Extreme pubic hair removal has been a growing trend over the last decade. Fashions have ranged from the landing strip and Brazilian waxes to going fully bare “down there.” In part, this is a trend driven by the porn industry. There, shaved pubic regions are the norm. This is because pubic hair removal both makes it easier to view the action and makes men look more well endowed. However, in recent years, there has been a small but growing body of research suggesting that shaving, or otherwise removing, pubic hair may not be the best choice for your sexual health.
Shaving Pubic Hair
Shaving pubic hair is easy and can be done at home, but is it safe? If you do it carefully, and always use a new, clean razor, it can be done relatively safely. However, shaving pubic hair is associated with a number of possible negative outcomes. These include:
- Cuts, which may be uncomfortable and can become infected. They may also leave you more susceptible to infection during sex.
- Ingrown hairs, which can also turn into an infection risk
- Cutting open sores and spreading STDs
You should not use the same razor on your pubic hair and anywhere else. That way if you do get infected secretions on the razor, you will limit the amount of spread. The researchers analyzed information from more than 200 female college students who underwent STD testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea, two of the most common STD in U.S. Participants also answered questions about their pubic hair grooming practices. They were considered “extreme groomers” if they reported removal of all pubic hair at least weekly over the past year, or more than six times in the past 30 days.
Waxing Pubic Hair
Waxing pubic hair can be done at home, but it is usually done in a salon. Waxing involves trapping hair in hot wax and then using a sheet of paper or cloth to rip out the hairs. It can be quite painful, but it does tend to last longer than shaving. The skin can become inflamed after waxing. It’s also possible for it to become infected. This may be particularly a risk with salons that do not regularly change out their wax or clean their equipment between clients. Ingrown hairs and torn skin are also risks associated with waxing. If you choose to get your pubic area waxed, you should:
- Make certain your skin is healthy and not burnt (sunburn) or torn
- Try and go with clean skin and hair
- Make certain that the salon changes out their wax between clients and uses clean/new equipment for application.
If pubic hair grooming is important to you or improves your self-image, don’t stress. There isn’t enough evidence out there to suggest you should stop. However, if you want to try to reduce any potential risks of hair removal, there are several things you can do that might it safer. First, you can avoid shaving or waxing right before you have sex. That should give any damage you cause to your skin time to heal. Second, you can avoid shaving or waxing when you have any STD symptoms. This reduces the likelihood of self inoculation. Third, you can make certain to always use a clean razor to shave or choose a waxing salon that is good about proper hygiene.
Another choice that might reduce the risk of hair removal is to trim your pubic hair instead of removing it. Carefully trimming with scissors, avoiding damaging or disturbing the skin, and leaving enough hair intact to reduce skin-to-skin contact with your partner, maybe a safer way to indulge in pubic hair grooming.