PBS Kids GO! It's My Life
Puberty: From Bare to Hair

As a girl, you probably think a lot about your hair…the hair on your head, that is. But when puberty starts, it's time to start thinking about hair in other places. Grossed out? Don't be. Everybody gets hairier as they go through puberty, and it's totally natural. Sometimes, growing hair where you used to have none is one of the first signs that you're starting puberty. Here's where you'll probably notice some new sprouts:

  • Armpits: As puberty starts, you'll begin growing hair underneath your arms. It will probably be light and soft at first, but will get thicker as you get older.

  • The "bikini area": You'll also start growing hair between your legs, above and around the entrance to your vagina. This is called pubic hair, because the area between your legs is called your pubis. Again, this hair will grow gradually, getting thicker as you get older.

  • Arms and legs: Almost everybody has hair on their arms and legs. When you're a kid, this hair is hard to see, because it's so soft and light. During puberty, this hair will probably grow thicker and darker.

What about color?
The color and thickness of the body hair you grow during puberty will depend on a lot of things. If you have dark hair on your head, your body hair may also be dark, so that it's more visible. If you have very light blonde hair on your head, you may have very light and blonde body hair, but not always. Sometimes, blonde girls grow underarm hair or pubic hair that's brown. Although you may feel a little "mismatched," it's all totally normal.

What should you do?
Many girls feel that having body hair, especially under their arms and on their legs, is not "lady-like." You might feel embarrassed or that there's pressure to have bare legs and armpits. If that's the case, talk to a parent about whether you're ready to start using a razor, wax, or hair-removing creams (also called "depilatories") to get rid of it.

When it comes to the hair between your legs, keep in mind that few people will see that part of your body anyway. As you get older, and the hair gets thicker, it can sometimes peek out of the bottom of your suit and make you self-conscious. Again, if that happens, talk to a parent about how you might remove some of the hair in your bikini area.

Remember that sometimes, hair removal treatments can irritate your skin and actually make it look worse than it did when it had hair! And sometimes, it can get annoying to keep doing the same treatments each time new hair -- or stubble -- shows up again. If you feel like you're not ready to get into all that just yet, think about other options, such as wearing swim shorts instead of bikini bottoms, capri-length pants instead of shorts, and t-shirts instead of tank tops, that will cover your hairier areas but still look and feel cool.

http://pbskids.org/itsmylife
Copyright © 2005 CastleWorks, Inc. All rights reserved.