Why It's More Hygienic *Not* to Shave Your Pubic Hair

Science says toss the razor and waxing strips.

More so than ever before, women and men alike are shaving or trimming their pubic hair. But are we thwarting Mother Nature's all-knowingness and possibly paying a dear price in the process? A new study suggest so.

In a survey of 3,316 American women conducted by JAMA Dermatology (opens in new tab), 84% of women said they had groomed their pubic area and 62% had removed *all* the hair down there at least once. But most interesting is the fact that 59% said they did it for "hygiene reasons." (Other reasons included doing it for their partner or because it made them feel sexy.)

Whether you're one for a full-on '70s bush à la Gwyneth Paltrow (opens in new tab) or like things a little more bare, it's your prerogative, but it's important to remember that pubic hair, like Justin Bieber, has a purpose. Since the beginning of (our) time, it has acted as a forest-like shield for our nether regions, catching dust, bacteria, and other pathogens before they enter the body. And getting rid of it not only prevents it from doing its job, but comes with its own set side effects.

"Pubic hair removal naturally irritates and inflames the hair follicles left behind, leaving microscopic open wounds," explains (opens in new tab) Dr. Emily Gibson, MD. "When that irritation is combined with the warm moist environment of the genitals, it becomes a happy culture media for some of the nastiest of bacterial pathogens. Additionally, I've seen cellulitis (soft tissue bacterial infection without abscess) of the scrotum, labia, and penis from spread of bacteria from shaving or from sexual contact with strep or staph bacteria from a partner's skin."

And speaking of contact, it also decreases friction during sex and thus increase the probability of "rug burn" that hairless genitals may be subjected to.

But safeguarding aside, we can't drive this home enough—pubic hair's "dirty" connotation is nothing short of ridiculous and it's time to shake the stigma, because letting it go is natural and ultimately, makes for a healthier vagina. Also because, Fur Pubic Oil, formulated with grape seed, jojoba, and tea tea oil, is f**king awesome (opens in new tab) and we want every excuse to use it.

Fur Oil, $39; furyou.com (opens in new tab).

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Lauren is the former beauty editor at Marie Claire. She love to while away the hours at coffee shops, hunt for vintage clothes, and bask in the rough-and-tumble beauty of NYC. She firmly believes that solitude can be a luxury if you’ve got the right soundtrack—that being the Rolling Stones, of course.