Is it safe to shave your pubic hair? Here’s what doctors had to say

Since going through puberty, one of the most obvious changes you’ve probably noticed is the appearance of pubic hair (aka the hair down there). You might be embarrassed of it peeking out during bathing suit season. Or maybe you just want to remove it because you think that’s the “right thing to do, which, please note, it totally isn’t. Removing pubic hair is a personal decision, and if you want to do it, that’s your choice. If you don’t, also your choice.

But is shaving your pubic hair a safe thing to do? We asked OB/GYN and Women’s Health Expert Dr. Jessica Shepherd and clinical professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences at the Yale University School of Medicine Dr. Mary Jane Minkin.

Dr. Minkin told us that, although "there is no biological reason to remove pubic hair," shaving down there is a safe option for removal, as long as you're doing it correctly. "The major concern with shaving is cutting oneself — but as long as you don't get cut, there's not much harm," Dr. Minkin said.

The best way to avoid those cuts is to use a sharp, high-quality razor and shave in the direction of hair growth. Dr. Shepherd notes that shaving with warm to hot water and body wash “softens the hair follicle,” which helps to get a closer shave.

Dr. Shepherd also recommends using a sulfate-free cleanser: “One that has mild coconut cleansers with hydrating oils like apricot kernel and coconut oils. Try SweetSpot Labs Gentle Wash in the shower. It contains panthenol, an ingredient that acts as a humectant and is able to lock in moisture not only for skin but also the hair, leaving both feeling silky soft.”

Of course, like anything else, shaving your pubic hair comes with pros and cons. Dr. Shepherd notes that shaving is one of the least expensive ways to remove hair, it’s easy to learn how to do, and it’s definitely not as painful as waxing.

The cons of shaving are pretty self-explanatory. It’s fairly easy to nick yourself (especially if you’re using a dull razor), and sometimes razor burn and ingrown hairs can make your downstairs itchy, which isn’t very fun. So, if you’re not about feeling any discomfort, leaving your bush where it is is perfectly fine.

In fact, Dr. Minkin points out that her main concern about women shaving their pubic hair is that the act of doing so can negatively affect a woman’s self-image.

Dr. Minkin told us that pubic hair removal draws the attention to the labia. "It allows women to spend a lot of time looking at other women's vulvas and deciding that their vulva and labia aren't 'normal,'" Dr. Minkin said. She continued, "Almost all labia and vulvas are normal — there is a huge variation. But a lot of young women come in requesting plastic surgery to their labia which is 99+% totally unnecessary, and as a surgeon, I always discourage unnecessary surgery."

And if you want more incentive to keep your pubes around, Dr. Shepherd told us that there are some serious health benefits to rocking a bush. She told HelloGiggles,

“Pubic hair is there for a reason and provides a cushion against friction, keeps bacteria from entering the vagina and causing any vaginal or urinary infections, and also decrease the risk of STD transmission. So feel free to keep the hair and not feel pressured to remove hair from your pelvic region.”

Shave, trim, or go au naturale — it’s completely up to you. The most important thing is to not let society or the media influence what you think you should do to your pubic hair. They’re your pubes after all. Do with them what you will.

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