Why Do We Have Armpit Hair?

Although it may seem useless and irritating at times, armpit hair actually serves a few important purposes. In fact, it's associated with several essential bodily functions (via Healthline). Also known as axillary hair, armpit hair reduces friction between the arm and torso by preventing skin-to-skin contact during certain physical activities, like walking or running. This can help prevent chafing from occurring, which can lead to redness and irritation.

Armpit hair can also help facilitate the release of pheromones, which are naturally occurring chemicals secreted outside the body to induce sexual attraction. This hair serves as a protective barrier between your skin and the vital blood vessels and arteries that run under your armpit as well (via HelloGiggles). While you're certainly not obligated to keep your armpit hair and let it grow, not shaving or waxing it can help you avoid ingrown hairs, skin tags, pimples, and general irritation in your armpits.

Why women feel pressured to shave

Although there's no right or wrong way to take care of your armpit hair, many women still feel pressured to shave their armpits and other visible hair on their bodies, but why? According to Dr. Mona Gohara, an associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale University, the pressure women face to shave their armpit hair has nothing to do with biology and science and everything to do with societal norms (via Good Housekeeping).

"There's this false association that hairlessness equals cleanliness, but that's not actually true as long as you're clean," Gohara told Good Housekeeping. "Men wear deodorant, have underarm hair, and don't smell — there's no biological reason women can't do the same." As long as you wash your armpit hair and keep your armpits clean, they will not smell any more than they do when you shave them. In the end, you should do whatever makes you feel the most comfortable.