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When do girls get armpit hair?

Armpit hair development in girls is a normal part of puberty. Most girls start growing armpit hair between the ages of 9 and 15. The exact timing varies between individuals and is influenced by genetics, ethnicity, and other factors.

What causes armpit hair growth in girls?

Armpit hair growth is triggered by the hormones estrogen and testosterone. During puberty, the body begins producing more of these hormones, leading to underarm hair development:

  • Estrogen signals the growth of pubic and underarm hair in girls.
  • Testosterone contributes to increased body hair, including in the armpits.

Therefore, getting armpit hair is one of the early signs of puberty in girls as their hormone levels change and rise.

What is the average age for girls to get underarm hair?

On average, most girls will begin to grow armpit hair between the ages of 9 and 15 years old. Here is an overview of the typical ages:

  • 9-10 years old – Some girls may start seeing faint, soft hairs in their armpits around this age.
  • 11-12 years old – More visible, coarse armpit hair growth often begins at this age as puberty progresses.
  • 13-15 years old – Most girls will have noticeable underarm hair by their mid-teen years.

However, some girls may start developing armpit hair a little earlier or later than these average ages. Genetics, family background, and ethnicity can all influence the timing.

Ethnic differences in armpit hair development

Some broad ethnic differences have been observed in when girls begin growing underarm hair:

  • White/Caucasian – Average age is 12 years old.
  • Black/African American – Tend to start earlier, average age is 10 years old.
  • Asian – Often begin later, average age is 13 years old.
  • Hispanic/Latina – Average age is in between at 11 years old.

However, there is significant overlap between the different groups. Every individual will experience the timing of armpit hair growth differently.

Other physical signs of puberty in girls

Armpit hair does not develop in isolation during puberty. Some other physical signs that girls go through at a similar time include:

  • Breast development – Breast buds form, sometimes as early as age 8.
  • Growth spurt – Rapid increase in height typically begins between ages 10-14.
  • Acne – Hormonal changes often lead to acne breakouts.
  • Pubic hair – Coarse hair growing in the genital area, as early as age 9.
  • Wider hips – Hips widen as estrogen causes fat deposition.

Armpit and pubic hair are often the first visible body hair changes in puberty. But all these developments are normal and signify maturity.

Emotional impact of getting underarm hair

Growing armpit hair can sometimes be an emotional experience for preteen and teen girls. Some common feelings include:

  • Self-consciousness – Worry about visible underarm hair, especially if early developer.
  • Excitement – Feelings of maturity about becoming a woman.
  • Fear – Anxiety if developing earlier or later than peers.
  • Ambivalence – Mix of different emotions about physical changes.

Having supportive parents and friends can help young girls adjust to armpit hair development with positive self-esteem.

Caring for armpit hair in adolescent girls

Once a girl begins growing armpit hair, extra hygiene steps become necessary. Here are some tips for keeping underarms clean and healthy:

  • Wash regularly with soap – Daily showering or bathing.
  • Shave or trim – Remove hair partially or fully using razor or trimmers.
  • Deodorant/antiperspirant – Prevent odor and sweat buildup.
  • Avoid irritation – Use gentle products if sensitive skin.

Waxing or laser hair removal are other options but generally not recommended for teens. Proper hygiene prevents body odor in adolescent girls.

When to see a doctor

Consult a pediatrician or doctor if:

  • No armpit hair by age 15 – Delayed puberty evaluation needed.
  • Hair growth before age 8 – Early puberty assessment recommended.
  • Excessive hair growth – Rule out hormonal disorder like PCOS.
  • Underarm hair but no other puberty signs – Hormone imbalance may be cause.

Otherwise, armpit hair at normal puberty ages is not a medical concern. But discuss any questions or worries with your daughter’s physician.

Frequently asked questions

Is it normal to have hair on nipples and breasts during puberty?

Some girls may notice fine, light hairs growing on the outer edges of their areolas and around nipples during puberty. This is related to the hormone changes and is very common and normal.

Can you get dark, coarse armpit hair before your period starts?

Yes, it is possible to develop darker, thicker armpit hair before getting your first period. The hormonal changes of puberty often start between 1-2 years before menstruation begins. So armpit hair can precede the first period.

Do girls need to shave their armpits during puberty?

There is no medical need to shave armpit hair during puberty. It’s an aesthetic preference and personal choice for each girl. Some girls may wish to shave due to social norms or peer pressure.

What causes excessive armpit hair in adolescent females?

Excessive armpit hair beyond the normal development can have numerous causes. These include polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), hormonal imbalances, steroid use, or genetic predisposition. See a doctor if hair growth seems abnormal.


Armpit hair development is a normal part of female puberty, occurring for most girls between the ages of 9-15. The average age varies slightly between ethnicities. Proper hygiene and a healthy self-image are important during this transition. See a doctor if hair growth is abnormal or causes distress.