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What makes a man so hairy?

Why Are Some Men Hairier than Others?

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Bulgaria: Why Are Some Men Hairier than Others?

When it comes to hairiness, you may have noticed that some men are considerably hairier than others. Of course, there are some men that get rid of their body and facial hair and some that actively encourage hair growth, so this makes a difference. However, there are also other reasons why some men are much hairier than others.

Of course, you have to remember that the reason behind increased hairiness in men could be down to very different reasons. For instance, some men may be hairier due to medical issues and conditions, some down to hormone levels, and some simply because they choose to be. In this article, we will look a little more closely at these possibilities.

Some of the Key Reasons

Women have different opinions about hairy male bodies, and while some women love them and find them to be extra-masculine, others do not like overly hairy men at all. Men can start developing hair at a much earlier age than women because of their higher level of testosterone, so many embrace their hair from early on in life. So, let’s take a closer look at some of the reasons why some men are hairier than others:

Medical Reasons

There are certain medical reasons why some men may be hairier than others, so if you are worried about your excessive hair and unsure as to why it is there, it is worth getting it investigated. For instance, issues such as hormonal imbalance, adrenal gland problems, and conditions such as Cushing’s Syndrome can all lead to excess hair growth. In addition, there are certain medications that can result in increased body hair growth, so you may also need to consider the medications you are taking.


Hormones can also play a big part in hairiness levels in men. Testosterone is a hormone that is present in both men and women, but it is present in far higher levels in men. In addition, some men have higher testosterone levels than others, so the levels can vary between different men. If you have high testosterone levels, you could find that you are naturally hairier than many other men. As mentioned above, there are also other hormone-related issues that can contribute to excess hair for men such as problems with the adrenal gland.

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Of course, another thing you have to consider is that some men are hairier than others through choice. In fact, they are not actually hairier than others but just appear to be because they embrace their hair while other men may shave or trim their hair to reduce hairiness. This is down to personal choice, and while some men may prefer to look more groomed and clean-shaven, others are happy to keep their body and facial hair. So, some men will use grooming habits that minimize their body and facial hair while others will prefer the natural look.

These are just some of the reasons why some men have far more hair than others.

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Chest hair

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Most common chest hair pattern

Chest hair is hair that grows on the chest in the region between the neck and the abdomen. Chest hair develops during and after puberty along with other types of androgenic hair.

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Development and growth [ edit ]

Although vellus hair is already present in the area in childhood, chest hair is the terminal hair that develops as an effect of rising levels of androgens (primarily testosterone and its derivatives) due to puberty. Different from the head hair, it is therefore a secondary sexual characteristic. Men tend to be covered with far more terminal hair, particularly on the chest, the abdomen, and the face. The development of chest hair begins normally during late puberty, usually between the ages of 12 and 18. It can also start later, between the age of 20 and 30, so that many men in their twenties have not yet reached their full chest hair development. The growth continues subsequently.

Patterns and characteristics [ edit ]

The individual occurrence and characteristics of chest hair depend on the genetic disposition, the hormonal status and the age of the person. The genes primarily determine the amount, patterns and thickness of chest hair. Some men are very hairy, while others have no chest hair at all. All ranges and patterns of hair growth are normal. The areas where terminal hair may grow are the periareolar areas (nipples), the centre and sides of the chest and the clavicle collarbone. The direction of growth of hair can make for interesting patterns, akin to depictions of mathematical vector fields. Typical males will exhibit a node on the upper sternum, the hair above which points up and the hair below which points down. Some individuals have spirals on their upper pectoral regions (several inches from the nipple towards the neck) which run clockwise on the left breast and counter-clockwise on the right. [ citation needed ] Considering an individual occurrence of chest hair as abnormal is usually not due to medical indications but primarily to cultural and social attitudes. An excessive growth of terminal hair on the body is called hypertrichosis. This medical term has to be distinguished from hirsutism that just affects women. These women can develop terminal hair on the chest following the male pattern as a symptom of an endocrine disease.

