LSU CASH’s Workshop Coordinator and volunteer writer, Megan McKone, gives us the low-down on pubic hair.
First off, I just want to expel some major myths about pubic hair. Advertising has conditioned people, women in particular, that to be attractive body hair should be kept to a minimum. I want to be clear that your body is yours and you absolutely are not required to groom yourself in any particular way that is not to your preference. You are the person that must deal with any itching or infections, you are the person that sees yourself naked most often and it is your choice and your choice alone of how you choose to manage your pubic hair.
There are five main ways of maintaining pubic hair: au naturel, shaving, waxing, chemical removal, or laser removal. Many people may choose to just trim their pubic hair or use a combination of these methods.
Pubic hair will not continue to grow indefinitely, it will reach a final length and then it will eventually fall out and a new hair will grow in the lost hair’s place. You can choose to trim your pubic hair using scissors to shorten it or to maintain your bikini line. Whatever suits you. People are often shamed about their body hair and made to believe it is more hygienic to shave it. This is not the case. Pubic hair is there for a reason – it provides warmth and protection against bacteria, sweat and other oils. Pubic hair can help to prevent infections like UTIs, yeast infections and vaginitis. Removing the hair could cause discomfort, itching, infections from any cuts a razor could have caused and ingrown hairs. Pubic hair removal is associated with increased STI risk. Choosing not to remove pubic hair is more beneficial for your sexual health, it is your decision and pubic hair is absolutely not unhygienic.
Shaving does not make hair grow back thicker, fuller, or darker. Different types of hair have different growth cycles, this means that your pubic hair will only last for about a month before it falls out, the hair on your head can sometimes last up to six years before it falls out. This means that your hair will not exponentially keep growing, your pubic hair will grow to a certain length and will not get any longer no matter how long you leave it.
If you do choose to shave and your hair is quite long, it may be beneficial to trim your pubic hair first to avoid clogging your razor. You should also try to use a separate razor for your pubic hair than the one you may use for shaving your legs or underarms, this will help to prevent infections. When shaving it is important to use a lubricant like shaving cream to avoid cutting the skin as much as possible. Try to disinfect your tools, anything that is going near your genitalia should be clean.
Unlike shaving, waxing pulls the hair out at the follicle, again this can cause infections such as folliculitis. Burns are also a common injury from waxing and waxing can increase the risk of infection. Waxing is typically done in salons, if you are waxing yourself, do follow the instructions properly and make sure your waxing strips are specifically meant for pubic hair.
If you are wanting to use a cream to remove pubic hair always do a patch test. Always by a cream that is specifically for pubic hair. The chemical depilatories work by breaking down the hair so it can be easily washed away. Please be aware a lot of people are sensitive to these creams and they could cause allergic reactions, if you apply the cream and your skin feels irritated remove it immediately. These creams should be kept strictly to the bikini line, so they do not enter the vaginal opening.
Laser removal is a more permanent method of removal, but it can take some time before it is fully removed. It can also be quite expensive and can be again done in a salon or at home. If you are someone who avidly waxes, this could be a more cost-effective method for you if you did want to remove the hair completely. Laser removal works by targeting the hair follicle, light pulses are transmitted to destroy the hair at the root so it cannot grow back. Several treatments are needed because the hair grows at different rates.
No matter which method of grooming you choose to use it is your choice alone. You would not want to be with someone who said they did not like you having short hair or dyed hair so you should not want to be with someone who says you should remove your pubic hair. Advertising and society lead us to believe that pubic hair is something to be ashamed of, it is not, pubic hair is normal. Your body is yours and yours alone. You decide.
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Featured header image designed by Christos Alamaniotis.