Dr. Emily Gibson calls for an end to 'war on pubic hair'
Dr. Emily Gibson, a physician, has challenged the "war on pubic hair." The doctor advises against pubic hair removal, saying hair removal often leads to genital boils, abscesses and infections.
According to KevinMD
, Gibson describes the "war on pubic hair" as a "sadly misconceived war." She explains that "Long ago surgeons figured out that shaving a body part prior to surgery actually increased rather than decreased surgical site infections. No matter what expensive and complex weapons are used—razor blades, electric shavers, tweezers, waxing, depilatories, electrolysis—hair, like crab grass, always grows back and eventually wins. In the mean time, the skin suffers the effects of the scorched battlefield."
reports that surgeons are encouraged to leave the crotch area unshaved in preparation for surgical procedures except where it is deemed necessary.
According to The Independent
, the hair removal market is worth $2.1 billion in the US, followed closely by the UK. Gibson, writing in KevinMD
, explains that sociological theories suggest that the booming war on pubic hair has to do with cultural trends associated with bikinis, thongs, fashion trends among actors and actresses and "a desire to return to childhood or even a misguided attempt at hygiene."
reports Gibson said: “Pubic hair does have a purpose, providing a cushion against friction that can cause skin abrasion and injury, and protection from bacteria. It is the visible result of adolescent hormones and certainly nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about.”
Gibson explains that frequent shaving or waxing leaves tiny microscopic wounds on the crotch. Given the tendency of the crotch to hold moisture, harmful bacteria tend to be found around the genitals. Such bacteria may infect wounds caused by shaving and waxing, leading to diseases, including STDs.
The Huffington Post
reports Gibson says removing the hair irritates and inflames the hair follicle resulting in open wounds, boils and abscesses. She writes
: "It is a sadly misconceived war... removing the hair irritates and inflames the hair follicle, resulting in open wounds, boils or abscesses... When that irritation is combined with the warm moist environment of the genitals, it becomes a happy culture medium for some of the nastiest of bacterial pathogens, namely Group A Streptococcus, Staphylococcus aureus and its recently mutated cousin methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). There is an increase in staph boils and abscesses, necessitating incisions to drain the infection, resulting in scarring that can be significant. It is not at all unusual to find pustules and other hair-follicle inflammation papules on shaved genitals."
She continues: "Additionally, I've seen cellulitis (soft-tissue bacterial infection without abscess) of the scrotum, labia and penis as a result of spread of bacteria from shaving or from sexual contact with strep or staph bacteria from a partner's skin... Some clinicians are finding that freshly shaved pubic areas and genitals are also more vulnerable to herpes infections due to the microscopic wounds being exposed to virus carried by mouth or genitals."
The Huffington Post
notes that hair removal services are being patronized increasingly by younger and younger people. July Arcey, assistant manager at the South Miami Uni K Wax Center, told MSNBC
: "Most of them are doing a regular bikini wax... They want to look good in their swimsuits."
As part of the Fourth of July special, Uni K Wax Centers offered 50 percent off on services for girls 15 and younger, The Huffington Post
According to The Inquisitr
, Gibson said: "It is time to declare a truce in the war on pubic hair and allow it to stay right where it belongs.”
But The Inquisitr
comments that it is unlikely that people will accept Gibson's professional advice, especially in the middle of the bikini season.