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?
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