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Americans are Hurting Themselves in Pursuit of Pretty Pubes

Picture of Nadia Elysse
US Editorial Team Lead
Updated: 24 August 2017
Americans are injuring themselves below the belt in the name of beauty, leading some New York doctors to offer advice on safe pubic hair grooming, and warn against the potential dangers.

A recent survey published in JAMA Dermatology found that 76 percent of Americans groom their pubic hair in some way, and of those more than a quarter said they’d experienced an injury during or after grooming. The most common type of injury was cuts; burns and rashes followed as close seconds. Women groom their pubes more frequently than men. And, as a result, women also report far more injuries.

Other random tidbits researchers learned from the survey? Most people groom themselves while standing. Scissor and razor (both manual and electric) were the most commonly used tools. Wax and laser hair removal, the more costly of the choices, were the least common methods.

“Removing pubic hair has become more popular among men and women,” New York City dermatologist Dr. Michele Green told HealthDay.”I’ve had patients who have tried to wax themselves or tweeze themselves, and infections are common. If you really don’t like your hair, you should consult a specialist.”

Your pubic hair protects you

Fun fact: Your pubic hair is there for a reason. It’s not just for aesthetic. And there are no known health benefits to removing pubic hair. In fact, getting rid of the hair down there has been shown to make you more susceptible to bacterial infections and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

A survey of 7,850 Americans just last year found a direct correlation between pubic hair grooming and STDs. Those who groomed at any frequency (whether weekly, monthly, or just every few months) were at an 80 percent higher risk of STD. Though that survey didn’t go into the potential causal link, researchers speculate that open nicks in the skin may be to blame.

The safest way to groom

Of those who reported injuries while grooming, the majority did so while trying to groom themselves. So, if you’re going to shave or wax, don’t go it alone. Go to a specialist or have a friend or mate help you along.

“Having a partner perform one’s grooming eliminates a self-tactile sensation, which may predispose to injury. Alternatively, a grooming partner may encourage the injured to seek medical attention,’ Dr. Arash Akhavan from The Dermatology and Laser Group in New York told the Daily Mail.