There are three different types of hair that exist on the human body. These different types of hair include terminal hair, vellus hair, and lanugo hair. Many people might assume that when a person refers to the various hair types, he is referring to the differences in hair texture or possibly hair covering varying parts of the body. This assumption might be correct in some cases, but not when terminal, vellus, and lanugo hair are being discussed. All three of these types of hair are very different from each other, and only one of these refers to what most people think of as hair.
Terminal hair is the hair found on a person's head, underarms, and pubic region. It is also normally visible on the arms, legs, and occasionally the backs or stomachs in people with lots of body hair. Terminal types of hair are what the average person thinks of when thinking of hair. All terminal hair is connected to oil-secreting sebaceous glands on the skin. Even though almost all body hair is considered terminal hair, the hair in the pubic region and on the underarms can be further broken down into its own subtype of hair, called androgenic hair.
Vellus hair is what most people think of as peach fuzz. This type of hair is normally very fine and short, usually not more than a few millimeters in length. In addition to being fine, vellus hair is also not very easy to see because it is typically very light blond or translucent in color. This hair generally covers all surfaces of the body but may be more noticeable on the upper lip or on the back of the neck. It is usually easier to see this type of hair on women and young children because they tend to have less body hair than adult men.
Lanugo hair is the hair that covers a fetus inside the womb. The purpose of lanugo hair is to keep the fetus warm, which is essential because fetuses usually do not have enough body fat to stay warm without it. Lanugo hair is typically very soft and does not last long once a baby is born. Babies born with lanugo hair generally lose it within a few days to a week after birth. The loss of lanugo hair is not always obvious because some babies already have a large amount of terminal hair at birth, and the presence of this might help disguise the loss of lanugo hair.