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February 2013

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: The Abandonment of Body Hair by American Women

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Departments of Dermatology, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island (Dr Lee), and Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina (Dr Ladizinski).

JAMA Dermatol. 2013;149(2):208. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2013.1756

Although the revival of the practice of body hair removal is a relatively recent trend in Western culture, this practice has deep roots in history. Rudimentary cave drawings depict beardless men hunting in the wild. Egyptian, Greek, and Roman men were known to shave their scalps and beard to avoid giving their enemy a handhold grip in battle. Alexander the Great ordered all of his men to shave their beards for this specific reason. Greek and Roman sculptures commonly depict hairless men and women, as this ideal was associated with class and civility.1

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