If you’re like most people, you probably made some impulsive hair decisions when you were younger. The ill-fated moment you got razor-crazy or crafty with a pair of scissors might still fill you with dread, but thankfully, hair grows back. There’s one body part, in particular, you should never shave —your eyebrows.
Even now, however, you have to be careful where you focus your hair removal because shaving certain parts of your body can cause lasting damage.
Shaving any part of your eyebrows might seem pretty out there. But it’s more common than you’d think. And that’s unfortunate because the importance of eyebrows is undeniable. They’re not just good for adding to aesthetics—yes. Bold brows have made a comeback—they also serve other important purposes. “Eyebrows have specific evolutionary functions.” says dermatologist Tsippora Shainhouse, MD. Shainhouse explains that eyebrows “help keep sweat and moisture from dripping into your eyes. They trap dirt, dust, and debris to prevent it from falling into your eyes. They help shade your eyes from the sun.”
Additionally, they “frame the face” and “help with non-verbal expression of thoughts and emotions,” Shainhouse says. If you shave too much (or all) of your eyebrows, you could risk losing these benefits.
So, if shaving your eyebrows is so risky, why would anyone go for it? It seems some people are willing to risk it all for style.
“Shave eyebrows can be a way to shape them or style them for a specific look,” says Shainhouse. “It has become trendy to shorten and redirect the tails for a fox-eye look; to shave a fine vertical line about a one-fourth of the way in from the tail end as a design, or to shave them off completely for a blank makeup canvas.”
Some of the finished results do look good, but they’re not worth the potential damage. If you’re even considering taking a razor to your brows, opt for a tweezer or some wax instead.
The One Body Part You Should Never Clean.
Every day when you get in the shower, you likely scrub your body down from head to toe. Of course, it’s key to clean certain crevices on the daily, but somebody parts aren’t meant to be cleaned constantly. In fact, by cleaning your ears, you’re likely doing more harm than good. “Using cotton tip applicators to clean the ear canal not only pushes wax closer to the eardrum, but there is a significant risk of causing minor to severe injury to the ear,” Kris Jatana, MD, an otolaryngologist and senior author of a study on the subject, said in a statement.
The two biggest misconceptions I hear as an otolaryngologist are that the ear canals need to be cleaned in the home setting, and that cotton tip applicators should be used to clean them—both of those are incorrect,” Jatana added. “The ear canals are usually self-cleaning.”
The study, published in The Journal of Pediatrics in 2017, compiled 20 years worth of data from 1990 to 2010 and found that more than 263,000 children under the age of 18 had been admitted to U.S. hospitals for ear injuries as a result of using cotton swabs. Of those hundreds of thousands of injuries, ear cleaning was the most frequently documented cause (73 per cent of recorded injuries).
According to Jatana and his team of researchers, the first time medical concerns were brought up about cotton swabs was in 1972—nearly 50 years after they were first created. This study from the ’70s indicated that there were reports of tympanic membrane perforation (TMP), otitis externa, and cerumen impaction after using cotton swabs. And this created a spur of health officials advising against the use of cotton swabs in the ear canal and manufactured creating warning labels on their products.
Despite this early study and subsequent warnings, people continue to use cotton swabs to clean their ears regularly.
A study from 2011 found that 68 per cent of people still report using cotton swabs in their ear. 96 per cent saying they use them to clean their ear of earwax.
“Nearly all of the patients with cotton-tip applicator (CTA) related ear injuries were treated and released. However, this does not imply that some of the injuries were not serious.” the researchers stated in the 2017 study. “Typically, a retained foreign body in the ear canal causes no complications if removed promptly, but when not removed. The presence of a CTA as a chronic ear foreign body linked to intracranial complications. Including brain abscess and fatal meningitis.” And for the things in your life that could use a scrub.