More and more studies are pointing to an increase in benefits in not shaving your pubic hair, even though that goes against the popular norm.

Removing your pubic hair naturally irritates and inflames the hair follicles, leaving microscopic open wounds. Frequent hair removal is necessary to stay smooth, causing regular irritation of the shaved or waxed area. Many doctors say it is not unusual to find patients with boils and abscesses on their genitals from shaving as well as cellulitis, an infection of the scrotum.

Some people trim their pubic hair, others prefer to shave or wax, and most of us just leave it alone. It’s not necessary to remove the hair in this area to keep your body clean; it’s just a personal preference.

Using a sharp razor on such a sensitive part of the body means it’s easy to slip up and hurt yourself. Then there’s the regrowth stage: Shaved hair grows back after a couple of days, and when it does it can be prickly or itchy. This can leave a girl feeling uncomfortable.

Shaving doesn’t make the hair grow back thicker; this is just a myth. However, if you want to keep the area hairless and smooth, you’ll need to invest in good tools such as scissors, razor, shaving cream or gel, and plan on shaving every couple of days.

What does the research say?

But what is surprising is that the research also found 60 percent of women had at least one health complication incurred from pubic hair removal, typically epidermal abrasion (invisible cuts to the skin) and ingrown hairs. It was also shown to cause severe skin irritation, infection, STD.

But there are two caveats that make shaving a bit risky. “If you do remove hair too frequently, you can end up with something called folliculitis, which is an infection of the hair follicle” Dr. Metz says. Ouch! They look like white bumps and can often be caused by bad shaving technique. But don’t be alarmed if it happens to you—folliculitis can be treated with a topical or oral antibiotic.

Another downside to shaving: ingrown pubic hair. This is when hairs regrow by curling back into the skin instead of out of it, causing bumps and irritation. You can stave this off by applying an OTC hydrocortisone cream post-shave to prevent them from popping up.

Every girl is different when it comes to maintaining pubic hair. Like clothing or hairstyle, it’s a matter of individual preference. Some girls don’t do anything with their pubic hair, leaving it to grow naturally. Some girls only remove hair when they’ll be wearing a bathing suit. And some remove hair regularly as part of their beauty routine.No health benefits are associated with removing pubic hair, so choose what feels right for you.

So before you take the pube-free plunge, make sure yo safely groom your own crown jewels. We bet you’ll clean up like royalty.

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