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Shaving for Young Women
As girls enter adolescence, the hair on their legs begins to thicken and grow darker. They also begin to grow hair in their arm pits and on their pubic area. Hair removal on the legs and under arm is a cultural choice. It can also help to reduce odor in the under arm area and is therefore part of the hygiene of many women. The following tips may help, if you and your daughter decide that she is ready to shave.
- Shaving may be difficult for young women on the autism spectrum due to sensory issues and/or fine motor skills. Be sure to take this into account.
- Identify when it is time to shave. Use photos or pictures to show leg and underarm hair growth and what it looks like when it is "time to shave."
- Have your daughter watch Mom or a sister shave.
- Consider using a Social Story™. Illustrate the story with photos of the steps to complete a shave.
- Begin with an electric razor. For new shavers, these may produce fewer injuries.
- Be sure to spend some time getting used to the sound and the vibration by turning the razor on and off and holding it against the hand and/or arm before trying it on the legs. (Electric razors don't always work well for underarm hair.)
- Teach your daughter how to safely clean the electric razor and how to dispose of the hair.
- If a non-electric razor is preferred, a wide-handled razor may be easier to grasp.
- Allow your daughter to select the shaving cream and choose the scent and texture (gel or cream).
- There are disposable razors with built in lather/cream or a lubrication strip, which may work if your daughter doesn't like to apply gel or cream before shaving.
- Have plenty of supplies on hand.
- Teach your daughter how often to change the razor.
- Address safety issues. Remind your daughter that a razor is sharp and can cause injury if not used appropriately. But let her know that nicks and cuts are to be expected, especially when she is learning to shave.
- Be sure to be explicit about what parts of the body your daughter is to shave. If your daughter needs to remove hair from other parts of the body (for example, eye brows or bikini line), consider using wax. Note that some forms of wax may be too hot for your daughter to stand if she has sensory sensitivities.
- Consider using hair removal cream, but test it on a small section of skin first as some people have reactions to them. Hair removal creams also have strong odor and unusual consistency, which may make them difficult to tolerate.