Think Twice Before You Shave The Love Below, Physician Says

81 comments
August 7, 2012 ‐ By

The desire to keep pubic hair neat and trim is usually sparked by either the need to keep things intact in a bathing suit (no one wants to get busted out like Samantha did Miranda in Sex and The City) or pressure from one’s sexual partner who prefers his lady simply keeps things polished, has a landing strip, or is as bald as a pre-pubsecnet girl (suspect). Whatever the motivation, family practioner Emily Gibson, MD, says it must stop.

Writing on popular physician blogger Kevin MD’s site, Dr. Gibson explores the origins of the cultural trend, then states plainly “The war on pubic hair must end.

“It is a sadly misconceived war.,” she wrote.  “Long ago surgeons figured out that shaving a body part prior to surgery actually increased rather than decreased surgical site infections.  No matter what expensive and complex weapons are used—razor blades, electric shavers, tweezers, waxing, depilatories,  electrolysis—hair, like crab grass,  always grows back and eventually wins.   In the mean time, the skin suffers the effects of the scorched battlefield.”

Going into the biological justifications for pubic hair, she added:

“Pubic hair removal naturally irritates and inflames the hair follicles left behind, leaving microscopic open wounds.  Rather than suffering a comparison to a bristle brush, frequent hair removal is necessary to stay smooth, causing regular irritation of the shaved or waxed area.  When that irritation is combined with the warm moist environment of the genitals, it becomes a happy culture media for some of the nastiest of bacterial pathogens, namely group A streptococcus, staphylococcus aureus and its recently mutated cousin methicillin resistant staph aureus (MRSA).   There is an increase in staph boils and abscesses, necessitating incisions to drain the infection, resulting in scarring that can be significant.   It is not at all unusual to find pustules and other hair follicle inflammation papules on shaved genitals….

“Some clinicians are finding that freshly shaved pubic areas and genitals are also more vulnerable to herpes infections due to the microscopic wounds being exposed to virus carried by mouth or genitals.   It follows that there may be vulnerability to spread of other STIs as well.

“Pubic hair does have a purpose,  providing cushion against friction that can cause skin abrasion and injury,  protection from bacteria and other unwanted pathogens, and is the visible result of long awaited adolescent hormones, certainly nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about.

I was with Dr. Gibson before I even saw her medical credentials. I always figured pubic hair must be there for a reason, if not, being the evolved creatures we are, our bodies would have done away with it by now. Nothing’s wrong with a little maintenance every now and then I imagine, but making yourself  susceptible to disease and irritation for the sake of keeping up pubic appearances is no bueno.

What’s your take on maintaining or eliminating pubic hair?

Brande Victorian is the news and operations editor for madamenoire.com. Follow her on twitter @Be_Vic.

More on Madame Noire!

More from Styleblazer

More from Mommynoire

MadameNoire Video

Comment Disclaimer: Comments that contain profane or derogatory language, video links or exceed 200 words will require approval by a moderator before appearing in the comment section. XOXO-MN
  • me

    I don’t have any irritation or other problems with shaving down there, and if I got a staph infection i’d be wondering where the hell it came from? I shave every 3 days or everyday if wearing a bikini…

  • H_knight

    “Pubic hair must be there for a reason… Or our bodies would have done away with it.” Like our appendix? Just pointing out a little faulty logic there.

  • Des

    I like to just keep it neat with wax and/or scissors on the sides. Razors irritate my skin and the hair grows back fast anyway. I don’t use razors on my legs either. They have Nair for the bikini line now if only that had it for underarms and I wouldn’t even own a razor.

  • Pingback: Why You Should Stop The War Against Pubic Hair | Married 2 The Blog Presented By BlogXilla

  • Candacey Doris

    I agree with the doctor. If you must shave, just trim that bikini line back.. There’s no need to go all scorched earth down there.

