Vitality

Your Hair Down There: 5 Ways Your Pubic Hair Affects Your Health

Pubic Hair
Here are five ways pubic hair can impact health. Pixabay, public domain.

Why humans developed pubic hair may be one of the great evolutionary mysteries of our time. One theory holds that it reduces friction by cushioning skin from rubbing against skin. Another suggests that pubic hairs releases pheromones essential to the continuation of our species. No matter the reason we continue to grow hair in our genital areas, it’s important to know how it impacts our health. Here are five interesting facts about our pubes.

Most Women Remove It

Whether it’s for hygiene or beauty, most women remove their pubic hair. In fact, pretty much all women do. Researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch conducted a survey back in 2012 involving 333 women between the ages of 16 and 40. While 87 percent of the women admitted they currently had some or all of their pubic hair removed, the rest said they had done so at least once in the past. Around 60 percent of these surveyed had experienced at least one complication, such as epidermal abrasion or ingrown hairs.

Risks After Removal

Getting rid of pubic hair is completely up to each individual, but it’s worth noting the potential risks. French researchers investigating the sources of a skin infection called Molluscum contagiosum that results in raised bumps or growths, among 30 patients, including 24 men and six women, traced all of the cases back to sexual activity and found that 93 percent of the patients had removed some of their pubic hair.

Shave, Wax, or Trim

There are a variety of different ways both men and women can go about removing pubic hair. The method of removal we choose tends to decide our risk for infection. Among women from that 2012 University of Texas study, 90 percent reported using a razor and shaving cream, 12 percent trimmed, 16 percent used hair-removal cream, and 7 percent waxed. (Some used multiple methods.) Since pubic hair grows at a slant, methods like shaving and waxing do not pull out the full hair. This often results in ingrown hairs and other complications. Trimming is the recommended method since it generally carries less risk.

Weight Influences Risks

Researchers from the same 2012 University of Texas study also discovered that women who were under- or normal-weight were more likely to remove all of their pubic hair compared to overweight or obese women. Unfortunately, overweight women who do decide to remove their pubic hair face a higher risk for health-related complications, including genital infections, abrasions, ingrown hairs, and razor burn.

Some Can’t Get Enough of It

The inability to grow a sufficient amount of pubic hair is a medical disorder known as pubic atrichosis. It’s common among Korean women with Mongolian ancestry, some of whom sign up for hair restoration surgery. An overwhelming number of these women report symptoms of psychological stress because they feel inferior to bushier women. The International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery reported a 62 percent increase in pubic hair transplants between 2012 and 2014.

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