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Why Do We Need Hair?

Woman with beautiful hair

Whether you’re having a bad hair day or a good one, the fact remains that you have hair. Why? A lot of our media depicts futuristic humans or aliens as being hairless. We all know we can get a lot of good out of our hair by using it as a method of expression. A good haircut can improve our mood and boost our confidence all in one go. This doesn’t matter though as most are going to go on having hair regardless of whether they’re satisfied with their current haircut or not. Furthermore, all of us lose hair to varying degrees as we age. This again leads to questions of why we even have it in the first place if our body is simply going to stop wanting it later. The reasons that people have hair are directly tied to our heritage and place in the animal kingdom. Admittedly, we don’t always know why we will have some hair.

One of the primary purposes of the hair on your head and all over your body is simply to keep you warm. The body hair hasn’t really gotten the memo that it isn’t as useful as it once was though. Humans are mammals and we are naturally covered in hair like most of our distinct ancestors in the animal kingdom. Hair served plenty of functions, but warmth is a big one. Now most people are going to pause and look at their arms and believe they’re quite hairless, at least compared to a stereotypical ape, and this is at least somewhat true. You do have less hair. The catch is that all your skin, whether it seems bare or not, likely has minute hair follicles. Higher testosterone levels make body hair more visibile with time, hence why men are often characterized by their body hair, but everyone’s head hair remains there. The hair on your head does continue to be useful for helping regulate your temperature though.

Most of us don’t think of hair as being vital to protecting our bodies. It is just something that is kind of there and may or may not be annoying depending on our particular sensibilities. Hair does protect us though. Head hair is part of your scalp’s defense against sunlight. Remember that exposing skin to the sun causes constant damage. Your hair helps protect your skin a little more than just your skin’s natural moisture barrier is capable of on its own. Those with particularly thick and coarse hair actually have among the best natural defense in this area. Admittedly, this doesn’t make the hair any more pleasant to deal with when you’re washing it. The other purpose is that all of the almost invisible hairs across your body as sensitive to touch and movement. Think about how you can feel cool breezes on your skin or the subtle movement of an insect. That’s what hair provides for you. It is another layer of your skin’s defenses in that it alerts you to something foreign touching your body.

Specialized hairs like your eyelashes and the much dreaded nostril hair also have their place in the human body. These are, in a way, a form of protection, but they are specialized in their function by comparison to others. Eyelashes help shield your sensitive eyes from at least some of the grime and dirt that would otherwise prove to be a problem for them. Their movement disrupts and dismisses problematic sources every day without you really thinking about it. Those unsightly nostril hairs are providing a similar function. Structures within the nose offer protection against various issues, but nostril hairs are the first line of defense. They help catch larger debris and dirt trying to enter your nose. Without them, you’d have more issues getting a decent breath in in dusty areas. By all means, groom these specialized hairs, but never pluck them as they do have a purpose.

We need all of our hair. Even though most of our body hair is almost vestigial by comparison to the rest, it still fills plenty of functions for our bodies. We’re all so used to trying to control all of our hair that we’ve forgotten all the good that it does it. You should keep up your favorite grooming routines to maintain the appearance of your choice, but try not to forget that you have the hair that you do because your body needs it. Or perhaps it is better to say that to hair is human.

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