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Pubic hair make an important part of body’s insulation and protective covering. While some people like to go natural and don’t really trim down, there are others who can’t live a day without shaving those tiny growths every day. In fact, studies indicate that just like body hair, pubic hair removal has become an aesthetic trend among women, irrespective of age, colour and ethnicity.

Bikini wax is not really a new thing, but it is surely catching up with all sects of society. Being hairless is considered to be more clean and sexy. From waxing to trimming to hair removal creams, most hair removal options are available for your pubic hair as well.

But is it really necessary? Do you need to go through all of that fuss to remove something that is natural? After all, there must be a reason they are there right?

Gynaecology experts say that these hair follicles definitely protect your pubic area from infections, but it is also important to maintain hygiene down under, which is easier if you trim them down a bit. Excessive moisture and lack of hygiene make your hair prone to dermatophyte infections (fungal infections of hair) and vaginal yeast infections. This can be easily managed by regular trimming. Also, self-examination of your pubic area and vagina becomes easier with lesser hair.

This article explains all about pubic hair removal, covering some of the concerns, pros and cons of most common hair removal methods to help you chose what is best for you.

  1. Pubic hair removal methods
  2. Permanent hair removal for pubic hair
  3. Doctors for How to safely remove pubic hair for women

Now you know about the importance of maintaining good genital hygiene and just how pubic hair removal can help you achieve that. This section acquaints you with various methods to trim or remove all those excess hair between your legs.

  1. Removing pubic hair with a trimmer or scissors
  2. Shaving pubic hair
  3. Bikini line wax
  4. Bikini line hair removal cream

Removing pubic hair with a trimmer or scissors

Our pubic skin is pretty sensitive and removing pubic hair may seem like a difficult or unsettling task to some, especially if you have never tried it before. But, don’t worry, you can start with snipping them down a bit or trimming them closer, depending on what you are more comfortable with. Just make sure that you use a clean and sterile scissor or trimmer to minimise the chances of infection. Here is how you can safely trim down your pubes without much hassle:

  • Use separate scissors and trimmer to groom your genital hair. This keeps any infection from spreading.
  • Instead of using normal scissors, go for facial hair scissors, which are much safer and have a lesser chance of cutting your pubic skin. Also, you can buy a smaller comb or a moustache comb that might work better in your pubic tresses.
  • Make sure that your scissors and trimmer blade are sharp. A dull blade makes it difficult to work with and it also increases the chances of cuts.
  • Make sure that you have a clear view of hair and scissors while you are cutting away that unruly hair.  
  • Keep the pointed end of the scissor parallel or in a horizontal position instead of facing or pointing downward.
  • It is best that you soak or take a bath beforehand. This would help soften hair and makes it easier to snip or trim them down. You can also gently exfoliate your skin to ensure that there is no clogged up pores or flaky skin that may make it difficult for you to separate your thatch for cutting.

Snipping: Start with a small section of hair from the top and put your fingers between your skin and the hair that need to be removed. The fingers should be placed such that the hair comes out from between, just like you would trim down your head hair. This would make it easier for you to snip out hair while also keeping your skin safe.

Gently move from the top to the sides and then below.

Trimming: If you are thinking of trimming down your pubic hair, it is best that you start with snipping. It is hard to trim longer hair since they may get stuck in the trimmer and take more time. Also, trimming longer hair increases the chances of drain clogs. So, groom those bushes first and then move on to the trimmer. Using a trimmer would cut your hair closer to your skin, which then takes a bit longer to come back.

Again, start from the top and move sidewards and down. Make sure you use a gel or cream to soften hair as it makes it easier to get a closer trim. The best part with a trimmer is that you can decide how close you want to trim it down.

Make sure to buy a waterproof trimmer so you can work on your pubes even in the bath and save yourself all the extra cleaning.

