about to score a lot more dates. Thanks, armpit hair!
5. Armpit hair can also lead to better overall wellness for the sensitive skin under your arms
You know that shaving can really mess with your skin, but we do it anyway. “When you shave, you can get irritation, folliculitis, rashes, inflammation, and even infections from dirty razors,” Dr. Mona Gohara, associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale University, told GoodHousekeeping.com. “We do it because it’s a societal norm, but there really isn’t a biological reason to remove that hair.”
So there you have it: Scientific evidence that you really should go ahead and let your armpit manes grow.