Should I Let My Teen Girl Shave Her Legs?

Teenaged girl shaving her legs

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Should I let my teen girl shave her legs? This is a common question that parents of teen and preteen girls have. Is it too early? Isn't the hair going to grow back thicker? Knowing the facts can help you make the decision that is right for you and your teen.

To answer this question, a few issues about shaving have to be addressed: the myths, the medical concerns, and fitting in.

Myths About Shaving

If it is your concern that hair will grow back thicker when shaved, fear not. Hair does not grow back thicker when shaved, although this is a common misconception both parents and their teens may have.

When a hair grows out of the skin, it has a tapered end like a pencil when it is sharpened. When a hair is shaved, that tapered end gets cut off. The lack of a tapered end makes the hair look thicker, just like a pencil shaft may look thicker when unsharpened. If a hair is tweezed, plucked, or waxed, the hair grows back with the tapered end intact. That is why it seems like the hair grows back thinner or finer after it is removed from the root. 

Medical Concerns

There is one common medical concern about teens shaving, which is that your teen may cut herself with the razor. Small nicks and scrapes are not usually more than a small first aid problem, but they can become sites of infection if not treated properly. Make sure that she cleans any cut and covers it with a bandage and antibiotic ointment. If the cut is severe enough, it can leave some pretty significant scarring. Using a sharp blade and being careful when shaving can help to prevent these kinds of cuts. Areas that lie right over a bone are a commonplace that significant cuts happen, so make sure your teen knows to be particularly careful over those areas. Never allow your teen to use anyone else's razor, as infectious diseases can be transmitted that way.

Female Body Hair and Social Pressure

In the United States, women often shave off their leg hair, underarm hair, and some or all of their pubic hair. This is a social norm in many places. It is up to the parent to determine when this is acceptable, but be open to your teen's wishes. It is very important for teens to feel like they fit in, particularly with their friends. Since the risks of shaving are fairly low, as a parent, you can be flexible about this issue. It is important to allow teens to make these sorts of minor decisions for themselves, but for parents to step in on the major ones, like tattoos or alcohol use.

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  1. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Removing Hair Safely. Updated June 30, 2010.