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Shaving your Pubic Hair
According to a recent survey, a large percentage of US college students
remove some or all of their pubic hair, as does a sizable portion of the rest
of the population. It’s a growing trend that may actually have ancient roots,
as pubic hair removal was thought to have been practiced among women in
ancient Greece, Egypt and Rome.
In modern times, both men and women use a variety of methods (shaving,
waxing, clipping, lasers) to remove pubic hair, and describe various
motivations for doing so.
Among women, the most popular reasons include the belief that it looks
better in a bathing suit, increases feelings of attractiveness, feels more
comfortable and the belief that it’s cleaner.
Ironically, this latter reasoning may be contradictory, as new research
suggests shaving your pubic hair may actually increase your risk of
contracting a sexually transmitted disease (STD) known as molluscum
The Viral STD Risk of Shaving Your Pubic Hair
Shaving or waxing can cause irritation and micro-trauma to your skin that
increases your risk of contracting a viral infection. Researchers of a new
case study observed that the number of cases of molluscum contagiosum have
risen along with rates of pubic hair removal.
To look into the link, they observed 30 patients at a private skin care
clinic in Nice, France, all of whom were infected with the molluscum virus.
Nearly all of them had removed their pubic hair, the vast majority by
shaving, followed by waxing and then clipping.
The finding supports the researchers theory that hairless genitals may
provide an opportunity for sexually transmitted diseases like molluscum to
take hold, with shaving showing the strongest association.
Molluscum contagiosum is spread easily, and the researchers suggested the
virus may have spread primarily through self-infection caused by scratching
skin irritated by shaving.
Other skin issueswere also noted among the study
participants, which may also have been related to the pubic hair removal.
Warts (the researchers suggested shaving your pubic hair may also
increase the risk of genital warts caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV))
Bacterial skin infections
What is Molluscum Contagiosum?
Despite its prevalence, molluscum contagiosum is one of the lesser-known
STDs. A type of pox virus, molluscum is actually most common in children,
although it also affects adults with weakened immune systems and can be
spread through sexual contact. The virus causes firm, pearl-like bumps on the
skin, which, though painless, can become easily red and inflamed.
If the bumps are scratched, the infection spreads easily person-to-person
as well as through contaminated objects. Shaving over the bumps can also
cause the virus to spread. In most cases the infection will resolve within
six to 12 months with no treatment, so keeping your immune system strong is
important. The bumps can also be removed to help prevent spread of the
Other STDs and Infections May Also be Linked to Pubic Hair Removal
Is the spread of viruses like molluscum contagiosum and the human
papillomavirus the only downside to removing your pubic hair, or are there
other consequences? Quite possibly, yes. Last year, a family physician called
for an end to the "war on pubic hair," claiming the practice of removing
pubic hair increases risks of infection and sexually transmitted diseases. As
reported by The Independent:
"As director of the health centre at Western University in Washington
State, US, she has seen the consequences. 'Pubic hair removal naturally
irritates and inflames the hair follicles, leaving microscopic open wounds.
Frequent hair removal is necessary to stay smooth, causing regular irritation
of the shaved or waxed area. When that is combined with the warm, moist
environment of the genitals, it becomes a happy culture media for some of the
nastiest bacterial pathogens.'...
In her practice it is not unusual to find patients with boils and
abscesses on their genitals from shaving as well as cellulitis, an infection
of the scrotum, labia or penis from shaving or from having sex with someone
infected. Herpes is also an increased risk 'due to the microscopic wounds
being exposed to virus carried by mouth or genitals.' 'It follows that there
may be vulnerability to the spread of other sexually transmitted diseases as
well,' she says.
Does Pubic Hair Have a Purpose?
The hairless ideal sought by so many people is in truth both unattainable
and probably not entirely healthful. Body hair will always grow back (even
laser hair removal will only subdue hair growth and thickness by 50 percent
or so with repeated treatments), and each time you remove the hair you're
causing some damage to your skin. Plus, hair does serve important functions,
including in the genital region, such as:
Protection: helping to prevent foreign particles like dust and
pathogenic bacteria from entering your body
Temperature control: hair captures the air surrounding your body to
reduce the loss of heat.
Reduces friction, which prevents skin irritation, abrasion and injury
Promotes touch reception
So there are some arguments for keeping your pubic hair, and it’s likely
that a reduced risk of sexually transmitted infections is one of them. Of
course, the best way to prevent the spread of STDs is to follow safe-sex
practices, or wait to have sex until you’re in a committed relationship.
Then, keep your immune system in tip-top shape,
and it will be better able to fight off any viruses that do come its way. That
said, if you’re in a committed relationship in which the threat of STDs has
been removed, then there is probably little harm in shaving your pubic hair,
if that is your preference. (And there is one potential benefit that we haven’t
discussed: a much lower risk of pubic lice.)
Thank You Dr. Mercola
God Bless Everyone & God Bless The United States of America.
42 S. Sherwood Dr.
Belton, Tx. 76513