The Health Benefits Of Not Shaving Your Armpits

There's an old adage about fashion being cyclical. What came and went out of style will be back in again, in due time — and we're not just talking about clothes. Makeup trends, hair-dos, and even the way we keep our body hair are all subject to change with the passing of time. This time around we're seeing a revival of some of Woodstock's famous looks — long locks, bell bottom pants, and a little pop of armpit hair.

How women keep or don't keep their body hair has a long history of public scrutiny. In fact, a 2004 study published in Psychology of Women Quarterly reported that body hair on women elicited a disgust response in both male and female participants. However, much like they did in the 60s and 70s, some modern women have tossed out their razors as a symbol of rebellion against that notion (per Wall Street Journal). Others leave their underarm hair simply because it's their personal preference to do so. Whatever the motivation, there are a few good reasons science supports not shaving your underarms.

The benefits of keeping your underarms hairy

The skin under your arms is quite sensitive, and if running a razor over your underarms is part of your daily beauty regimen then you're putting yourself at risk for skin irritation, ingrown hairs and razor burn, says Healthline. Razors are also home to bacteria that can cause infection if introduced to small knicks, cuts, or rashes.

Despite the widespread acceptance of its removal, body hair exists to serve a purpose. When we let our underarm hair do its thing, it can prevent chafing during physical activity and assist in regulating our body temperature year round (per Insider). Additionally, a 2007 study published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine reports that one of the primary functions of body hair is to release pheromones. The apocrine glands — found solely in the pubic and axillary regions — are predominantly there for the purpose of odor secretion, suggesting that hair develops in those specific areas to release the scent of sexually mature adults.