Is Stomach Hair on Women Normal? Body Hair Expectations vs Reality

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You will be relieved to hear that hair on your stomach is so normal that there’s actually a nickname for it – the happy trail. So normal, in fact, that Vogue.com published an article called “The Happy Trail is the Last Frontier of Female Body Hair.”

Is stomach hair on women normal? Yep, it is totally normal for women to have belly hair.

In this article, we are going to look at body hair, particularly on the stomach, how it got there, what it means and how to get rid of it.

We are also going to look at when certain types of stomach hair that isn’t normal, but rather could actually be a sign of an underlying condition.

So keep reading.


Is Stomach Hair On Women Normal?

Despite being constantly bombarded with images of women with seemingly perfectly smooth, hair-free bodies every time we open a magazine, watch television or log on to the Internet, having hair on your stomach is perfectly normal.

Human beings have a lot of hair. In fact, the only places we don’t have hair are on the lips, palms of the hands, and soles of the feet. Though we usually don’t take notice of most of it.

Human beings have a lot of hair. In fact, the only places we don’t have hair are on the lips, palms of the hands, and soles of the feet. Though we usually don’t take notice of most of it.

Humans have two types of hair – terminal & vellus hair.

Terminal Hair

Terminal hair is longer and thicker and grows for a much longer period of time. The hair on your head, as well as your eyebrows and eyelashes, pubic hair and armpit hair are all terminal hair.

Men have more terminal hair than women, which can also grow on their chest, back, arms, legs, and face.

Vellus Hair

Vellus hair is the fine, wispy hair that grows everywhere else on your body, and is commonly noticed on the face and referred to as peach fuzz. Many of us dermaplane to get rid of it.

Vellus hair is different in structure to terminal hair as it does not have a medulla, which is part of the inner core of the hair shaft that strengthens it, allowing it to grow longer.

The hair on your stomach is vellus hair.

For some, this hair might grow longer, be darker or grow more densely than for others. How it grows is due to factors you have no control over, like genetics and ethnicity.

Hair Where?

That all having been said, terminal hair can pop up in all sorts of unwanted places, for both men and women, apart from the usual hangouts, including on knuckles (both hands and feet), stomach, nipples, chin, ears, nose…. pretty much anywhere you don’t want it to.

This is, for the record, also totally normal in most cases.

There are other factors that can affect body hair growth besides genetics and ethnicity, like hormone levels (going through puberty, or pregnancy, for example), oral contraceptives, and even some types of medication.


Why Do I Have Hair On My Stomach?

Every part of our bodies serves, or at least served, a function at one time. Think of your appendix. No one really knows why it’s there or what it does, or did. It’s thought to be a throwback to humans’ earlier days when it did perform a vital function for digestion, which we’ve evolved to no longer need as our diet changed.

That layer of fine vellus hairs on your stomach (and the rest of your body) is thought to have originally been there to help regulate body temperature, among other things.

Now it’s obvious that those hairs will not be keeping you warm or protecting you from the elements or insect bites or doing what they were originally meant to do.

Unlike more vital hair, like our eyebrows, eyelashes, or nostril hair, which serve to protect our eyes or act as a filter to prevent dust, pollen, and allergens from entering the lungs, stomach hair has been deemed pretty much obsolete and probably a throwback to a time when humans were much hairier and lived in very different conditions.

So you will be happy to know that dermatologists and scientists everywhere are in agreement that getting rid of stomach hair is okay and will have no adverse reactions (just like having your appendix taken out).

We’ll get into how to get rid of stomach hair a bit further down.

But before we do, depending on how it’s growing, and whether or not you are displaying other symptoms, an excess of any type of body hair could be a possible sign of an underlying condition that you should take note of.


When Is Stomach Hair Not Normal?

Most of the time stomach hair is totally normal, and nothing to be concerned about. But, if you’re experiencing the following, you may want to reach out to a doctor:

  • An excess of thick body hair
  • Irregular periods
  • Acne
  • You are overweight
  • If the hair on your stomach seems to be growing in an upwards direction toward your belly button, as opposed to downward toward your crotch

These can all be signs of PCOS, which you should get checked out.

PCOS

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that causes enlarged ovaries with small cysts on the outer edges. It’s nothing that’s going to kill you, but if you have any of the other symptoms in addition to what you think is excessive stomach hair, see your doctor to get tested. PCOS is easily treated.

An excess of particularly thick stomach hair accompanied by any of the other symptoms above may also be an indication of high androgen levels, which can mean testosterone-producing tumors or growths.

Again, don’t freak out. The chances are very slim – like 2-out-of-every-million-people slim. These hormone-producing tumors can be benign, but they can also be malignant and cause cancer.

So if you are experiencing what you feel is particularly thick, irregular body hair growth, and any of the above symptoms, or things like deepening of the voice or… well no one will know your body like you do – if you feel like something is not right, see your doctor.

It’s probably nothing, but if it’s something, the sooner you get checked out, the sooner you can treat it.

Unless you’re exhibiting any of the other symptoms we’ve mentioned above, your body hair is nothing to be alarmed about.


How To Get Rid Of Stomach Hair

First off, if you have hair on your stomach and don’t have any other weird symptoms that might otherwise indicate there is something not right (if you have any doubts – go see a doctor), stomach hair is perfectly normal and you don’t have to do anything at all.

Welcome to being human.

We all have body hair, despite what Tik Tok and Instagram are telling you. Have they built the stomach hair filters yet?

But if your stomach hair is making you feel self-conscious and you are avoiding things like wearing a crop top or a bikini because of it, then there is also no reason you can’t get rid of your stomach hair.

The good news is that you’ve got options!

1. Shave

A little shaving cream and a shaving razor is all you need. You may have more success with a dermaplane tool than a typical razor.

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2. Hair Removal Cream

There are quite a few available and they take anywhere from 3 – 10 minutes to work. Read the instructions! Each brand is different and will have different wait times. You just spread it on, wait for however long it tells you, and then you just wash it off with warm water and a washcloth and the hair will be gone.

If you have never used a hair removal cream before, do a patch test on the inside of your arm first. Better to find out on a tiny spot on your arm that your skin is sensitive to the ingredients than your entire abdomen!

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3. Wax Strips

Now, you can go to a salon and get waxed, but you can also much more easily and cost-effectively (not to mention, privately) do it at home.

Go for the cold wax strips.

They’re easier to use and less of a chance of irritating, and no chance of burning, your skin if you’ve never waxed before. Full disclosure… it’s not painless because you’re literally ripping the hairs out of the follicle. But at the same time, waxing lasts a lot longer than shaving.

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Take Away

Having hair on your stomach is totally normal. You can choose to leave it there or remove it, it’s up to you.

However, if you feel like your hair growth is excessive and you have any of the other symptoms we mentioned above, go see a doctor to get checked out. 

Written by Kayla Young

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