The human body has about 5 million hair follicles. This seems like a huge number, maybe even excessive or useless, but actually, we should give more credit to our hair. You might not know this, but hair has a purpose: it helps regulate body temperature and protect the body from external elements like dirt. Hair is a natural thing to have, and on top of that, it’s very useful. So why continue to invest money and time in removing it, either by pulling it out or using substances and other modern techniques to remove it?

Well, the answer is simple. You don’t have to do this. And to prove it, Bright Side did some research online about the importance of hair and the consequences of modern beauty standards that keep causing us to do things to our body that aren’t necessary.

1. Hair prevents the transmission of bacteria and other pathogens.

The very first thing you need to know is that waxing is a matter of aesthetics and has absolutely nothing to do with hygiene. Hair does not cause or contribute to the spread of any type of disease. On the contrary, it protects you from things of this nature.

For instance, take the hair on our bodies, arms, and legs. These hairs are just one of the many ways our body has to defend itself from unknown threats, like insects. Hair, as a matter of fact, is all connected to tactile receptors on the skin, which allows it to act as a warning tool when some fly or other parasite is trying to use us as a host.

Similarly, nose hair filters out germs that are inhaled through the nostrils so that they won’t be able to reach our lungs. On the other hand, pubic hair protects against infections and diseases. It has been proven that people who shave more frequently and intensely are at greater risk of contracting bacteria, viruses, and other diseases.

2. It also protects your skin against the sun.

According to a study by the American Society for Photobiology, hair provides a barrier against 2 types of rays that we’re in constant contact with and that can prove to be very harmful to our skin. Ultraviolet rays, also known as UVA, and the invisible rays that are part of the energy we receive from the sun, or UVB.

Depending on the density of hair you have, its thickness, and how much melanin you produce, hair will protect you differently. The more dense, thick, and/or dark it is, the more protection you have. That’s why researchers cannot stress enough that human body hair is an important natural defense mechanism against the sun that helps prevent different types of UV-induced skin cancers. However, please keep in mind that this doesn’t mean that if you don’t shave, you don’t have to use sunscreen anymore.

3. You can avoid ingrown hairs.

Ingrown hairs are more common after shaving, but can also appear after epilating, regardless of what hair removal technique is used. Yes, that even includes creams and waxing.

In order to understand why that is, you have to look at how can a hair can even grow inward. It’s actually pretty simple. When hair starts growing again but dead skin is clogging up the follicle, it forces it to grow laterally instead of upward as it normally would. When that happens, our body responds by targeting the hair as if it were a foreign object. That’s when the pain, itching, redness, or swelling starts.

Most often these symptoms go away without requiring any specific treatment. However, if you keep on shaving these hairs, you can make the already sensitive area worse. Same thing goes for scratching or plucking the hairs out: this might just make things worse. All these things can also lead to a skin infection or leave scars on your skin.

4. You can forget about irritated skin.

Waxing can cause mild to severe discomfort. Some of the most common complaints come from the fact that skin is irritated. That often happens when shaving, for example, if you’re working on a single area over and over, or if you shave it too quickly.

Another type of discomfort that comes from epilation is the classic “strawberry legs” we all know too well. If you shave incorrectly with old, dull razors or without shaving cream, the tissue around the hair follicle can become irritated. When the follicle or clogged pore is left exposed after shaving, and air reaches the oil inside, it oxidizes and turns dark. That’s when the famous reddish spots will appear on your legs. In both cases, the best way to treat the affected area is to give it time to heal, and that means not epilating for a while.

5. Your body temperature is better regulated.

When your body is cold, your body hair bristles or forms a sort of layer that helps you retain heat on the epidermis. However, when it’s hot, hairs make it easier for your body to sweat, and that helps us to cool down. That’s why it won’t come as a surprise to say that hair helps regulate your body temperature.

6. You’ll reduce friction.

Armpit hair avoids the friction created by contact between your arm and your body when performing certain common movements, like running or walking, for example. The same applies to pubic hair, as it reduces friction during certain activities.

7. You’ll save time and money.

Most people spend a lot of money every year on shaving or epilating products. Think about the fact that you don’t just buy razors or hair removal creams. You also need foam and many other items to solve issues caused by hair removal in the first place.

According to a study, the average American woman spends more than $10,000 on hair removal related products over a lifetime, regardless of whether she shaves or uses depilatory creams or lotions. For waxing, the number increases to $23,000. The respondents also reported that they lost more than 58 full days while removing hair from their bodies. Can you imagine what you could do with such a big amount of money and time? Maybe you could afford to take a gap year and travel the world, twice.

8. It can be liberating.

To avoid all the problems that come with hair removal, it’s just better to stop doing it. The acceptance of hair on women’s bodies is still, unfortunately, a taboo in many societies, and so not shaving seems like an unorthodox thing to do when it’s actually just natural. Luckily, there are people who have shown their commitment to a new approach by exposing their unshaved armpits, legs, and other parts of their bodies. On the list of celebrities who have done this, we can find huge stars like Sophia Loren, Grace Jones, Julia Roberts, and Madonna, among others.

Today, thanks to social media, body-positive movements have gained momentum. An example of that would be #JanuHairy. These movements are here to vindicate women’s body hair. More and more followers have joined these types of campaigns, because, far from criticizing those who like to use razors, waxes, or other products, they just invite women to experience what it feels like to be comfortable in their own skin regardless of how much hair grows there.

Little by little, waxing or not waxing are both becoming options that people can choose, regardless of the opinion of others. Hopefully, sooner or later body hair will no longer be a cause for shame or social pressure. The creator of the JanuHairy hashtag and official account, in which proud women share their photographs, said during an interview that to stop waxing “is so liberating because it really gets you thinking about the way you treat your body, why you do it, and who you do it for.”

And you, do you think that stopping hair removal can be liberating? Have you said goodbye to razors or creams? Are you seriously thinking of doing it?