  • TellingItLikeItIs

    One of the other purposes pubic hair serves on a woman is lubrication aid during sex. I’ll go ahead and keep it real. Nothing is more of a turn on for me than when I’m sticking that thing and it’s nice and slimy because of the pubic hair. Furthermore, I am man enough to admit that ain’t nothing like getting that FUNKY “monkey”. You know, nice and tangy. Not offensively stank, just that naturally musky throbbing-and-wanna-be-stuck-deeply kinda “tangy”. But we can’t talk about what’s real up in here, can we? ;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001665451613 Myesha Mee-Mee Baker

    I would rather have a slightly hairy cooch than a cooch filled with bumps boils stubble and razor burn Lol What people don’t realize is that pubic hair is supposed to protect your vagina because it is extremely sensitive to anything you put down there your not even supposed to put soap in there (I still do tho lol) shaving darkens the skin to.I am naturally hairy and I sweat alot so I have to trim weekly.I used alcohol to get rid of razor bumps and I got 3rd degree burns!I laugh at people who think they cleaner because they shave they cooch bare naked you can be clean with hair and you can have bad hygiene with no hair it depends on how you take care of yourself

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001665451613 Myesha Mee-Mee Baker

    I did to but luckily I didn’t have to get surgery.It was huge but it drained on its own.Sorry about your story shaving ain’t no joke!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001665451613 Myesha Mee-Mee Baker

    I trim I used to shave and got a huge cyst the size of a small golf ball inside my labia it was so painful but luckily I soaked in Epsom salt and got rid of it…those small nicks can turn into boils and you can get staph which is also what I had it was horrible I don’t use razors at all down there I just use scissors and wax the sides.DO NOT SHAVE THE COOCH!!!Lol

    • MLS2698

      Now that is what I’m afraid of: labia damage/pain. And the post at the top about losing tissue…..scary.

  • nia

    Umm..sex feels better when theres no hair in the way. I’ll take my chances.

  • http://twitter.com/GGooDei GGooDei

    I shaved once and never will do it again. I burned for a couple of days and also developed a rash. Not sure if it was from the products I used to remove the hair. Friction from the underwear I wore after the shave or as they stated in the article just irritation from the area being exposed. Either way it goes the pum pum area will have her forest until the end of time.

  • brownielocks

    Also, not wearing underwear will help to keep you fresh. I wear slips and skirts, and only wear panties when I’m on my period. No moisture trapped next to the body, no problem…

    • MLS2698

      Uh uhm, that is not natural, and because the v-spot stays moist, we need cotton as a helper.

  • brownielocks

    I am so sorry. truly.

  • Hello_Kitty81

    Personally I hate the hairs down there, I feel more clean that way.

  • HOUSTON

    BUY A MUSTACHE TRIMMER OR CLIPPERS AND CHOP ONCE A MONTH.

  • Mia

    I get professional waxing. I REFUSE to go full on BuckWheat in the pleasure place.

  • Mickey12

    I seen this woman on Oprah show one time talking about how she went in to get a bikini wax; and she ended up having to get her legs amputated. She said the wax stripped off some outer layer skin which caused bacteria to get in.

    • Keira

      One of my friends shaved his pubic area and ended up getting septicemia (bacteria in blood). It’s not worth it at all.

      I know a lot of women will say that it’s cleaner to shave, and this simply isn’t true. Whether you have a full bush or you are completely bare, you actually do need to wash the exterior of your genitals. At work, I have to be present in the room when the male doctor is performing pap smears. Even though I’m standing a good 5 feet away from the woman, I can still smell the strong odor from her pubic region. Almost always, the smelliest ones are shaved. This isn’t because shaving inherently makes you smell bad, but because they think they don’t have to wash that area since they shave.

  • NegRican24

    I don’t wanna look like a baby so i keep a neat triangle down there and wax the rest but i don’t knock the hairier folks. I REALLY hate a bald pubed dude though.

