Should You Shave Pubic Hair?

As with many trends in clothes, body shape, and hair styles, there are fashions which come and go in terms of body hair.

The ‘full bush’ of the 1970s, or the completely bare of the 2010s, there seem to be trends for everything, including your pubes. But what is and are there any risks to removing it?

Why Do We Have Pubic Hair?

Pubic hair has a role to play in the body, it helps protect the more fragile tissue of the vulva and helps protect against friction from your underwear and clothes. It also reduces friction during penetrative sex and acts as a barrier, in a similar way to the hair in your nostrils, by trapping dirt and which could cause infection (remember only condoms work to prevent sexually transmitted infections). The hair follicles also produce sebum which prevents bacteria from multiplying and reproducing.

There may be other benefits too. The pubic/groin area contains a lot of apocrine sweat glands which produce pheromones, perhaps there is a role for pubic hair in trapping those pheromones which may then make us more attractive to potential partners. And finally, pubic hair develops at puberty, its presence in the past may have been a visual cue that someone was ready to reproduce, though this certainly wouldn’t and shouldn’t be the case in modern society, given that most girls start developing pubic hair as early as age 8 and boys around age 12.

Why Do People Remove Pubic Hair?

Why indeed! A survey of over 7, 500 people showed that over half of men and women who remove their pubic hair did so for hygiene reasons, though there is no evidence at all to suggest shaving pubic hair offers any hygienic benefits to a person’s nether regions. In the same survey, approximately a third of women groomed their pubic hair because they felt it would make their genitals more attractive to a partner; others groomed for their partner’s or their own personal preference and this may be related to the use of online porn, where most pubic hair removal is commonplace. Although you may have been told it is ‘cleaner’ to remove your pubic hair, it is actually more hygienic to leave it alone.

The hair has a purpose and although it is absolutely your choice whether to groom it or remove it altogether it is important to know the risks involved. Firstly there may be injuries from removing the hair, be that cutting during shaving or burning during procedures such as waxing. Shaving and hair removal can also lead to rashes and skin infections. Ingrown hairs are common after waxing and other hair removal methods, here instead of growing out through the skin, the hair coils in on itself leading to a red bump/spot which can be painful and get infected.

How to Shave Pubic Hair

If you choose to remove your pubic hair by shaving, start by washing the areato help prevent bacteria from spreading. Change your razor blades regularly and clean your razor/scissors before and after use (also don’t use scissors for anything else, cutting the fat off the bacon for example, yikes). If you choose wet shaving is a better option than dry to keep the skin well lubricated with a product such as shaving gel. Shave in the direction in which your hair is growing as opposed to the opposite way as this is likely to cause less irritation. After shaving moisturise the skin with a non-fragranced product to help soothe the skin.

How to Remove Pubic Hair Without Shaving

There are many hair removal options including hair removal creams and laser hair removal which can be permanent, but an age-old favourite is still waxing (if you can get through the pain). If you attend a beautician for waxing, then a clean, new, wooden stick should be used each time it is inserted into the hot wax to prevent transferring bacteria from the skin of one client into the pot of wax which may be used for the next.

When it comes to pubic hair, as with many other health, wellness and fashion trends, it is a case of your body, your choice!