March 25, 2013
Bikini Waxing, STD’s, And Infections: Be Careful How You Groom
Keeping your pubic hair under wraps is a pretty common thing nowadays, but groomers beware. Research links a greater risk of infection to shaving, waxing, and trimming of the nether regions.
Everybody does it, right?
Some women wax while other shave, and it’s not unheard of for some men to groom too. According to info posted by Daily Mail UK, “More than 80 percent of college students in the U.S. remove all or some of their pubic hair.”
While this sounds like good news for all involved, and the stats have even helped eliminate pubic lice, it seems that all is not well with grooming downstairs.
According to French research shared on EurekAlert, “Brazilians” and other types of pubic hair removal may boost viral infection risk. Micro trauma prompted by shaving and scratching might aid spread of Molluscum contagium.”
Well, what is Molluscum contagium, you ask?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explain, “Molluscum contagiosum is caused by a virus and usually causes a mild skin disease. The virus affects only the outer (epithelial) layer of skin and does not circulate throughout the body in healthy people.”
The CDC continues, “The virus that causes molluscum is spread from person to person by touching the affected skin. The virus may also be spread by touching a surface with the virus on it, such as a towel, clothing, or toys. Once someone has the virus, the bumps can spread to other parts of their body by touching or scratching a bump and then touching another part of the body. Molluscum can be spread from one person to another by sexual contact.”
In a nutshell, Molluscum contagiosum is a poxvirus that is relatively common in children and people whose immune systems are compromised by illness or drugs. It usually clears up on its own and does not cause any symptoms other than raised red spots.
The authors of the research “wanted to know if the rise in in the number of such infections was connected to the increasing popularity of pubic hair removal among patients who visited a private skin clinic in Nice, France, between January 2011 and March 2012.”
The research only involved 30 people, 24 men and 6 women who were an average of 29.5 years old, but what they found was that 93 percent of them had some form of pubic hair removal, “with most opting for shaving (70%). Among the rest, it had either been clipped (13%) or waxed (10%).”
In all 30 of the cases, the lesions had appeared in the bikini line area that had been shaved, waxed or trimmed.
While it’s possible to spread Molloscum by self-infection, such as scratching or touching the affected area, the micro trauma caused by shaving may facilitate transmission.
Grooming has its benefits, sure, and this is in no way an attempt to curb its popularity; it’s an attempt to spread the word (and hopefully not the virus).
I suppose you’ve got to weigh the odds next time you’re in the shower with your razor or pulling up to the spa for your appointment. Do I risk a (typically) harmless virus that usually goes away by itself, or do I groom and fight the good fight against pubic lice?
Image Credit: @erics / Shutterstock