  • customcalendars4u2

    No Hair equals No Odor! However; it is your sugar bowl so do as you may……The irritation I sustain when the hair try’s to grow back is very minimal so I prefer to be bald like Mike Jordan.

  • neema

    the females in my family and i trim have always trimmed down there every month after each menstrual cycle for cultural reasons and also to keep it clean…

  • http://www.facebook.com/nicole.s.perkins Nicole Sandra Perkins

    I have been shaving since i was 17…………I damn sure ain’t about to stop now. It’s cleaner to me. And after having two children my hair growth down there isn’t that bad ( I had two c sections). For me it’s about the feel not looking like a child.

    • Aja

      I think some people on here are missing the point some of us are making when it comes to keeping it trimmed down below. hair and sweat between the legs is awful and trimming
      the hair does help eliminate the ordors

  • beeebeee

    Helll YEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    ““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““`

    Finally It Happened…..I got rid of all my ISHHH from my credit report y’all – I was in a deep Gutta for 5 years. Coudn’t buy sheeet. Just approved for that 25k loan to buy a new CAMAARO!!!
    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    ======================================
    IF YOU STRUGGLING WITH THAT CREDIT HISTORY ISHH, GET RID OF ALL DAT TODAY – CALL THESE PROS AT 877-243-0956 . THEY DO AMAZING WORK AND THEY ARE CHEAP AS FUQQ. GOT RID OF ALL MY SHYYT IN NO TIME.
    ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
    :::::::::::::::::::::::::;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;
    My homegirl was in terrible shape too, and she clean! Gettin a condo right now
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Hit em up-they will help you too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111

    vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvwww
    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  • TellinItLikeItIs

    Ladies. Give it to me hairy ANYDAY! I believe in beholding a woman in whatever natural beauty she has been blessed with. Yep, go ahead and line it up around the bikini line when you are wearing a bathing suit so you are not spilling out, but pop that thing to the side and …BA-BUSH! I’m cool.

    • SISTAHNATURAL

      Well alrighty then! LOL!

  • Jaiah Jaxon

    In the words of a random girl in the bathroom in my dorm “I gotta shave my monkey!” lol not shaving is a no go!

  • caliblaxican

    As a man, I could care less either way, just shoot a little warning beforehand. Also, I think most of us are gettin a lil tired of that whole “pre-pubescent” girl thing. Unless you’re 4’6″, and 85 lbs., with absolutely no curves to speak of or even exaggerate in thought, I hardly think the absence of hair down there is gonna conjure images of pre- or even post-pubescent, teenaged girls. And holding to that same logic, why then do some women want us to keep a shaved chest, face and back? That’s a lil boyish in itself. Do you like lying your head on that teenaged chest? Embracing that boyish back? Or kissing that young man on his cheek on his way out the door, heading for school (work) with his lunch pail in one hand and cup of coffee in the other? Just playin devil’s advocate here….

    • Aja

      I don’t care for men with too much hair on their chest yuck….and back hair is a turn off for me.

      • SISTAHNATURAL

        Yes chile, especially on his back, coming out of his shirt, well damn are you half monkey? Im just sayn’! But what about a man that has hair in and on his ears..EEK EEK…gross….don’t like hairballs in my mouth!

    • Shay

      Well, I’m 22, but I’m 5’0″, 95 lbs and frequently get asked if I’m over 16. So for some of us, the pre-pubescent thing is applicable.

  • Equinox

    I have caught out with bush a few times but alas, I was always clean and the guys never really minded, its just, well, I’m lazy and those two times or so, I honestly thought I wasn’t going to have sex with them.

    Eh. As long as you’re clean and fresh, it’s all systems go.

    • http://www.facebook.com/candice.desouza1 Candice Desouza

      As long as you shower twice a day, your pubic area should be fine, but some folks do not shower daily so I can see why they complain about sweat being trapped in the hair and pubic areas smelling. increase you daily showering if you worried about having a smelly pubic area. showering once a day or three times per week is unclean.

