According to a recent research conducted in Indiana University, about 50% of women from ages 25 to 29 regularly remove all of their pubic hair. It is usually done through waxing which can cause redness, swelling and tenderness or shaving which can cause nicks and cuts. Most people think shaving is the best treatment but it is often accompanied by itching and in some cases can even result to infection. It is a convenient way to remove all pubic hair but it has certain risks. Waxing also causes very small tears in the skin according to Paul Summers, MD who is a gynaecology professor at the prestigious University of Utah. The mini wounds can be used as an entry point for bacteria increasing the risk of infections and STIs like genital warts.
The Dangers of Shaving
Again, shaving comes with several risks like the fact that nicks and cuts are common because it is difficult to see the contours of the pubic area while shaving pubic hair. It is important to use the right shaving product according to Gunter. In a recent study conducted in the University of California in San Francisco, the number of women that visited the emergency room due to vaginal lacerations, skin infections and rashes increased fivefold in an eight year period. What is alarming is that in 80% of the injuries, shaving with a razor is the primary cause.
In a study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, women’s health expert Andrea DeMaria stated that women do not really understand the risks of shaving their pubic hair. This is because they are used to shaving hair in other parts of the body like the legs. The study found that 87% of women admitted to removing some or all of their pubic hair and about 90% used a razor to do it.
Genital Skin is Very Delicate
Most people are not aware that genital skin is extremely delicate especially when compared to the skin found on the legs. Shaving typically causes micro-traumas or tiny in injuries that are invisible to the naked eye. This explains why about 60% of women who shaved their pubic hair said they have experienced a negative effect after doing so and the most common of which are abrasions and ingrown hairs.
The injuries are minor but it cannot really be considered harmless. The skin in the genital region is concentrated with sweat glands which is the reason it is moist and dark. It is an ideal breeding ground for bacteria and virus especially if there are small tears in the skin where they can enter. Thus, the person is a lot more vulnerable to infection after shaving. Also, the risk of getting STIs increases including HPV and herpes.
In a 2013 study regarding Sexually Transmitted Infections, the researchers discovered that shaving the pubic area may increase the risk of getting molluscum contagiosum which is a viral infection that is sexually transmitted. The pubic hair is also a natural barrier to infection according to sexual health experts so shaving doesn’t just cause damage to the delicate skin in the genital area.
What Does This All Mean?
So does this mean that you should throw away your razor for good? According to Emily Gibson, MD who is a renowned author of an online editorial called “The War on Pubic Hair Must End” the answer is yes. She thinks all kinds of hair removal techniques are disruptive in regards to the hair follicles. This can cause inflammation and micro-abrasion of the skin. However, other sexual health experts take a more conservative approach suggesting that women should just be safer when it comes to shaving.
Safe Shaving Tips
- Use an Electric Razor before Shaving – You can also trim your pubic hair first with scissors before shaving, but it would be best to use an electric razor. Taking off your pubic hair using a regular razor can be tough. You also need to make sure that the blades you are using are sterilized to reduce the risk of infection.
- Always Use a Sharp Razor – Old, dull razor causes nicks and cuts. Use a fresh razor every time you are shaving your pubic hair. Moisten the area with warm water before shaving and make sure to shave in accordance with the grain of the hair growth.
- Pat Gently to Dry the Area – There is no hair to protect the delicate skin in the genital region after shaving so you need to be more careful. Avoid rubbing yourself dry and of course you need to make sure to use a clean towel to dry the area after shaving.
- Wear Breathable Panties – After shaving, the natural sweat-control system is compromised so you should wear cotton panties which are breathable. Experts even suggest taking underwear off when you get home and putting it on only when you are about to leave your house.