Women who shave their private parts thinking it is more hygienic are actually putting themselves at greater risk of infection, according to experts.
Not only does the hair stop viruses and bacteria reaching genitalia, it also acts as a cushion for the sensitive labia and vagina.
Dr Vanessa Mackay, from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, told The Independent: "Pubic hair offers a natural barrier to keep things clean, to decrease contact with viruses and bacteria, and to protect the tender skin of the area.
"While protecting against diseases and skin problems, pubic hair prevents foreign particles like dust and pathogenic bacteria from entering the body.
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"Pubic hair also helps to control the moisture of the area which decreases the chances of yeast infections."
The study by JAMA Dermatology also found that women not only groom for 'social events' but also break out the razor when visiting a health care professional because they are "self-conscious about their appearance even in nonsocial settings".
The most common reasons for grooming were hygiene (59% of women surveyed), because they believe it makes their genitals more attractive (31.5%), and because their partner prefers it (21.1%).