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Setty patterns [ edit ]

Four areas in the Setty chest hair pattern system: infraclavicular (top), pectoral (left), sternal (middle) and circumareolar (right)

There have been occasional studies documenting patterns of chest hair in men and occurrence of these patterns. A study of 1,400 white men aged 17 to 71 conducted by L.R. Setty in the 1960s defines 15 patterns of chest hair. [1] [2] [3] [4] In this study, four parts of the chest in which terminal hair occurs were identified:

AreaDescriptionIncidence [2]
SternalThe center and lower part of the body of the breastbone74%
InfraclavicularThe area immediately below the medial end of the collarbone;63%
PectoralThe breast area, including the area immediately around the areola (nipples);77%
CircumareolarA small area immediately encircling the areola.16%

Chest hair may occur on each of these areas independent from the others, making for a total of 15 combinations in addition to the apilose (bare) pattern. Hair is said to occur on both the pectoral and circumareolar areas when there is hair around the nipples and on the breast, but these areas are not connected.

The 16 chest hair patterns by Setty
PatternNameIncidence [2]

The pecto-sterno-infraclavicular pattern, in which the breast, sternum and medial end of the clavicle is covered with terminal hair, is most common (57%).

What’s Great About Having A Hairy Chest, According To Science

Close-up of a man

A hairy chest can be a source of insecurity for some men, with beaches, public pools, and yard work on hot days all potential locales of shame for really hairy men. But if you’re one of those men who questions the purpose of his chest hair, science has discovered many benefits that come part and parcel with more hair on the pitch. Certainly, some hairy men may elect for grooming their chest hair with electrolysis, shaving, or waxing. And there are those out there who, through sheer chance, have a baby-smooth bod. But for those on the fence as to whether they should trim their chest hair, science has a few things to say about your hairy chest before it goes.

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A Hairy Chest Might Mean You’re More Intelligent

The hairier the chest, the smarter the man, at least according to one survey that found nearly 50% of medical students were considered “very hairy” compared to 10% of the general population. (We’d love to know exactly how they surveyed this, but data is data.) Although the research is dated, another study found that a majority of members of Mensa, or the genius club, had thick chest hair as well.

It’s not completely clear why hairy men seem to be more intelligent on the whole. And it’s entirely possible this is a coincidence. However, it may just as well be true that hairy men choose to stay in and study instead of being shamed at pool parties.

Your Chest Hair Might Match Your Father-in-Law’s Hairy Chest

Oddly, studies suggest your chest hair might resemble that of your father-in-law. The hypothesis is that women’s preferences in chest hair could be heritable from their mothers. It also may be a result of sexual imprinting — that is, women select men who remind them of their fathers. Regardless, hairy men may not want to be shirtless with their in-law lest they recognize some uncomfortable commonalities. Bonus: You now have a surefire get-out-of-in-law-pool-party card that your partner will be loathe to argue against.

A Hairy Chest Is Popular Among Older Women

Despite the fact that testosterone levels influence chest hair, women are not that into it when they’re at their most fertile, according to a study of nearly 300 women. Researchers found that more fertile women opted for men with less chest hair. However, postmenopausal women preferred more chest hair. So for men who look like they’re always wearing sweaters, enjoy your one-way ticket to Cougartown. But for the hairy father who’s not ready to expand his family further, consider chest hair a second form of birth control.

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Uneven Chest Hair Is Normal

In 1965, researchers categorized chest hair into 15 unique patterns, spanning four separate areas of the chest, in a study of 1,400 white men ages 17 to 71. Sternal, infraclavicular (below the collarbone), pectoral, and circumareolar (areola) hair make up the four areas where chest hair grows, with a majority of it growing on the pecs and sternum. The most common chest hair pattern was the pecto-sterno-infraclavicular pattern, in which the breast, sternum, and end of the clavicle are hairy.

This early research established that it was common for men to have asymmetrical chest hair that followed different patterns on each side. So whatever odd chest hair you have, you’re probably not alone.

Your Chest Hair Could Always Be Worse

Even the hairiest man in the world could’ve been hairier if history had taken an alternative route, scientists suspect. Although early hominids were covered in body hair as a way to keep warm, about three million years ago their fur stopped serving that purpose and started put them at risk of overheating. Thanks to natural selection, humans shed excess body hair and evolved to sweat instead. So no matter how hairy you are, it could always be worse — you could have inherited the chest of Australopithecus (or Steve Carell).

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