Over the past couple of years, decorating your armpit hair has become a thing. But, aside from the aesthetically pleasing aspect of showing off your body hair and possibly embellishing it, you may be wondering: Is armpit hair good for you? Apart from the aforementioned – you'll likely find at least one reason to love your armpit hair, which may have a positive impact on your self-esteem and make you a more all-round body positive person – can growing your armpit hair out really be good for you?
The body hair debate is never ending and there isn't a wrong or right answer; aside from, you should do whatever feels right for you. If this means being as hairless as Richard O'Brien's head in The Crystal Maze, covered from head to toe in lady fuzz, or changing your body hair preferences up on a whim, that's totally fine!
New York Magazine's The Cut reports a theory on why we may have armpit hair, "...according to Jaime Schmidt, founder of Schmidt’s Natural Deodorant, is that armpit hair wicks away sweat from the skin so that it doesn’t spread across the body." This theory makes underarm hair appear rather useful.
Marta Camkiran, esthetician at Haven Spa tells Good Housekeeping that underarm hair has multiple functions, "It reduces friction between the upper and lower arm during vigorous labor or motion, covers exposed parts of the body with vital arteries, and facilitates the release of sex pheromones." So wearing your underarm hair long isn't just an excuse to prettify your look with glitter pits, it actually serves a purpose – a few purposes in fact!
So what about shaving your underarms, is that good or bad for you? Well, according to The Daily Mail, "The risk of breast cancer from anti-perspirants could be heightened by underarm shaving, scientists have warned." Unless you stick to natural deodorants, this is bad news for armpit shaving, anti-perspirant wearers. However, The Daily Mail also reports that, "...cancer charities and cosmetics manufacturers insisted last night there was no proof that the products can cause cancer."
In addition to this, according to WebMD, shaving can cause razor bumps or ingrown hairs. Razor bumps, WebMD reports, cause irritation and pimples, and they might cause scarring. When you look at it in black and white, it makes me wonder why we women continue to shave, aside from the fact it's a societal "norm."
"There's this false association that hairlessness equals cleanliness, but that's not actually true as long as you're clean," Dr. Mona Gohara, associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale University, tells Good Housekeeping. According to Good Housekeeping, as long as you keep your armpits clean by treating your underarm hair the same as you would the hair on your head, "...washing it every day, bacteria will not accumulate and therefore won't cause any bad odors." So the myth of shaving to stay "clean" is just that, a myth.
So if you believe your pits would be better off without shaving nicks, ingrown hairs, and irritation, letting your underarm hair grow free will likely be very good for you indeed!
Images: Isla Murray/Bustle