What is it and why do I have goosebumps?
Yesterday I went to see a movie at the cinema, and I spent the whole time with my hair on end! And, to be honest, I have to admit that this is not the first time this has happened to me... (Especially on cold days or in specific situations). But why do I have goosebumps?
What is goosebumps?
Even if you think that you get goosebumps for no reason , the truth is that it is a physiological matter ; that is, an involuntary reaction that all mammals with hair generally have . During this situation, the erector villus muscles (which are inside the hair follicles ) contract in our body .
This reaction occurs in connection with the sympathetic nervous system ; that is, the person in charge of the heart rate , the secretion of some glands and the size of the pupils , for example. In this way, our epidermis undergoes a change in its appearance, since the hair pores expand , causing the hair to stand on end .
In addition, getting goosebumps can also be a response to the release of adrenaline . Did you really think it was a coincidence that your hair stood on end in situations of cold , stress or fear ? Absolutely not! This type of stimuli causes an increase in heart rate and blood pressure (in addition to the fact that the mental capacity to respond becomes much more agile ). On the other hand, we can also notice tremors or sweating in our hands... Am I the only one this usually happens to?
Where do goosebumps usually appear?
The most frequent places where humans suffer this involuntary reaction are the forearms , neck , neck , legs and face . Also, as a curiosity ( in case you are interested) I have to tell you that goosebumps do not usually occur on the hairy surface of the genitals , hands or feet .
What is goosebumps used for?
According to experts, piloerection (as it is scientifically known) has a double function that comes from our ancestors:
- Protect us from the cold: contracting the erector villus muscles creates a layer of air around our body that helps maintain body temperature . However, in the case of humans it is not fully effective , since we do not have enough body hair to protect us from low temperatures considerably.
- Respond to intense emotions: the body is wise, so in dangerous situations or that cause us fear, it is on alert (just in case). In the past , the hair standing on end was a response from the body to " intimidate " the opponent (the factor that causes us these strong emotions). However, and although cats continue to carry out this reaction to intimidate today , it is currently not an effective defense method in the case of humans... What's more, currently goosebumps spread associate more with fear , don't you think?
So, from now on, when you experience this involuntary body reaction , don't panic, because it's completely normal! In any case, if you don't want it to develop, try to avoid situations that cause fear , danger or cold stimuli ...