Control body hair?

Originally Published: September 1, 1993 - Last Updated / Reviewed On: April 3, 2014
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Dear Alice--

I'm only eighteen, but I have a lot of hair on my chest. I'm afraid of letting women see me with my shirt off because I don't want them to be turned off. How can I get rid of this rug and keep it under control without shaving daily? Also, is there away to slow down my beard growth? Shaving more than once a day can be very irritating to my face, but I hate looking so dirty.

-Harry

Dear Harry,

How people approach body hair is different from time to time, culture to culture. Some view a hairy chest and beard as a sign of male virility, while others find smoother skin more appealing. And each person will decide what look they prefer for themselves. Have you considered why you don't want to be seen with a hairy chest? Are you responding to media images of men with less body hair? Or perhaps comments from the past? Attitudes toward body hair really do vary and odds are there is someone that will appreciate you for you, hair and all.

If you still feel uncomfortable with the amount of hair you have, you could cut it, trim it, shave, wax, seek laser treatment, or use a chemical hair removal product. For beard growth, you may need to change your shaving cream or moisturizer and/or change your razor blade if you usually shave more than once a day (which some men do). Have you tried talking with a health care provider about your hormone levels? Or tried consulting a studio or salon that offers services for more than just the hair on your head? If you're a student at Columbia, you can make an appointment with a health care provider by contacting Medical Services (Morningside) or the Student Health Service (CUMC). If you’re not at Columbia, or wish to find a spa or salon in your area, try searching online or asking a trusted friend for recommendations.

The truth is fairly simple; the way you feel about your chest and facial hair is up to you! Remember that some people are turned on by thick body hair and an interesting hair pattern. No need to feel harried — it's truly a matter of individual taste.

Alice