THE SMOOTH TRUTH: YOUR BODY SHAVING QUESTIONS ANSWERED
1. Does body shaving protect against body odour?
The simple answer is yes, body shaving can help reduce body odour! Underarm hair is a wonderful breeding group for bacteria, which thrive under the protective cover of the body hair, boosting the smell of perspiration as a result. But it isn't the sweat itself that pongs. The bacteria on your skin breaks down the sweat, which creates the unpleasant smell. The bottom line is this: shaved armpits and male body hair 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 body hair and act like a magnifying glass in sunlight. They intensify the sun's 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, and your protection will still be patchier than your smooth-skinned friends. Therefore, body shaving actually helps increase protection against the sun.
3. DOES BODY SHAVING HELP AGAINST TICKS?
A bit. Ticks prefer to nest in hairy regions. The more body hair their victim has, the more successful the attack. If you're clean-shaven, it makes it considerably harder for them to grip on. So shaving your arms and legs should help to keep the ticks away in future.
4. WHY DO SO MANY ATHLETES SHAVE?
For anybody who has watches the Olympics or any kind of competitive sport will know, athletes tend to be prone to body shaving. But why? 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 is no chance of male body hair getting into the wound.
5. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF BODY HAIR?
Back in the Stone Age when men were hunter-gatherers, long before the days of body shaving, body hair had a range of different purposes: from keeping warm to proof of sexual maturity. Nowadays, we take of these things in other ways, and although body hair may help to regulate body temperature during sport by catching sweat and helping it to evaporate, the overall differences are minimal. Therefore there's no need to worry about body shaving to remove the fuzz, if that's your preference. But not all body hair is useless - eyelashes and eyebrows still play a vital role, and nose and eat hair can be trimmed but not removed.
6. CAN I HURT MYSELF BODY 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 shaving body hair in certain sports like the genital zone are considerably more sensitive than places like your legs. But don't be put off - with the right preparation and care, you can minimise the risks.