Is there an ongoing war against pubic hair? According to Emily Gibson, a family physician and medical director of the health center at Western Washington University, the answer is yes - and the result of this battle with the bush is a public safety risk.
As CBS reports today, drawing from a recent post on KevinMD.com, Gibson says pubic hair removal can lead to an increased risk of sexually transmitted disease and various infections, due to the tiny, microscopic wounds left on the nether regions of those on the frontlines of the war on pubic hair.
As the CBS story notes:
"The amount of time, energy, money and emotion both genders spend on abolishing hair from their genitals is astronomical," said Gibson in an article on KevinMD.com. "The genital hair removal industry, including medical professionals who advertise their specialty services to those seeking the 'clean and bare' look, is exponentially growing."
"Pubic hair does have a purpose, providing cushion against friction that can cause skin abrasion and injury ... [its] removal naturally irritates and inflames the hair follicles left behind, leaving microscopic open wounds," [Gibson] noted.
In her KevinMD.com post, Gibson goes into more detail:
Pubic hair removal naturally irritates and inflames the hair follicles left behind, leaving microscopic open wounds. Rather than suffering a comparison to a bristle brush, frequent hair removal is necessary to stay smooth, causing regular irritation of the shaved or waxed area. 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, namely group A streptococcus, staphylococcus aureus and its recently mutated cousin methicillin resistant staph 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.
The CBS story indicates hair removal in the United States costs Americans $2.1 billion, though it doesn't specify what length of time that figure comes from.