It’s common knowledge that when a human is cold, they get goose bumps (usually on their arms).  But do you know what causes goose bumps and what they are?  Let me explain…

It's common logic that you get goose bumps when you are cold or scared... but do you know what causes goose bumps? Find out from...

Goose bumps, aka the “pilomotor reflex,” are part of an automatic response of a mammal’s body.  Part of this reflex’s function is to generate warmth in a cold environment.  “How does it work?” you ask.  The muscle fiber attached to the hair follicle tightens and pulls the hair straight up, which makes the surrounding skin bunch up.  The straightened hair traps a layer of air against the skin which adds insulates the body.

Goose Bumps As A Result Of Fear:

This reflex does not do a lot to help hairless mammals like humans.  However, notice how when a cat is spooked, their hair stands straight up.  This defense mechanism is caused by the pilomotor reflex.  The purpose of the hair standing up is to make the mammal appear to be larger than they are, possibly scaring the attacker away.

Now you know…


Hollee Wood is a professional hairstylist with over 10 years of experience in the hair industry. She loves teaching about the science of hair along with everything else beautiful.

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