Whether you keep it, shave it, wax it, or laser it, you may have wondered what the actual purpose of public hair is. In other words, why do bodies even grow it?
"From an evolutionary perspective, it may have provided protection," Dr. Twogood explains. "Before people wore underwear, pubic hair may have kept dirt and other contaminants away from the genitals."
A recent TikTok video created by Allison Rodgers, MD, an ob-gyn based in Chicago, mentions this idea of protection too, noting that pubic hair helps protect delicate skin, like that of the labia.
Another theory behind pubic hair's original existence is in relation to pheromone signaling. Dr. Twogood says these chemical substances are secreted from hair and sweat glands and may help attract a mate.
Pubic hair may also exist to possibly help ease friction during sex that may occur during skin-on-skin contact. Dr. Twogood says this theory makes sense from an evolutionary perspective, but lubricants make friction less of a concern today.
Now, these hypotheses may explain why pubic hair grows on the body since the beginning of time, but that doesn't mean you need to let it grow if you don't want to.
According to Dr. Twogood, grooming pubic hair isn't known to increase the chances of developing an infection. In other words, removing it in general doesn't necessarily put you at risk for a health issue. "However, the act of removing the hair itself can have risks," Dr. Twogood mentions.
For example, certain hair removal techniques may contribute toward in-grown hairs, cause irritation or discoloration, or inflict cuts. Following expert-approved guides to shaving or waxing at home (or visiting a professional for hair removal and closely following their after-care rules) may help you avoid some of these issues.