Pubic hair while a normal part of our female anatomy can get annoying and unruly at times. So why do we have pubic hair anyway?
Pubic hair does actually serve some important functions.
- It protects the skin of the vulva which tends to be more sensitive than other parts of our bodies
- It reduces friction during sex or other activities
- It actually protects us from some bacteria – similar to eyelashes and nose hair – it traps dirt, debris, and potentially harmful bacteria. This was probably more important evolutionarily when humans didn’t wear much clothing so this is less of an issue now (unless of course you live in nudist colony).
- The pubic hair follicles produce a substance called sebum which is an oil that actually prevents some bacteria from growing
- Pubic hair also traps pheromones – which are chemicals secreted by our apocrine sweat glands that affect mood and behavior. There are way more apocrine sweat glands in the vulva compared to other parts of the body. The theory is that these pheromones make us more attractive to potential sex partners.
Now armed with all this great information about pubic hair, perhaps you’ll choose to forgo removing it? Or not.
If you still prefer the less hair or no hair version, then shaving, waxing or laser hair removal are your main options.
Shaving is still the most common way to remove pubic hair, mostly because it’s easy, fast and less expensive than other options.
So what’s the downside to shaving? Two words…RAZOR BURN.
For anyone who has had razor burn you know this can be very unpleasant. Razor burn leaves your skin red, irritated, and bumpy.
But avoiding razor burn is simpler than you think. Here are some tips:
1. use a clean sharp razor
2. shave every other day at the most
3. exfoliate before shaving
4. shave in the shower (steam opens the pores and softens hair)
5. don’t shave over the same area twice (or if necessary, shave in the opposite direction)
6. use shaving cream
7. moisturize with hypoallergenic lotion or aloe after shaving
So whether you’re rocking the some hair, no hair or full hair version of you – now you can do it with the knowledge that pubic hair does serve some important functions. And if you still choose to groom – I wish you a razor burn free existence!
XO, Dr. Q
Dr. Quimby is the co-founder of FemEd – a female health education platform that educates females of all ages about their bodies.
She is also a former professor at USC Keck school of Medicine where she led the OBGYN clerkship. She is passionate about education and empowering her patients and her students through knowledge and shared decision making.
She is currently a full time OBGYN at Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles.
Dr. Quimby has received accolades for teaching and leadership. She has been named Top Doctor by both Pasadena and Los Angeles Magazines. She is a regular speaker throughout the community giving talks to both the public and other physicians. She has contributed to LAist, SELF, and several other news media sources.
Her special interests include: preconception counseling and improving sexual health
When she’s not educating the public on all things female health she can be found traveling with her 2 young daughters and ever supportive husband.