Over the years, there has been a debate about whether shaving pubic hair is safe. Actress Cameron Diaz has supported the notion that hair grows on the pubic region for a reason and so she doesn’t believe pubic hair should be shaved.
However, popular culture seems to disagree with Diaz. Many women’s health magazine articles state that it’s more hygienic, it looks more attractive to your partner and it’s a social norm. Today, spas offer pubic hair removal; there are even different types from which to choose: bikini line, Brazilian and also the ‘Hollywood’. So, here’s the pertinent question ‘is it purely an aesthetic preference or are there health benefits to pubic hair removal?’
What purpose does pubic hair serve?
It reduces friction
The skin around your genital region is sensitive. Pubic hair acts as a way to reduce friction during a number of activities, including sex. Interestingly, pubic hair also keeps your genitals warm, which aids in sexual arousal.
Protection from bacteria
It may sound crazy, but pubic hair actually has the same function as your eyelashes and nose hair: it blocks dirt and other potentially harmful microorganisms from getting on your skin.
Besides the abovementioned purposes, one of the biggest questions is whether or not it’s unhygienic to keep your pubic hair. Let’s put this question to rest – no, it’s not unhygienic, but just like other hair, ensure you wash it regularly.
Dangers of pubic hair removal
In an article published in the Telegraph, gynaecologist, Hugh Byrne offers his views on the dangers of pubic hair removal.
Hair removal can increase the risk of contracting STIs
A study conducted in 2012, suggests that the removal of pubic hair can affect the skin, which allows bacteria to enter your body more easily. Therefore, you’re vulnerable to STIs that are transmitted by skin-to-skin contact (such as HPV). Marie Stopes offers an STI and HIV testing service. It’s always best to know.
Pubic hair removal can cause abscesses
Byrne comments that he has definitely seen an increase in the formation of abscesses caused by bacteria getting into the body due to pubic hair removal
Having said this, as long as you are careful and adhere to safety guidelines, it is not detrimental to your health to shave pubic hair. At the end of the day, it comes down to personal preference.
The Centre for Young Women’s Health provides the following safety guidelines when shaving pubic hair:
- Use a hand mirror so you can see the area you want to shave.
- Trim as much hair as possible before you begin shaving – DON’T use a dull pair of scissors.
- Soak in the tub for at least 5 minutes to soften the skin and pubic hair before you shave.
- Apply shaving cream or gel with aloe vera or another soothing agent (made for women) over all the areas you plan to shave. Reapply as needed.
- Use a new/sharp razor or “bikini” razor – DON’T use a dull blade. Try a razor with a built-in moisturising strip.
- Hold the skin tight with one hand and shave with the other hand. Avoid using too much pressure.
How Marie Stopes can help you
Schedule an appointment at your nearest women wellness clinic if you would like advice about whether or not shaving pubic hair is safe. All of our staff are highly trained and are happy to answer any questions you may have.