Shaving pubic hair

Shaving is one of the most common and popular methods used by most women who clean their pubes regularly. It is easier, safer and cuts your hair shaft almost to the follicle. Some people worry about a harder hair growth once they have used a razor but that is not usually the case, though you would definitely need to shave them more frequently to keep the pubic skin soft and supple. But then, isn’t that the case with shaving any body part?

Here are some tips to make shaving an easier and safe experience for you:

  • Use a new blade every time you shave and keep a separate razor to clean your pubic area to avoid infections. Avoid sharing razors for the same reason.
  • Shave in the direction of hair growth. Do not forget to use a shaving cream/gel, which makes it easier to shave.
  • To avoid injuries, make sure the razor blade is sharp.
  • Labial skin is soft and can fold easily, making it difficult for you to work with a razor. Go slow and hold a small part of your skin so it is smoother and more available for you to glide a razor over it.
  • For shaving the area near your vagina, go a bit more gentle and slow.
  • If you have long tresses down there, it is better to use scissors before shaving. Also, wash your pubic area with an antibacterial gel to minimise the chances of infection even if you get a cut.

Side effects of shaving pubic hair

  • Razor burns
  • Cuts, which can cause scarring
  • Ingrown hair
  • Higher chances of skin infections which may manifest as rashes, itchy skin and boils
  • Depending on hair type, some people may get prickly hair, since it does not take off hair from the root.

Bikini line wax

Unlike all other temporary methods of hair removal, waxing uproots your hair completely. A usual waxing procedure involves either cold or a hot wax layer that is uniformly applied over the patch of your skin where you want to remove hair. Then, a soft strip of cloth is put over the wax until it sticks properly. Within moments that the wax is cold enough and the cloth is pulled off. This takes out your hair from the follicle along with the wax and is pretty painful. However, waxing lasts much longer and does not need redoing as frequently.

You may be an expert at waxing your arms or feet at home, but your pubic skin is much more sensitive and it is best to leave it to the experts. Make sure that you book your appointment at a trusted salon, which is well known for this service. Further, do not consume alcohol or any kind of pain-relieving medicines before going for a bikini wax. If anything, alcohol makes it more difficult to remove hair since your pore size would be smaller.

Limitations and side effects of waxing pubic hair

Despite being one of the best ways to remove pubic hair, when done improperly, waxing may have the following risks:

  • Excessively hot wax can burn your skin.
  • If the cloth is not removed properly, it can cause skin bleeding or itching. Scraping of the upper layer of skin also leaves it prone to infections
  • If you are suffering from some kind of allergy or skin condition, waxing may worsen the problem.
  • Ingrown hair is yet another downside of improper waxing procedure.
  • Make sure that the salon you are getting your hair waxed from, follows good hygienic practices. Studies indicate that common infectious microbes are found in reused waxes.
  • You can’t really wax your hair unless they have reached a certain growth so you have to wait between two sessions. Not to mention the immense pain of getting your hair stripped out.
  • Folliculitis is yet another condition that can be caused due to waxing. Folliculitis refers to hair follicle infection, which is caused by chemical or physical damage to your hair follicle. Folliculitis can be really painful and cause swelling in the affected area.
  • Do not shave before waxing. It leaves your skin more sensitive.

Bikini line hair removal cream

Hair removal creams are pretty safe and painless when used properly. They break down hair keratin which makes it easier to clean your hair off without using a sharp blade or wax. It does not pull your hair out through the follicle but melts it almost to the follicle. Most hair removal creams and over the counter depilatories can be used as per the prescription on the pack and generally involve applying a thin and even layer of the cream over the hair to be removed. This cream is then left to act for about 5-10 minutes, after which, it is cleaned with a warm washcloth. As it has burned and separated hair from your skin, the cream will take away all your hair along with it. It is a quick method and works on all types of hair. However, before you buy such a cream, make sure to properly read the label. Some creams do not work as good on your pubic area or may be too strong for the sensitive skin down there.

