HAIRLESS IS NOT BESTEST! Shaving for summer

4 years ago

An ongoing question topic that the women’s health experts receive from teen girls concerns shaving their entire pubic area.  What is that about???  Well, it seems that from fashion ads or peer pressure girls think they have to be hairless.   

While making their very private fashion statement, teen girls may shave the nether regions completely bald.  It is when the itching and rashes begin that the questions get asked and the concern is conveyed.  A few typical questions are: 1) how long until the itching goes away or 2) what do I do about the bumps and the rash.  Here is what we say to them: 

First, we encourage the girls to speak to their moms about what is going on with their skin.  You never know when an infection may be happening and I don’t want the irritated skin condition to be taken lightly.  Next, we educate by telling them:  The reason you have pubic hair in the first place is to protect this area from sweat and dirt. That’s the same reason why you have eyebrows, to keep sweat and dirt out of your eyes!

Some girls just aren’t certain how much hair to shave and ask us if they should shave the entire pubic area.  We say:  “Most girls and women do shave the part of their pubic hair that shows when they are wearing a bathing suit.  (This is often referred to as a bikini line.) If the hair does not grow outside the bathing suit area but it's so long that it hangs out of your suit, trimming it with a scissor (carefully) is an option.  Shaving the entire pubic area is a personal decision and a matter of preference.  You should know a shaved pubic area might be itchy as it grows back.  Waxing or laser treatments are other ways of removing unwanted hair but usually requires going to a salon or a specialty medical facility.  You can also try a spray or rub-on cream to remove hair, but be careful which areas of your body you use this on.” 

If a girl has already shaved, and is dealing with pubic itch or bumps, she wants to know what happened:  “Razor bumps are created when hair curls and grows back into the skin. The body's immune system recognizes the hair as an intruder and attacks it, creating red, inflamed areas. These red bumps cam easily become infected (therefore the importance of letting mom know).”

Of course, the next piece of info we share is what to do about the bumps: “Treating razor bumps or burn means letting the hair grow without shaving for 3 - 4 weeks. During this time, hair grows enough to actually "spring out" of the hair follicle. 

 Some people find a mild topical corticosteroid cream helps reduce inflammation and pain.  If the rash is severe, a health care professional needs to be contacted about this and perhaps medication will be prescribed.” 

Prevention is the key with razor burn:  “While you can help prevent razor bumps by using warm water to soften the skin and hairs before shaving or shaving right after a shower; applying shaving cream, foam, or gel in the opposite direction of hair growth (usually upward), and then moisturizing the skin, as well as hair, in the direction of hair growth works better.   We also advise that the razor needs to be rinsed thoroughly after each use and blades be replaced often.” 

What is most disturbing to me is when a girl mentions that she is shaving her body because a boy wants her to do that.   I say, let him shave his body bald and see how that looks and feels.  Actually, there are girls (and women) who want a clean-shaven man, and I am not referring to his face.   Shaving takes maintenance and, for some, a level of discomfort.  Fortunately, the shaver matures, hair grows back and life goes on.  


What do you think?? Do you shave it all, do you have a Brazilian wax or are you mother nature and just leave your body hair alone.  Or, as another women’s expert, Mary, expressed, (and I agree) there is a middle place between burly and bald.  Where are you??


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