Hairy Subject: Why are men hairier than women?

Hairy Subject: Why are men hairier than women?

It’s a question that may well have crossed your mind at some point - why are men hairier than women? However, the answer to this question might surprise you - because we’re actually not.

From childhood, all the way through to puberty, people grow something known as vellus hair. This hair grows all over the body regardless of gender. However, we hardly notice vellus hair because it’s very thin, short, and light in colour. 

When we hit puberty, our bodies go through a number of hormonal changes. For men, this gives distinctive features such as deeper voices and growth spurts. As part of this change (of course) is the hair that appears in larger quantities all over our bodies, including our genitals, chest and face. 

This hair is known as androgenic hair, which is much thicker and darker than the vellus hair we grow as children. It gets its name from the androgens (i.e. sex hormones) which stimulate its growth.

Whilst women develop this hair around the armpit and genitals, men seem to grow it everywhere from the face all the way down to our feet. So, why does this happen? 

Men develop more androgenic hair than women because we have more androgens. 

Androgens (sometimes referred to as male sex hormones because we more of them than women) are sexual hormones such as testosterone, androstenedione and DHT, which create male characteristics. This, of course, includes being hairier.

We often think of men as being hairier than women because we have more androgenic hair. This hair is thicker, darker and longer than vellus hair and it’s therefore easy to think that men are hairier than women. 

In actual fact, women don’t have less hair - they just keep more of their vellus hair and develop less androgenic hair than we do. 

The next time you’re getting told off from your housemate, partner or wife over the stubble that’s left in the sink, just remember - it’s not your fault - you can’t help the fact that you’ve got more androgenic hair than they do.