Grooming for Women: Myths & Misconceptions
Women's grooming, it seems, is all about keeping up with the latest trends in beauty and fashion. Chances are that everything you pluck, wax, shave or scrub is based on what you read in a magazine.
Unfortunately, some myths and misconceptions about grooming for women can actually be harmful to their health. Let's debunk them.
Myth: Shaving makes my hair grow thicker.
Reality: Women spend countless hours (and money!) removing body hair. We've all heard the myth that if we shave it, the hair will come back thicker than it was before. This just isn't true. The reality is that hair thickness is predetermined by your DNA.
Women have hair everywhere, and some women appear to have more hair than others because of hair pigmentation. When women hit puberty, the light vellus hair that covers their bodies is replaced in some areas with darker hair called androgenic hair. So you can shave all you want, and it will keep coming back...but removal won't make it thicker.
Myth: Facial hair is caused by a hormonal imbalance.
Reality: Hair is nothing to be ashamed of, and if you want to remove it, go ahead. But it does not mean you have a medical condition. Most often, the hair on a woman's body is just her genetic lot in life. However, women have been so fine-tuned to think something is wrong with them that many think they have a hormonal imbalance, but this just isn't true.
It's true that an increase in facial or body hair can indicate hormonal changes, but it's important to understand that your hormones fluctuate all the time, and at various ages, you might have a more dramatic fluctuation. During this fluctuation, you might discover a couple of new chin hairs, but that's most likely just a natural shift in your hormone levels.
Although this is not due to an imbalance, if you are concerned, schedule an appointment with your physician to discuss the issue.
Myth: Removing pubic hair keeps my vagina clean.
Reality: Balanced pH, not hair removal, keeps your vagina healthy. Removing pubic hair just keeps your skin bare down there. Shaving and waxing pubic hair can cause painful problems, depending on your skin's sensitivity. Waxing can also damage the skin around the hair and cause painful swelling, irritation and bruising. Shaving can cause cuts and ingrown hair, which can lead to painful abscesses if ignored.
This myth all comes down to fashion. For example, female leg shaving became customary during World War II because of a shortage of nylon stockings.
Simply put, removing pubic hair is not something that is essential to good health.
Myth: Douching is important to vaginal health.
Reality: This myth can actually be dangerous. The idea is that after your period, sex or an infection, you should flush your vagina to clean it and reset the pH level. Unfortunately, flushing your vagina with douche, or even water and cleansing agents, actually kills and removes healthy bacteria. According to some experts, douching may actually increase the risk of pushing sexually transmitted infections (STIs) upward toward the fallopian tubes and potentially cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can lead to infertility.
Most medical professionals recommend that women avoid douching completely. The vagina is naturally equipped to clean itself. Your body has its own biome of bacteria that can remove dead skin and kill off bad bacteria, and the whole system regenerates every month.
Myth: It's OK to use mild soap to clean my vagina.
Reality: Please stop using soap on your vaginal area. In fact, unless it's a period product, birth control, a sex toy or a partner's parts, stop putting anything in your vagina.
If you feel you need to use soap to stay clean, you should use only very mild, unscented soap on the outside of your vagina: the vulva, clitoris and labia.
Washing with harsh products, and washing or douching inside your vaginal area, can lead to irritation, bacterial vaginosis or a yeast infection.
Your body actually does a pretty good job of taking care of itself. If you don't like hair, remove it. But know you will have to keep removing it as it grows back. If you want to clean your private area, use very mild, unscented soap and plenty of water. And don't use douche or put anything in your vagina, because it might do more harm than good.
Save your money for female grooming and healthcare products that you really need.