You really don’t need to remove your pubic hair for any health reasons, sexual or otherwise, other than perhaps decreasing odor from sweat. When it comes down to it, pubic hair grooming is a personal preference.
But it’s definitely something that many people across the sexual, age, culture, and gender spectrums — male, female, and others — have pursued. Whether it’s just trimming the hair right above your penis or vagina, or removing everything from the genital area (testicles, labia, and thighs, too!) everyone has different tastes.
There’s plenty you can try at home to shape or shave your pubic hair, but remember that none of them are permanent.
Unless the hair loss is caused by an underlying medical condition, hair always grow back, even with some of the most aggressive medical treatments. Be ready to make pubic hair removal a routine if you want to keep it up.
Shaving is one of the easiest ways to get rid of hair since you just need a clean razor and some cream or gel.
But you’re more likely to cut yourself and introduce bacteria into the area. Dedicate a razor to your pubic area to minimize the chances of this happening.
Here’s a quick guide to shaving safely:
- Disinfect your razor.
- Wet your pubic hair so it’s easier to cut.
- Choose a natural cream, moisturizer, or gel to lubricate the skin and reduce the chance of irritation or breakouts.
- Hold the skin tight and shave slowly and gently in the direction that your hairs grow.
- Rinse your razor after each swipe.
Also called plucking, tweezing is a little more meticulous and painful than shaving, but also requires fewer materials and can be quicker and less messy if you just want to do a quick trim or shape.
Just be gentle: Yanking hairs out too forcefully or suddenly might injure your skin or hair follicle, which can lead to irritation or infection.
- Disinfect your pair of dedicated pubic hair tweezers.
- Make sure you have good lighting so you don’t miss anything.
- Hold the skin tight, grab the end of the hair between the two tweezer prongs, and gently yank the hair out in the direction that hairs grow.
- Look up and around every few minutes to avoid neck cramps.
Trimming with scissors is a nice, quick way to shape those pubes up. There are fewer potential complications, too, because your scissors typically won’t touch your skin directly.
Here’s how to do it:
- Disinfect your pair of dedicated haircutting shears.
- Make sure your public hair is dry so hairs don’t bunch together.
- Slowly and gently cut hair, one by one or in small clumps, until you’re happy with the results.
- Keep your shears stored somewhere dry and clean.
Depilatories are over-the-counter chemical hair removers that weaken a substance in hair called keratin, causing them to fall out and be easily wiped away. Using them is pretty straightforward — apply the cream to the area you want to remove hair from, wait a few minutes, and wipe the cream and hairs off.
Depilatories are usually sold as creams. They’re generally safe, but they can be full of ingredients that cause allergic reactions or irritation. Use them with caution or talk to a doctor first.
Waxing can be painful but very effective at removing hair for a long period of time by ripping large areas of hair out by the roots. It can also reduce itching as hairs grow back.
Waxing is typically safe to do at home, but it’s best to get it done by a professional. Waxing can also be unbearably painful or cause irritation and infections if you have sensitive skin.
Here’s how to wax yourself:
- Use over-the-counter wax and waxing strips.
- Wash and disinfect the area you’re going to wax.
- Apply warm wax and a waxing strip to the area.
- Firmly but gently rip the strip away from the skin.
Medical hair-removal treatments tend to last longer because they weaken or damage hair follicles themselves rather than just trimming or removing hairs. This ensures that the hair takes much longer to return.
Here are a couple of popular and safe options you might try — as long as you do them at a licensed and well-reviewed facility that specializes in these treatments.
Laser hair removal
In laser removal, a doctor or dermatologist uses a laser device on your bare skin that sends concentrated light down to the hair follicles. Heat from the laser weakens or destroys the hair follicles, keeping the hair from growing back.
You’ll usually need to have several treatments before the hair follicles are damaged enough to stop hair growth for a long period of time. Not all laser devices are approved by the FDA.
The electrolysis method is similar to laser removal, but uses a device called an epilator to send radio frequencies into the skin to damage hair follicles. This treatment treats individual hair follicles, one at a time, unlike lasers which usually treat multiple hair follicles within a designated area.
Like laser removal, it’s not a fully permanent solution. But it’s approved as safe for hair removal by the FDA and may be cheaper than laser removal.
As with any hair removal, pubic hair removal can have some side effects or cause injury if you’re not careful. Side effects of bodyscaping include:
- ingrown hairs or bumpy skin from shaving
- redness and irritation, especially if you have sensitive skin
- allergic reaction from creams or gels
- immune system reactions, like hives, from laser removal or electrolysis
- swelling or inflammation
- cuts or scrapes from blades or wax strips
- infections from bacteria getting in open cuts
- higher risk of certain sexually transmitted infection (STIs), such as molluscum contagiosum
See a doctor if you notice these or any other abnormal symptoms that don’t start healing in a couple days.
No home hair removal method is completely painless, but some are more bearable than others. And your pain tolerance factors into this, too: Some people might wax without batting an eyelash, but others might literally scream at the sensation of hair getting ripped out.
Here’s a quick reference guide to how much relative pain you can expect from each method:
- Shaving: only mildly painful if you cut or scrape yourself
- Tweezing: moderately painful if you pluck too forcefully
- Trimming: not painful at all, unless you accidentally cut or poke your skin
- Depilatories: not painful at all, unless the cream irritates your skin or causes an allergic reaction
- Waxing: depending on pain tolerance, may be anywhere from light pain to very painful
If you have sensitive skin, it’s best to avoid waxing, tweezing, depilatories, and even laser removal or electrolysis, which may be too harsh and cause long-term damage. Trimming or carefully shaving are the best options.
If you have dark skin or pale skin, you may also want to see a specialist who uses tools or treatments that are suited for your melanin. Using treatments that aren’t meant for your skin color may not work or end up causing scarring or color changes that aren’t always treatable.
The materials you need for pubic hair removal are available in most drugstores and some grocery stores, as well as online. Check out these products available on Amazon.
You don’t have to remove or trim pubic hair for any health reasons. It all comes down to personal preference. Some methods may be easier for you than others but there are a number of at-home and professional options you can try if removal is your choice.
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