UCSB Science Line
Sponge Spicules Nerve Cells Galaxy Abalone Shell Nickel Succinate X-ray Lens Lupine
UCSB Science Line
Home
How it Works
Ask a Question
Search Topics
Webcasts
Our Scientists
Science Links
Contact Information
Is there hair on the bottom of our feet or on the palms of our hands?
Answer 1:

Good question. These are the only places on the outside of the human body that do not have any hair. Other places may look hairless, but there are small, fine hairs there.

Humans are mammals, meaning that we have hair and that mothers in our species produce milk for their babies. Some mammals look like they don’t have any hair. Whales have hair as fetuses, but it’s gone by the time they are born. Naked mole rats live underground in the desert and don’t have fur, but they have whiskers to help them find their way and sense vibrations.

Hair grows from special cells that form follicles. Some mammals have a lot more hair than we do, but they don’t necessarily have any more hair follicles. We have about as many hair follicles as chimps do, but most of our hair is a lot shorter. Like us, chimps have no fur on their palms or soles. They also have very little fur on their faces. Why do you think their faces have so little hair?

Thanks for asking,

Answer 2:

Typically, people don't grown hair on the soles of our feet or palms of our hands. This is because this skin on these parts lacks hair follicles, and does not therefore produce hair. This is also the true for lips!


Answer 3:

I don't think so, at least not in the normal sense. You look at the paws of any other mammal and they don't have hair there either.


Answer 4:

Thanks for the question!
Short answer: No, but some people do.

Long answer: The growth of our hair begins under the skin under hair follicles. At this place, cells divide and multiply until they are pushed out of the follicle and harden and that becomes the hair shaft which is dead tissue and keratin (a protein). Due to evolution, there is no point in having hair grow on the palms of our hands and the bottom of our feet because it would be worn down all the time. It would also be more difficult for us to grab onto things and have grip if we had hair on those areas (think of a dog or cat paw!) The skin on these areas are also very thick compared to other parts of our body so it would be difficult to form hair follicles there. So due to evolution, we usually do not have hair growing there. But of course there are always exceptions and there are certain mutations that people can and do have that make their bodies grow hair in those areas.



Click Here to return to the search form.

University of California, Santa Barbara Materials Research Laboratory National Science Foundation
This program is co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and UCSB School-University Partnerships
Copyright © 2015 The Regents of the University of California,
All Rights Reserved.
UCSB Terms of Use