Pubic hair removal is a common practice among men and women. It is often done because it gives you the feeling of cleanliness, less body odor, and better sex appeal. Epilation is the removal of body hair by using an instrument (epilator) to pull out the hair completely from the hair root. It is an effective method for temporary hair removal.
Generally, it is safe to remove pubic hair by using mechanical epilator devices. However, it will be painful, especially for first-time users. If you have sensitive skin, you may have more severe side effects, such as pain, boils, rashes, redness. The pubic region is a sensitive area; hence, it is more prone to pain and bumps. Always check your skin sensitivity by trying the device on other parts of the body before directly using it in the pubic area. Hair longer than about 3 mm should ideally be trimmed before epilating.
Different epilator devices are available. Tweezer-based epilators are less painful and as effective as needle-based epilators. Some epilators may be used with or without water to remove pubic hair. A wet epilator is good to use in the shower because it may lessen the irritation. It is a safe method. However, if the device moves faster or moves in the opposite direction of hair growth, it may break the hair rather than pull it out from the root causing bumpy and painful ingrown hair.
How safe are other methods of pubic hair removal?
Waxing may seem to be reducing the chances of pubic lice. However, it also appears to increase the chances of contracting a sexually transmitted infection (viral hepatitis, gonorrhea, or chlamydia) due to unhygienic practices at the salon or a less skilled therapist. Additionally, heat from hot wax creates an ideal breeding ground for bacteria that may increase your chances of getting infected faster.
Minor complications, such as severe pain, irritation, severe itching, bumps, boils, ingrown hair, and darkening of the skin, are usually seen amongst the women who are removing pubic hair by pulling it out. Other common side effects, such as injury to the pubic area, burns due to hot wax, severe infection with pus formation (staphylococcal infection), may require medical attention (especially if you have diabetes, excessive weight, weak immunity, or other medical problems). Further, it may lead to life-threatening bacterial infection (toxic shock syndrome).
Though most grooming injuries are minor, any injury to your pubic area can make it easier to get a sexually transmitted infection (STIs). Unhygienic pubic hair removal practices may spread STI to other parts of the body or genitals, such as human papillomavirus infection (condylomas), warts, gonorrhea, and chlamydia. It may also reactivate previous herpes infections. If you have weak immunity, diabetes, or other medical issues, it is better to avoid extensive body hair removal or removal of complete pubic hair.
Nevertheless, the beauty industry is growing at an unprecedented rate and more invasive and potentially harmful procedures are increasingly available.
Instead of hair pulling methods for hair removal, shaving and trimming are the most preferable. Shaving or trimming is a widely practiced procedure in hospital settings before surgery. Though sometimes it may cause minor injuries, it is still considered the safest and hygienic if carried out with the right technique and single-use razor.
More women favor complete pubic hair removal than men. Therefore, women report more experiences with side effects after pubic hair removal. Discuss with a gynecologist about your pubic hair removal practices and your preferences for safer results.
How to remove pubic hair at home?
Shaving, trimming or epilators are preferably safe methods for pubic hair removal if you are doing it at home with the right technique. To avoid injuries in the pubic area, dermatologists may recommend the following tips while removing pubic hair at home.
- Stand while trimming/shaving because you are likely to get more injuries if you are lying down during trimming or shaving.
- Trim your pubic hair by yourself to prevent injuries and avoid having it performed by your partner.
- Always check your skin sensitivity on other parts of the body before using an epilator device on the pubic region.
- Follow the instruction and correct method while using an epilator or razor.
- Ensure you are using a fragrance-free and nonallergic product, such as shaving cream.
- Carefully shave with a clean razor with the right technique and absolute focus.
- Apply moisturizer to reduce the dryness that occurs after the removal of hair.
- Avoid sharing your hair removal products with other family members to prevent bacterial, viral, or sexually transmitted infections.
What are the side effects of pubic hair removal?
There are some side effects seen after the removal of pubic hair, which includes
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Glass AS, Bagga HS, Tasian GET, et al. Pubic Hair Grooming Injuries Presenting to U.S. Emergency Departments. Urology. 2012;80: 1187-91. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23040729/
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