BELLINGHAM, Wash. (CBS Seattle) — One doctor is calling for the end to the “war on pubic hair.”

Family physician Emily Gibson made headlines recently for her public assertion that modern women should shy away from the practice of bikini waxing – which she referred to as the “war on pubic hair” – as the practice increases risk of various infections.

“The amount of time, energy, money and emotion both genders spend on abolishing hair from their genitals is astronomical,” said Gibson in an article on “The genital hair removal industry, including medical professionals who advertise their specialty services to those seeking the ‘clean and bare’ look, is exponentially growing.”

Hair removal in the United States cost Americans a whopping $2.1 billion, according to news website The Independent. And not long ago, photographs of young female celebrities leaving little to the imagination were seen on a near-daily basis, the exposed nature of the pictures showing just how prevalent the trend of pubic hair removal has become.

Gibson, who also reportedly serves as the medical director of the health center at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Wash., additionally noted the negative health implications of the practice while explaining the biological purpose of pubic hair.

“Pubic hair does have a purpose, providing cushion against friction that can cause skin abrasion and injury … [its] removal naturally irritates and inflames the hair follicles left behind, leaving microscopic open wounds,” she noted.

The risk also extends to sexually transmitted diseases.

Said Gibson, “Some clinicians are finding that freshly shaved pubic areas and genitals are also more vulnerable to herpes infections due to the microscopic wounds being exposed to virus carried by mouth or genitals. It follows that there may be vulnerability to spread of other [sexually transmitted infections] as well.”

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