It’s the pits: Celebs skipping shaving, should you?


Miley Cyrus is known for bucking the trends of the mainstream celebrity with her sexually explicit displays and crude gestures. But these days, she seems to be more of a trend setter in the most unlikely of places: Her armpits.

That’s right: As the Associated Press reports, celebs like Madonna and Jemima Kirke of HBO’s “Girls” and others have also been seen skipping the razor to go au naturel, with some even adding a bright hue to their underarm accessory.

But are they onto something? Is there actually a health benefit to not shaving your armpits?

To put it simply, the answer is: yes.

Historically speaking, women didn’t always shave their armpits, and in fact, in many cultures around the world – they still don’t. In America, it wasn’t until 1914, with the introduction of the sleeveless shirt, that going hairless under your arms became a fashionable thing to do. Prior to that, women were usually covered from head to toe.

Over the last century, hair removal has evolved into a booming industry with different methodologies popping up. Aside from the old razor, women can use tweezers, waxing, lasers, electrolysis, over-the-counter and prescription creams — and even hormones – to remove unwanted hair. But not leaving well enough alone can have side effects like razor burn, follicle infections and painful ingrown hairs.

But to really understand the health benefit of having body hair, we need to look at why God put it there in the first place. One working theory is that it helps create friction, which protects us from irritation and skin tags that can result from skin-to-skin contact. Hair creates a natural barrier for sensitive places that can rub against other areas.

But the most popular theory has to do with reproduction. Remember, armpit hair and pubic hair begin to grow during adolescence, peak in our early 20s, before becoming brittle and thinning out as we age. In your armpits, you have sweat glands which are responsible for the production of certain proteins But these same glands are also responsible for the production of pheromones, which are chemical signals created to influence the behavior of the opposite sex, triggering interest and arousal for reproduction. Having heat-retaining hair in your armpits can stimulate those sweat glands, and voila! Well, okay, it’s not that simple, but you get the picture.

So, if you think about it, this may be one of the safer trends celebrities are setting. I still don’t know how much traction this particular trend will gain, but I’d love to hear your comments.

To shave or not to shave: That is the question.