male body hair

The Truth About Male Body Hair

Body hair is a changing debate and fashion now. Smooth and sleek or au naturel? This is the question. Lots of men prefer body shaving for no body hair, but that isn't all down to how it looks. But what are the other reasons for taking a razor to the chest, armpits or elsewhere? We reveal the answers to essentials questions on body hair and body shaving. 

THE SMOOTH TRUTH: YOUR BODY SHAVING QUESTIONS ANSWERED

Smooth as the bonnet of a Porsche or thick and furry like a grizzly bear? Every man has their preference when it comes to looking after their body hair. This article will answer a lot of FAQ's regarding the purpose and reason of body hair as well as looking after it.

1. Why do we have body hair?

We may consider ourselves fairly bald when compared to our ape cousins, however the average human is actually covered in around 5 million tiny hair follicles. It is thought that as our prehistoric ancestors evolved from walking on all fours to standing, our dense covering of body hair began to thin out in order to keep us cooler when moving. The main purpose of body hair is to help regulate our temperature in addition to keeping dirt out of our body (in areas such as our eyes and nostrils).

2. DOES SHAVING BODY HAIR PROTECT AGAINST BODY ODOUR?

The simple answer is yes, shaving body hair can help reduce body odour! Underarm hair is a wonderful breeding ground 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: shaving armpits and body hair leads to fewer bacteria and less smell.

3. WHY DO SO MANY ATHLETES SHAVE?

Anybody who watches the Olympics, or any kind of competitive sport, will know that 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.

4. 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. It pays to learn in detail about how to best manscape each particular area of your body.

5. WHAT'S THE BEST WAY TO SHAVE?

Lots of men tend to reach for shower gel or regular shaving foam to shave their body. But facial shaving products quickly wash away under the shower, and not all other products are suitable for the body’s skin. This can make shaving male body hair difficult and lead to nasty skin irritations or shaving rash. Products like the new NIVEA MEN Body Shaving Stick and the NIVEA MEN Body Shaving Gel help to remove unwanted male body hair quickly and effectively.

Again, for each part of your body there is an optimal way to shave, you may not want to shave pubic hair the same way as leg hair as it is in a far more sensitive region. Take a look at our article on manscaping your man parts for a shaving guide to each region of your body. Shaving in the shower is also preferable for some for an easy clean-up and the added benefit of warm water softening the hairs for a more comfortable shave.

6. DOES BODY HAIR PROTECT AGAINST THE SUN?

Quite the reverse. Small droplets of water and sweat tend to stick to body hair and magnify UV light from the sun. 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.

7. WHAT is the purpose OF male 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 think 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 ear hair can be trimmed but not removed.

8. How common is it for men to shave their body hair?

The answer is probably more than you might think. The days have gone by where it was just women taking a razor to their unwanted leg or armpit hair. Much more men are picking up the razor nowadays to shave body hair and for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Personal hygiene and an increased feeling of cleanliness
  • Able to smell better and avoid unpleasant body odour
  • For aesthetic reasons
  • To improve athletic performance

Typically in sports and fitness worlds it is more common for male body hair to be kept in check as it can improve performance and show off hard earned muscle definition. So it total, how much body hair do men have? Well, recent studies have shown that over half of young men are deciding to remove body hair - possibly attributed to reality TV and media promoting smooth muscular physiques as desirable. Although male body hair removal is nothing new, evidence suggests even Ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians were also fans of manscaping.

9. DOES BODY SHAVING HELP AGAINST TICKS?

It certainly doesn't harm. 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.

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