According to a new U.S. study, women who shave their bikini lines risk complications like infections, burns, severe itching, rashes and cuts.
Researchers found that 87 percent of women remove some or all of their pubic hair. The study found that the majority used razors, while the rest received a bikini wax at least once.
About 60 percent of the women admitted to experiencing at least one complication, including epidermal abrasions, ingrown hairs, bruises or allergies. Overweight and obese women were twice as likely to experience complications and three times more likely if they removed all of their pubic hair rather than some.
Researchers gave questionnaires about pubic hair removal to 333 women, aged 16 to 40, who received care at two publicly funded Texas Gulf Coast clinics from April to June 2012.
The study found that only 4 percent of the women had seen a healthcare provider about complications related to pubic hair removal. Similarly, only 4 percent had discussed how to safely remove their pubic hair with a healthcare professional.
Researchers also discovered that black and Hispanic women were less likely than white women to report complications.
Only 44 percent of the women said they used to remove their pubic hair but stopped, despite complications. However, the most common reason for stopping pubic hair removal, cited by 41 percent, was disliking side effects like stubble, bumps, rashes and ingrown hairs.
About 25 percent stopped because the hair removal was too much of a hassle, 11.4 percent due to lack of sexual activity, 7.1 percent because they liked the look of pubic hair, 4.2 percent because they became pregnant and 2.4 percent because their partner wanted them to stop.
Andrea DeMaria, lead researcher from the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Women’s Health at the University of Texas Medical Branch, said in the study report that women should seek professional advice about safe pubic hair removal.
“Minor complications commonly occur as a result of pubic hair removal,” DeMaria said in the report, published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology. “Gynecological visits could provide a safe environment for women to discuss pubic hair removal practices.”
Previous studies have found that bikini waxing increases the risk of contracting STIs, since pubic hair removal lessens membrane barriers, allowing viruses and bacteria to enter the body.
The study also found that self-waxing kits could cause burns that require split skin grafting.
Waxing isn’t all bad though. An Australian study found that waxing could help get rid of pubic lice.
If you or someone you know would like to learn more about hair removal, please feel free to schedule a consultation or contact one of our representatives today!