THE TRUTH ABOUT MALE BODY HAIR

Your body shaving questions answered

Smooth and sleek or au naturel? That is the question. Lots of men prefer a shaved body – and that isn’t all down to how it looks. But what are the other reasons for taking a razor to the chest, armpits and other areas? We reveal the answers to essential questions on body shaving.

THE SMOOTH TRUTH: YOUR BODY SHAVING QUESTIONS ANSWERED

1. DOES SHAVING PROTECT AGAINST BODY ODOUR?

The simple answer is yes! Underarm hair is a wonderful breeding ground for bacteria, which thrive under the protective cover of hair, boosting the smell of perspiration as a result. But it isn’t the sweat itself that pongs. The bacteria on your skin break down the sweat, which creates the unpleasant stink. The bottom line is this: shaved armpits create fewer bacteria and smell less.

2. DOES BODY HAIR PROTECT AGAINST THE SUN?

Quite the reverse. Small droplets of water and sweat tend to stick to the body hairs and act like a magnifying glass in sunlight. They intensify the rays and make the skin more likely to burn. If that wasn’t enough, thick body hair also makes it difficult to apply a tight layer of sun protection against the skin. So if you have a lot of fuzz, you’ll probably need extra sunscreen, but your protection will still be patchier than your smooth-skinned friends.

3. DOES SHAVING HELP AGAINST TICKS?

It does a bit. Ticks prefer to nest in hairy regions. The more hair their victim has, the more successful the attack. If you’re clean-shaven, it makes it considerably harder for them grip on. So shaving your arms and legs should help to keep the ticks away in future.

4. WHY DO SO MANY ATHLETES SHAVE?

That’s easy – a smooth, hair-free body is a huge competitive advantage for certain sports like boxing, swimming and cycling. From a boxing perspective, a glove is much more likely to slip off smooth, sweaty skin. According to sporting forums, swimmers who shave their legs are 0.06 – 0.07 percent quicker than those who embrace the fuzz. To top it all off, a clean-shaven body is less likely to become inflamed after minor sporting injuries, as there’s no chance of hair getting into the wound.

5. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF BODY HAIR?

Thinking back to the Stone Age when a man’s role was the hunter gatherer, body hair had a range of different purposes: sun protection, keeping warm and proof of sexual maturity. Nowadays, we take care of these things in other ways. Although body hair may help to regulate body temperature during sport by catching sweat and helping it to evaporate, the difference is minimal. So no need to worry about removing unwanted fuzz. But not all body hair is useless– eyelashes and eyebrows still play a vital role, and nose and ear hair can be trimmed but not removed.

6. CAN I HURT MYSELF SHAVING?

It may not sound particularly pleasant, but each sweep of the razor causes micro-lesions in the skin, which can become slightly inflamed. If you shave regularly, your skin becomes accustomed to this, but first-time shavers should watch out for irritation. It’s no surprise that certain spots like the genital zone are considerably more sensitive than places like the legs. But don’t be put off – with the right preparation, tips and care, you can minimise the risks.