Summary of An Abstract by Roger Melick, M.B., M.R.C.P., and H. Pincus Taft, M.
D., M.R.A.C.P.

In a study for the Department of Medicine at the University of Melbourne
and Royal Melbourne Hospital in Victoria, Australia, a survey of 167 men
and 189 women, all over 60 years of age, was carried out to assess
absent or reduced body hair in seniors.

The state of axillary (underarm), pubic, chest, abdominal, limb and eyebrow
hair was examined in both sexes, and facial hair in females, with the following
overall results:

  • Most or all axillary hair was lost in one sixth of the males and half of the
    females. This loss was progressive with age.
  • Detectable loss of pubic hair occurred in one fifth of the men and one third
    of the women, but only 1 man and 5 women had complete loss of pubic
    hair. Thus only loss of all pubic hair is of diagnostic significance in old age.
  • One sixth of patients of both sexes had lost the outer third of their
    eyebrows, although appearing euthyroid (having a normally functioning
    thyroid gland).
  • Coarse facial hair was present in three quarters of the women studied, but
    its incidence did not increase with age. Hair was rarely seen on the sides of
    these women's faces, but was common on the upper lip and chin.
  • Limb hair had a definite pattern of disappearance which was similar in both
    sexes. Leg hair was absent or scanty in the majority of both men and
    women, whereas arm hair was plentiful in men but scanty in women.
  • The relative importance of hormone deprivation or other factors in
    producing these effects could not be determined.

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Reprinted with permission