I decided to shave most of the hair on my body (aside from my head) theother day to assess whether it would help me move forward. Here's whatI've learned.
Shaving is initially difficult
Trimming almost 23 years of hair from my body was much more difficultthan clearing my face. Often, large tufts of hair would peel off easily,but considerable stubble would be left afterwards; i'd then have to takea second pass with much more pressure and focus with the PhillipsOneBlade shaver I used.
It's possible that a different or disposable razor would have been moreeffective than a vibrating one. I'm opposed to the waste that disposablerazors require, but I'll consider using my more substantial razor in thefuture. Something that doesn't require electricity might be beneficial;slightly wet skin seems to be easier to shave than dry skin, potentiallybecause friction against the skin is reduced without preventing the hairfrom being cut.
Flaws in my skin are far more plain. More than one friend of minenoticed the large scar on my left leg after shaving. Though the scar waseasily visible otherwise, it may have been obscured by the texture andcolor of the brown hair on my leg. Now that this is no longer the case,the large seam and considerable discoloration on my leg around the scarseem to stand out much more.
To this end, it's far easier to monitor freckles, sun damage, and otherpotential flaws on my skin without hair in the way. I look forward tocontinuing to leverage this visibility in the coming months to improvemy skincare routine to remove small blemishes and acne as well as evenmy skin tone. How I will approach this is to be determined, but I willcertainly be vetting some skincare papers and updating these notes withmy findings.
Overall my skin is far more sensitive. I think that I noticefluctuations in temperature more precisely than I did before, and thetextures that my skin makes contact with are far more obvious. I'm gladI didn't opt for the cheap bedsheets this year - I don't know if I'dhave enjoyed them with bare skin. Of vague concern is losing somesensitivity to touch overall because I'm more exposed in general - butI'm not certain that my body will accomodate in this way, as it hasn'tso far.
I wouldn't say that the environment is necessarily more stimulating,though - previously, the friction of the hair itself was supplying somestimulation to my skin, but all of the stimulation now comes fromwhatever my skin is in contact with. This implicitly increasesawareness of sensitivity but not sensitivity itself, I believe, asthere is no more noise filter masking my skin from having someexperiences.
I experience friction against my skin in a slightly different way. Priorto shaving, brushing my skin against itself was a bit of a coarseexperience - my body hair would feel a bit 'rough' against itself - butI didn't feel any real friction.
Without this hair, bodily movement - particularly around the armpitarea - feels much smoother most of the time, but there are particularmovements involving lots of skin-to-skin contact that seem to cause myskin to stick to itself a bit - creating friction from skin to skinwithout the padding of hair to help reduce this.
Fortunately, shaven skin makes other processes far easier. Soap andsunscreen can be applied seamlessly - I no longer have to scrub them inand mitigate clumps of sunscreen in my hair, as there is nothing for thesunscreen to clump around. This significantly accelerates the process ofshowering, applying sunscreen and otherwise cleaning myself. Despite thetime investment necessary to maintain a clean-shaven body, given howmuch more seamless other processes involving my skin have become, Ibelieve that I'm actually saving time.
Shaving was an overall good decision. It's made me aware of minor flawsin my skin that I can now work to help rectify, and experiencingadditional sensitivity gives me more information about my world, whichis generally good! Maybe I'll be able to estimate temperature moreaccurately. Visually, it also reduces the noise that my skin has, whichleaves room for more tattoos or outfits with far more detail. I'mlooking forward to investigating.