So what’s the deal with body hair?
Is it a “yay” or “Nay”?
Let’s begin with a story.
I was once travelling for 6 weeks to the rural and countryside of New South Wales.
I got all waxed and ready for a smoother-than-a-babies-head holiday. (Pun intended!)
4 weeks went past, and the hair under my armpits became my biggest concern. It was so concerning that I could not even enjoy the rest of the holiday or wear some of the pretty sleeveless clothes that I had packed and all I did was be on the lookout for any of the nearest salons to open.
Shaving did not even come to my mind!
I ended up in a small town for a beautiful new year’s eve by the beach. Could I wear my cozy and relax?? NOOOO!! As I was dressed enough to cover my armpits and inner thighs, and I was so worried about being judged. But later in the evening, I met a whole bunch of lovely ladies with whom I got to share the campfire that night, and as I noticed not many had their arms or faces waxed and, they could not have been any less bothered. I, being the curious one, started conversing about body hair, and actually learned a lot from them. I realized how body shaming and comparing one to the other actually made a person less confident like I had been earlier. The fear of being judged for something as normal as body hair had taken away from me the intention to enjoy my holiday.
This got me thinking about how much time and money we spend clearing up our armpits, and stripping out our pubic hair, and most of the time we do it for societal validation rather than for our own pleasure. Tell me, how much pain have you endured to get that Brazilian before a date?
An unnecessarily high amount, I’m sure. So, lets deconstruct pubes, shall we?
From a physiological point of view, hair in the armpits and the pubic area is natural and is there for a reason, which is to regulate our body temperature and to keep dirt out, much like why animals have fur on them.
Both these areas are prone to moisture, either through sweat or through discharge, and therefore, tends to be a breeding ground for bacteria. This, if unchecked and left uncleaned for long periods, can produce foul smells. Keeping the area clean and probably trimming the hair a little to keep the area hygienic, is probably best practice.
However, in an era driven by social media, the industry of having silky smooth skin has definitely become a profitable one. This industry has benefitted from people’s low self-esteem, money, and pain, and has also played an active part in shaming those who do not remove their body hair.
Remember, body hair is normal and natural, and it does not make you any less beautiful if you choose to keep it.
Saying that, if you choose to remove it, it would be good to be aware of the several ways of removing body hair and their pros and cons.
Before that, please remember:
1. One can shave, trim, epilate, wax, laser, braid, or leave it natural. What you do with your body hair is totally your choice and, there is no right or wrong.
2. The skin and the general area around your genitals and armpits are sensitive, with the skin being much thinner than anywhere else on the body.
3. If you are the parent of teens or children who are going through the process of breaking out into acne or pubic hair, sit them down and have a healthy conversation with them around it so that they don’t grow up into adults who have the same fears that many of us, like me, have grown up harbouring.
Shaving: The cons of shaving are that makes the skin dry and sensitive, prone to cuts, and the stubs are painful when they grow back. Shaving also leads to infection of the tiny hair follicles which could lead to folliculitis. Repeated shaving of the area can lead to pigmentation.
The Pro’s however is that it is cheap, pain-free, and you can do it at your own convenience.
Waxing: Many opt for this option in spite of its painful course. It appears cleaner than shaving and it also appears that the hair is growing back a little slower than shaving. However, they also cause rough stubs and folliculitis when growing back. Some can have pigmentation due to recurrent waxing or inflammation of the area.
Hair removal creams: In my opinion, this is the worst option for hair removal, as they have chemicals that could irritate your skin most of the time, and these chemicals also get absorbed easily through these areas. These creams are not really recommended for genital areas.
Trimming: Trimming is safe. It does not affect the skin. It leaves some hair behind while still doing its job. There is also no risk of folliculitis or pigmentation.
Laser: This is an expensive option, however, if you are someone who is going to spend an enormous amount of money and time doing hair removal in any case, this is your best bet. Not only is it effective with long-term smoothness, but it also does not cause those rough stubs and friction burn. There is also no folliculitis once the follicles are destroyed. It is important, however, to get a good LASER specialist who has a lot of experience in this field of work so as to ensure that you do not get any LASER burns!
Lastly, whatever you do, do it safely and do it for yourself and for the sake of hygiene.
Don’t bow to pressure and fear of judgment and do something that could end up in unnecessary pain or infections.