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When Brazilians Backfire and Other Close Shave Hazards

When Brazilians Backfire and Other Close Shave Hazards

Cameron Diaz caused a ruckus a while back when she wrote in The Body Book that women should avoid irreversible beauty trends like lasering off their pubic hair. Seems her bikini-wearing Hollywood pals were feeling dissed! But a study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology reveals she was right.

Up to 87% of women admit to some trimming and up to half of twenty-somethings occasionally have it all removed. But many are unaware of the health risks that come from waxing, shaving, lasering or electrolysis in the genital area. Side effects include skin abrasions, ingrown hairs, genital burns from waxing, severe skin irritation and pigmentation changes, vulvar and vaginal irritation and infection. Also, according to another study, shaving removes the physical barrier hair provides and may promote the transmission of sexually transmitted infections.

So what’s the smart way to get bathing suit or bedroom ready? Minimal hair removal is the best bet. If you shave, make sure to use a fresh razor blade, cream skin well before shaving, use a mild alcohol wipe to disinfect the skin afterwards and put coconut oil or zinc oxide on any abrasions.

Considering a spa laser or electrolysis treatment? Don’t. You could get burned or have pigmentation changes. Gonna get zapped anyway? See a dermatologist who’s a trained and certified practitioner. If you insist on waxing, make sure fresh wax is always used and don’t do it too often or for too many seasons -- some docs report that it can trigger an eczema-like condition on labial skin.

Medically reviewed in March 2019.

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