Pubic hair removal has become more common in recent years. This is likely due to cosmetic concerns as well as the misconception that hair removal is more hygienic. A recent survey study published in JAMA Dermatology reported on the incidence and types of injuries sustained from removing pubic hair. The survey was sent to 7,570 adults, ages 18-65. Almost half of the people contacted declined to take part in the survey. Of the 52.5% who did take part:
- 66.5% of men said they had groomed their pubic hair, and 23.7% said they’d been injured while doing it.
- 85.3% of women had groomed their public hair and 27.1% had been injured.
The most common problems were:
- cuts (61.2%)
- burns (23.0%)
- rash (12.2%)
- infection (9.3%)
This may reflect the types of hair removal methods used. Shaving with a non-electric razor was the most common method (47.5%), followed by electric razor (26.9%), scissors (18.4%) and waxing (2.6%).
For women, those who reported waxing as their main method of hair removal were less likely to have repeated frequent injuries. For men (who were less likely to wax) the type of hair removal method made no difference to injury rate.
Pubic hair grooming frequency and degree of grooming (ie, removing all pubic hair) were independent risk factors for injury. Most of the reported injuries were minor with only 1.4% requiring medical attention.
The study has limitations but suggests that pubic hair removal is not without risk and that development of guidelines for safe practices to minimize the risk of injury are needed.