The idea of shaving hair under the arm or pubic area is one that is received with mixed feelings. Some individuals are of the view that they serve a certain purpose and should never be touched. Others believe that shaving or at least trimming them promotes hygiene. Sampling different opinions Healthxtra came up with the following.
Trimming or completely removing pubic hair has become a custom in many cultures. In many societies today, more women than men shave off their underarm hair regularly for aesthetic reasons, a practice that may be connected to the overall body hair distribution of sexes. Prevalence of this practice varies widely, though. Religious reasons are sometimes cited; in Islamic culture, both men and women practice the removal of underarm hair for reasons of cleanliness. According to Wikipedia, in Islamic societies, removing the pubic hair is a religiously endorsed practice. A preference for hairless genitals is known as acomoclitism. The method of removing hair is called depilation (when removing only the hair above the skin) or epilating (when removing the entire hair). The trimming or removal of body hair by men has recently been popularly referred to as manscaping.
Competitive swimmers remove all body hair, including underarms, to make their bodies more streamlined before taking part in races. It is also common amongst bodybuilders and in erotica for aesthetic reasons.
Effects of shaving
It is a commonly believed myth that shaving hair will cause it to grow thicker over time. There is nothing about the practice of shaving that produces new follicles for hair to grow out of; this myth most likely persists because stubble does not taper like hair that is allowed to grow long and because short hairs feel coarser than longer hairs of the same thickness. However, shaving does increase the likelihood of developing ingrown hairs. Armpit hair removal must be performed more frequently than leg shaving, as underarm hair grows faster than leg hair, and if not done consistently, stubble can appear. The armpit area can darken over a period of time and even with a close shave, a “5 o’clock shadow” may be visible. Because hair under the skin can contribute to a dark appearance of the underarm, waxing, by removing the hair from the root, can effectively reduce this darkness. However, removing armpit hair, whether by shaving or any other method, increases the amount of moisture allowed to cling to the skin and if combined with a disturbed acid mantle caused by the use of most soaps (basic pH), may lead to increased body odour. Alternatively, it can be argued that the hair itself can serve as harborage for odour-causing bacteria and that its removal or trimming increases hygiene, dermatologists say.
According to experts on festivalexperience.com, “Shaving can have numerous side effects, including cuts, abrasions, and irritation. Many side effects can be minimised by using a fresh blade, applying plenty of lubrication, and avoiding pressing down with the razor. A shaving brush can also help. The cosmetic market in most developed consumer economies offers many products to reduce these effects; they commonly dry the affected area, and some also help to lift out the trapped hair(s). Some shavers choose to use only single-blade or wire-wrapped blades that shave farther away from the skin. Others have skin that cannot tolerate razor shaving at all; they use depilatory shaving powders to dissolve hair above the skin’s surface.
Cuts from shaving can bleed for about fifteen minutes (more if the person is haemophilic and/or clot-inhibited by medications such as aspirin). Shaving cuts can be caused by blade movement perpendicular to the blade’s cutting axis or by regular / orthogonal shaving over prominent bumps on the skin (which the blade incises). Common methods used to stop shaving-induced bleeding include: (1) pressing any simple alcohol onto the cut until the bleeding stops (e.g. with a cotton swab); (2) placing a small piece of tissue or toilet paper onto the cut; (3) applying styptic pencils and styptic liquids; and (4) placing a small amount of petroleum jelly on the cut after most of the bleeding has ended (which can stop the bleeding without forming a scab). Shaving in or just after a cold shower can help prevent bleeding as well, because blood flow to the skin is reduced in these conditions due to vasoconstriction caused by the cold water. Ways that may help heal and soothe razor burn also include applying witch hazel, mild salicylic acid solutions, aloe vera gel or cold water.