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Pubic hair removal has serious consequences

Shaving your pubic hair has risks

When was war declared on pubic hair? It must have happened sometime in the last decade because the amount of time, energy, money and emotion both genders spend on abolishing every hair from their genitals is astronomical.

The genital hair removal industry, including medical professionals who advertise their specialty services to those seeking the “clean and bare” look, is exponentially growing.

But why pick on the lowly pubic hair? It has something to do with cultural trends spawned by bikinis and thongs, certain hairless celebrities and a desire to return to childhood

Is it a misguided attempt at hygiene or being more attractive to a partner? Are we so naïve as to be susceptible to fashion trends and biases?

It is a misconceived war. 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] pubic hair, like crab grass, always grows back and eventually wins.

In the meantime, the skin suffers the effects of the scorched battlefield.

Pubic hair removal naturally irritates and inflames the hair follicles left behind, leaving microscopic open wounds. Frequent hair removal is necessary to stay smooth. But it causes 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.

These include roup A streptococcus, staphylococcus aureus and its recently mutated cousin methicillin resistant staph aureus (MRSA).

There’s an increase in staph boils and abscesses. Incisions have to be made 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.

Constant pubic hair removal can cause cellulitis (soft tissue bacterial infection without abscess) of the scrotum, labia and penis from the spread of bacteria from shaving or from sexual contact with strep or staph bacteria from a partner’s skin.

Some clinicians find 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. There may be vulnerability to spread of other STIs as well.

Pubic hair provides a cushion against friction that can cause skin abrasion and injury. It’s the visible result of puberty. Surely something to be celebrated.