There are two main types of hair on the human body: vellus hair and terminal hair.
Vellus hair is soft, fine strands of hair that cover your entire body, also known as “peach fuzz”. Most women, children and pre-teens have vellus hair on their chest, back and face. Vellus hair may appear more noticeable on women with darker skin tones.
The purpose of vellus hair is to regulate body temperature. When your body temperature drops, vellus hair tends to stand straight up on the skin, creating a barrier between what is making you cold and your skin’s surface.
Some people have more vellus hair on their bodies then others. This condition is called hypertrichosis. Hypertrichosis is common when the testosterone levels among women who are menopausal, or post menopausal rises, and the estrogen level decreases.
Hypertrichosis may also occur in people who are on certain medications containing testosterone, danazol, corticotrophin, (ACTH), metyrapone, anabolic steroids (testosterone, DHEA) and glucocorticoids such as prednisone. These medications may cause increased vellus hair and terminal hair growth (see below) as well as convert vellus hair into terminal hair.
Hypertrichosis is a common adverse effect of cyclosporin, a chemotherapy drug, and minoxidil and diazoxide used for the treatment of hypertension.
Terminal hair is considered developed hair. This type of hair is stronger, coarser, and darker then vellus hair. Terminal hair is typically found on your head, under your armpits, and in your pubic region. This type of hair may be very curly on some individuals.
During the onset of puberty, the sebaceous glands are highly active. This gland is located at the base of the hair follicle under the skins surface. During the onset of puberty this gland tends to be overactive. It plays a role in converting vellus hair into terminal hair. Sebaceous glands produce oil on the skin and hairs surface. Overactive sebaceous glands can create oily hair for many teens.
Many people want to get rid of the unwanted hair on their bodies and there are a variety of ways to do this:
“Do it yourself” methods include:
• Depliatory Cream
• Waxing or Sugaring
“Do it yourself” or using a certified practitioner include:
Methods requiring a licensed practitioner:
• Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)
Depilation lasting several hours to several days can be achieved by:
1. Shaving or trimming either using a manual or electric shavers
2. Friction by using a rough surface to buff away hair
3. Depilatories which can come as a cream or “shaving powders” that chemically dissolve hair
Epilation lasting several days to several weeks can be achieved by:
1. Tweezing, by pulling out each individual hair
2. Waxing, using either a hot or cold layer of wax applied and then removed with porous strips
3. Sugaring which is very similar to waxing, but with a sticky paste in place of wax
4. Threading, which is also called fatlah or khite, in which a twisted thread catches hairs as it’s rolled across the skin
5. Rotary epilators that are devices which rapidly grasp hairs and pull them out by the root