      • Lisa

        Whats wrong with once a day? It all depends on the day I think

  • Mrs.j.cole

    also pubic hair traps smells because the love below tends to sweat don’t nobody wanna walk around smelling like salmon. that’s why you should trim it a little bit

  • http://www.facebook.com/sweeety333 Tina Brown

    Just did my first laser hair removal..its permanent baby and totally worth the money. When I shave I would get ingrown hairs and scars so just decided to get rid of it.

  • me dee

    My husband doesn’t seem to care, but I like to be considerate and not get hair in his mouth.

    • http://www.facebook.com/candice.desouza1 Candice Desouza

      My husband doesn’t care either. He hates the bald eagle look because it’s creepy as an adult.

  • Mrs. Jackson

    “or pressure from one’s sexual partner who prefers his lady simply keeps things polished, has a landing strip, or is as bald as a pre-pubsecnet girl (suspect)”

    Uhh obviously it’s not about looking like a 12 year old lol it’s about the FEEL. Nobody wants rug burn or to come up from eating you out with stray hairs all up in their mouth.

    That said, shaving or waxing anything can cause irritation or possibly infection in extreme cases. Does that mean you walk around with a unibrow, Chewbaca underarms or carpet legs?

    • Aja

      Very well stated LMBO

      • Sher

        Chewbaca underarms or carpet legs; landing strip; looking like a pair of monkey lips; lol ….dead…you all have me rolling on the floor. Very funny post and responses lol!!!!

    • http://www.facebook.com/Princessmommi Karla Wallace

      trim. trim the trim is the key…I too don’t want to look like my 11yr old former self.

    • MLS2698

      A man ” going down there ” can cause some women to get an infection. Throws the Ph off. And buy some floss for those ” stray ” hairs.

  • Mikkalotious

    WOW… I really learned something via this article. Since I was in the military a long time ago… I mean like almost 20yrs… I have kept my area clean shaven completely. I have experienced minor irritations from time to time but, I had no idea it could have developed into something serious as stated above… wow.. I guess I will let a mini fro grow…wow

  • Aja

    I will continue to shave.

  • I’mjustsaying

    I prefer keeping some of my hair there yes…because without it…looks like a pair of monkey lips…and the men who want it hairless….hmm side eye at that…I dont want to look like i haven’t went thru puberty yet…..but the entire infection thing I think its about hygiene …you can get an infection down there whether you have hair or not if you are not cleansing yourself properly…or sleeping with every tom, dyck and harry….

    • MLS2698

      LOL! Monkey Lips……..

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001665451613 Myesha Mee-Mee Baker

      Infection doesn’t just come from bad hygiene it can come from being to clean!I used to literally rub alcohol in my pubes Lmfao and the shaving causes nicks which cause boils which are gross!

  • bigdawgman

    I for one, have never been afraid of a little “NATURE”! lol

  • DamRightIGotIt

    Wherever there is hair, there is sweat. Not everybody wants a hot sweaty smelly cooch.

    • Aja

      I agree especially now that it is hot outside ew…….that smell down there is awful!!!

      I shave with Dove unscented bodywash.

      • Treacle234

        How often do you bathe to have an awful scent down there?

        • Aja

          I seetw have an immature adult amongst us.

          • Treacle234

            You only smell awful down there if you have an infection or do not bathe often.

            • Aja

              I do bathe. nor do I have am infection youa’remmissing the the point good night toddles-:)

    • Mikkalotious

      AMEN!!

    • http://www.facebook.com/candice.desouza1 Candice Desouza

      Agreed where there is hair their is sweat but yet you wash the hair on your head once a month or once a week? SO going around with smelly and dirty scalp is okay. You are crazy.

      • neema

        hair on your head is exposed and can breathe freely hair down there not so much………….

        • Treacle234

          If your hair is under a weave it most certainly cannot breathe.

