If you are a purchaser of our depilatory creams, or other hair removal products, then you probably don’t love body hair. This is a reasonable opinion to have. But, we don’t want everyone hating hair. What did hair do to us? In this blog post we want to look at the purpose of hair and why evolutionarily humans are starting to have less and less hair.
Hair has several functions, most are good for us, but not necessary for living.
- Warmth: A long, long time ago humans had lots and lots of hair. Imagine the hairiest person you know, now add a crazy amount of hair and that is how much we’re talking. This served the same function that fur does for animals, it keeps them warm.
- Protection from the Sun: We have hair on our head to protect us from the UV rays of the sun. All the bald people out there will testify that they have to put sunscreen on their heads when they’re at the beach or going on a long hike. Ancient humans didn’t have sunblock and needed hair to prevent burns and skin cancer.
- Friction: This may sound strange, but hair helps quite a bit with decreasing friction on our skin. Areas that have a significant amount of friction due to walking, moving our arms, etc. will have hair. This is your arm pits, butt crack, and pubic region (this friction requires another person).
- Odor: This is a negative reason to anyone who went through puberty. But it does have a function. Areas that sweat and cause odor (same culprits as before: armpits, butt, pubic region) want to maintain that aroma through having it latch onto hair. Why is that? This again dates back to our early ancestors. They were attracted to the scent and it was something they looked for in a mate. Instinct we’ll call it.
- Attraction: This one again refers back to our early ancestors, who lived in a time where very strong, big men provided the best opportunity at survival. Hormones that make you big and strong also give you lots of hair. So undoubtedly, the lady neanderthals were all over the hairy big guys. This led to those genes (hair big guy genes) being spread down the generations.
So if hair has all of these great purposes, why do we want to remove it? Well, as humans have evolved we have trended towards having less and less hair. Let’s dive into the evolution.
The Evolution of Hair:
Evolution has happened both in function and in preference. Humans definitely look much different today than they did in the 1700’s, 1000 BC, or anytime before that. Things change. This includes fashion, function, and preference.
- I know we said that hair was a major driving force behind attraction way back in history. Well, there comes a certain point that the big, strong guy isn’t as effective as the small skinny guy who can create fire and make tools. All of a sudden the neanderthal ladies are attracted to the small nerdy guy who keeps them warm and figures out a way to find food without disappearing for weeks at a time. Hair, and body mass, becomes less important to a certain extent.
- We also mentioned above that hair keeps you warm. Well what about too warm? Can you imagine walking around Arizona in a parka? As the climate heated up and as early humans migrated towards the warmer places, hair became more of a burden. Humans also started wearing clothes and walking more uprightly. This caused us to not need body hair to protect from UV light (But we held onto the head hair).
- Finally, preference. We can talk about the function of hair till the cows come home (hairless cows?) but if an individual doesn’t like hair they don’t need to keep it. Especially with how advanced we are as a society. We have all the things needed to survive and thrive in life whether we are hairy or hairless.
Hopefully y’all found that interesting and insightful. Remember, hair isn’t a bad thing. It’s actually a good thing! But we definitely don’t need it, especially if we don’t like the way it looks, feels, etc.