If you’re nodding your head yes, perhaps you’re in the large camp of people who have been letting their body hair grow freely without shaving. And we mean not shaving anything, from your legs to your pubic area to your armpits. Whether it’s because you forgot to bring your razor to the land of quarantine or because you just don’t feel like it (or honestly have been doing it for quite some time already), know that dermatologists say that there are actual benefits of not shaving.
“Believe it or not, the hair that’s in our armpits, groin, and legs is actually evolutionarily serving its own helpful purpose,” says Rachel Nazarian, MD, a board-certified dermatologist with Schweiger Dermatology. “Hair prevents skin from irritation when it rubs against itself, protecting from chaffing in many areas of our body, especially in the underarm area. Hair also prevents different pathogens from invading our body, such as in the pubic area.” So she points out that there is no major downside to not shaving, despite it feeling a little different if you’re used to being hairless in these areas.
“Believe it or not, the hair that’s in our armpits, groin, and legs is actually evolutionarily serving its own helpful purpose.” —Rachel Nazarian, MD
“Letting your body hair grow is what nature intended,” says Dr. Nazarian. She adds that you’ll be skipping the risk of irritation from razor blades and razor burn, which are two annoying consequences of regular shaving. “Shaving is much more problematic [than not] because of its risk of causing micro-breaks in the tissue and increasing your risk of infection.”
If you rely on your shaving habit to slough off dead skin cells, know that Dr. Nazarian considers shaving to be a “cheat” exfoliant. “It offers a little bit of exfoliation, but you can always do a scrub or dry brushing to help remove the top layer of dead skin cells that can accumulate,” she says. (That said, she adds that having nicely exfoliated legs only to have them covered by hair might defeat the purpose.)
The only minor issue you could face by letting that body hair grow? “People who have an increased tendency for sweating or hyperhidrosis can have this problem worsened by having additional hair,” says Dr. Nazarian. Her tip for this? “Try to keep the skin cool and dry.” Other than that, enjoy the time you’ll get back in your day that you used to spend shaving.
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