  • quest

    I don’t keep hair there under my arms or on my legs either. And I use hydrocortisone cream after I shave. That keeps irriation away and this may be TMI but I also put vit.E oil down there everyday…..lol

    • Aja

      I may have to try using hydrocortisone cream after shaving.

    • CaliGirlED

      Vitamin E oil huh? Hmmm…

  • 1micmcna1

    I can see not completely shaving (I like a wide triangle) but not even trimming it up sounds ridiculous. For one, I don’t remember harsh punishments or what have you for not having hair in certain areas of the body when in medical school studying the body and the image issues people have from it. And yes while it has been stated in a few studies that hair actually heightened probability for surgical infections and such, there have also been studies to suggest otherwise and that suggest it is moreso on the overall health system of the person. If you have a strong immune system in the first place then no it won’t do much. Also, it depends on the quality of your hair. Some people have fairly straight pubic hair while others have extremely matted, tangled hair. Hair keeps in odors, as well as traps dust, lent, and moisture moreso than skin which is much worse especially if we are considering the entire pubic area which technically includes the posterior as well. And as for the evolution thing (I’m a Christian and don’t really hold to that even having studied the sciences I find even more incongruencies in the theory), there are things in the human body which serve little to no purpose or serve a purpose which other things do better. For instance the appendix, while not wholly useless as some think, does a job which another organ does much better and is really only there as backup to that organ at this point. And sure while we grow hair there, we grow hair eveywhere on our body (this includes women as they generally do grow facial hair). If you’re going to be afraid to keep it kempt in the “triangle” then the same should be for eveywhere else.

  • http://twitter.com/MadameGigglez Sailor Moon

    Great… Now I have more reasons to not cut my hair down there…. Oh and hair bumps needs to be added to the list.

    • Aja

      If people would use hydrogen peroxide after shaving down there and under arms it helps with irritation.

      • FabienneDesrameaux

        I would rather use dickensons witch hazel. Any irritation and bumps will be gone within a day

        • Aja

          I forgot about witch hazel that is also good to use.

        • SISTAHNATURAL

          That is what I use, whether I shave there, under my arms or my legs…I always apply it after shaving. It works!

          • http://twitter.com/MadameGigglez Bubblez

            okay imma try it.

  • Smacks_hoes

    I’m sorry but I refuse to walk around in a swim suit with a bush of hair peeking out the sides. That’s just not something I plan to ever do.

    • L-Boogie

      I totally agree. A landing strip or something but no full bush.

  • iluvm

    DAMN!!! DAMN!!! DAMN!!! (in my Florida Evans voice!!!)

    • Lisa

      LOL

  • Trisha_B

    Hair is on your legs & armpits for a reason, but women have been waxing & shaving for years. We have eyebrows for a reason, but women have been getting them plucked & tweezed to minimize them & get that perfect arch. But we have not evolved from it. i don’t like hair, unless it’s on my head lol. Some women are more sensitive than others down there. If you don’t wanna shave/wax, but don’t want hair, trim the hair down some. I don’t shave all the time, only when it becomes too much (less irritation). After i shave, i’ve been rubbing non-scented deodorant (saw from a google search lol) on it & don’t get any razor bumps or anything. it’s cosmetic. Do what’s comfortable for you

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1571620163 Edie Dixon

      Yes! I do the same thing! I found a little 99 cents bottle of deodorant and I’ve yet to have any razor bumps. Well, hair bumps, I use a depilatory to remove the hair, I dont “shave” any more…

    • Guest

      Thanks for the tip! Never heard of applying deodorant, but I’ll def be trying this!

  • juliaaa

    *are

  • juliaaa

    so what is the alternatives then?

    • akamissj

      Keeping it! Lol! I personally don’t see the big deal with hair down there anyway, but hey, just one woman’s opinion.

Get the MadameNoire
Newsletter
The best stories sent right to your inbox!
close [x]