Before the onset of puberty, the genital area of both boys and girls has very fine vellus hair, referred to as Tanner stage 1 hair. As puberty begins, the body produces rising levels of the sex hormones known as androgen, and in response the skin of the genital area begins to produce thicker and rougher, often curlier, hair with a faster growth rate. The onset of pubic hair development is termed pubarche. The change for each hair follicle is relatively abrupt, but the extent of skin which grows androgenic hair gradually increases over several years.
Trimming or completely removing pubic hair has become a custom in many cultures. In Islamic societies, for example, removing the pubic hair is a religiously endorsed practice under the Sunan al-Fitra. A preference for hairless genitals is known as acomoclitism. The method of removing hair is called depilation (when removing only the hair above the skin) or epilation (when removing the entire hair). Beauty salons often offer various waxing services. It is sometimes referred to as “pubic topiary”.
Today the modification of pubic hair can also be considered a statement about one’s style or personal lifestyle as can leaving it unmodified. The fashion designer Mary Quant was notably proud that her husband trimmed hers into a heart shape. We’ll publish such photos later.