Dear Suzy Knew,
I’d like to get a Brazilian bikini wax for my man this Valetine’s Day. But, I’m wondering if I can get a STD from this?
Dear SuzyKnew Reader,
Removing pubic hair (through shaving, waxing, threading, trimming, etc..) is a very common practice. Looking at several surveys, between 70-88% of women and 58-78% of men admit to removing some or all of their pubic hair. Pubic hair removal has also become more extensive over the years- a look through a magazine like Playboy from the 1960’s through the present day will show how dramatically hair has thinned out over time. The Brazilian bikini wax is among the most extensive of the hair removal treatments, removing hair from several areas- most typically the pubis, labia, and anus. This is an increasing popular method of hair removal.
So if everyone is doing it, what’s the big deal? Pubic hair is there for a reason. It acts as a shield to protect the delicate skin of your lady parts from debris and infectious particles. Think of it like your eyelashes. If you removed your eyelashes you could get all kinds of stuff in your eyes. Granted, our lady parts are protected by clothes when we are out in public, but without the protective layer of pubic hair, during sex, at the gym or at the salon, all kinds of unwelcome germs can gain access.
What actually happens when the hair is removed? There is a reason it is painful. When the hair is removed, the skin is traumatized. A small surface layer of your skin gets pulled off with the hair. The follicle also gets inflamed from the mechanical removal of the hair.
Is there risk of infection? Absolutely. And I’m willing to bet most readers have had little bumps, redness, and irritation after hair removal. Those are signs of an infection. Once your skin is irritated, it is vulnerable to whatever germ it comes into contact with- a bacterial skin infection like staph, or even a virus such as molloscum or herpes. Infection can be introduced from poor hygiene practices at the salon, or from a dirty towel, or from sexual contact with irritated skin.
How can you protect yourself? Here are a few tips: 1) Ensure that your salon is licensed by the state in which you live, and that your anesthetist is certified to perform the procedure or treatment you want. 2) Make sure your anesthetist washes his or her hands thoroughly with soap and water. 3) Make sure the salon practices clean care, meaning they do not double dip the wax and you have clean towels.
After your treatment, remember that the area has had micro trauma. Keep it clean, using a mild soap and water with an added antibiotic ointment if you see any irritation. If the irritation is painful or worrisome, call your doctor.
Avoid unprotected sexual activity (rubbing, touching) in the area for a few days and until there is no signs of irritation. That raw skin is an open invitation for any germ, including an STD.
A final word of caution. You should weigh the risks and benefits of extensive hair removal, like a Brazilian, if you have diabetes, liver or kidney disease, or are on immunosuppressant medications. You may be more susceptible to infection and have delays in healing times. In addition, if you have an active viral or bacterial infection on the areas you are requesting hair removal, please, please wait. You do not want to unintentionally spread an infection to others.
So we just need to weigh the risks and benefits of any beauty treatment, right? Choose the path that’s best for you, armed with information to protect your body and your future.
Keep it sexy! Keep it healthy!