Limitations and side effects of hair removal creams

  • Hair removal creams don’t really remove hair from follicles. It is not as effective as waxing, but it removes more hair than shaving.
  • Though it takes away a bigger part of your hair than shaving, depending on the growth of your hair, you’ll still have to redo it frequently.
  • Some hair removal creams may cause skin burns and rashes, leaving your skin prone to infections.
  • Regular use of such creams may cause hyperpigmentation and skin darkening. This is generally due to an early or delayed type allergic reaction to the chemicals in hair removal creams. (Read more: Home remedies for reducing pigmentation)
  • Using hair removal creams on a broken and abraded skin can cause stinging, itching and burning of the affected area.

The above-mentioned methods can be helpful for maintaining genital hygiene and removing pubic hair regularly. However, if you are looking for a more permanent method of hair removal, you’ll need to visit a dermatologist. Following are the common methodologies that are employed to remove hair permanently.

  1. Electrolysis for pubic hair
  2. Laser hair removal for pubic hair

Electrolysis for pubic hair

This procedure involves the use of a thin needle-like probe that is inserted right near your hair follicle. This probe then introduces a current or chemical inside your hair follicle to melt it down completely. Unlike waxing, which removes hair follicles temporarily, the hair removed by electrolysis doesn’t grow back. Though you may have to take more than one sitting for complete removal, it is certainly more useful than laser treatments as your bikini area does not have a lot of hair.

Side effects of electrolysis

Electrolysis does not have any side effect apart from maybe the fact that your skin would appear red and sensitive for a while after the procedure.

It is important that you check in with an experienced dermatologist since improperly done procedure may cause skin scarring. It can also be painful when not done properly. Moreover, an experienced dermatologist would also take care to use a sterilised needle every time.

Laser hair removal for pubic hair

Laser hair removal method, as the name suggests, uses beams of a laser to damage hair follicles and vaporise your hair. So, don’t be amazed if you see smoke or a feel a sulphur like smell. Unlike electrolysis, this method just reduces hair growth instead of stopping it, though, it would be several months before you notice new hair. This treatment also takes about 2-6 sittings for completion and even when the hair grow back, they are reported to be lighter and sparse. Research studies suggest that laser hair removal is much less costly, and less painful than electrolysis.

Nonetheless, numbing gels are sometimes applied before the procedure to reduce pain and make the treatment more bearable. Though, pain threshold varies depending on your general threshold.

Side effects of laser hair removal

Despite being completely safe, laser hair removal may be associated with some side effects like redness and swelling of the skin which will subside within 1 to 3 days. However, the American Academy of Dermatology lists some other possible but rare side effects of laser surgery, which include:

  • Blisters
  • Scars
  • Herpes simplex infection
  • Boils
  • Skin colour may become light or dark.
  • In some cases, excessive use of numbing agents or creams may cause serious side effects. Do not use such a topical application unless suggested by the dermatologist and only use them within and as per the prescription.

To avoid these side effects, it is best that you avoid using sunscreen or going out in the skin until your dermatologist suggests you so.

Dr. Kavita Singh

Dr. Kavita Singh

Obstetrics & Gynaecology
2 Years of Experience

Dr. Nidhi Bothaju

Dr. Nidhi Bothaju

Obstetrics & Gynaecology
3 Years of Experience

Dr K Supriya

Dr K Supriya

Obstetrics & Gynaecology
4 Years of Experience

Dr. Safeena Akhtar

Dr. Safeena Akhtar

Obstetrics & Gynaecology
4 Years of Experience

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References

  1. Office on women's health [internet]: US Department of Health and Human Services; Body hair
  2. Health and Safety Laboratory. Identification of microbial contamination in body wax samples . Health and Safety Executive 2009. [internet].
  3. Görgü M, Aslan G, Aköz T, Erdoğan B. Comparison of alexandrite laser and electrolysis for hair removal.. 2000 Jan;26(1):37-41. PMID: 10632684
  4. American Academy of Dermatology. Rosemont (IL), US; Laser hair removal
  5. US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) [internet]; Removing Hair Safely
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