If you typically pay a visit to your local beauty salon for a summer bikini wax, but are skipping out this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, there are still ways to groom yourself relatively safely at home.
Women have been removing hair from their bodies since ancient times when the first razor was invented, but the removal of pubic hair has only become fashion-forward in the past few decades.
Gynecologists also warn against practices that rip hair from the skin's follicles due to their potential to cause genital-area skin infections and to remove hair that exists to protect the genitals.
In her new and New York Times best-selling book "The Vagina Bible," gynecologist Dr. Jen Gunter explains why the majority of pubic hair removal methods aren't great for your body, even though it may seem like a bald vulva is cleaner than one with hair.
Methods that remove pubic hair from the follicle it grows out of, like shaving, waxing, and sugaring, can lead to ingrown hairs too because these options can result in part of the hair breaking below the follicle's surface. Then, inflammation from the removal method blocks the hair follicle so the remaining hair bends and grows inside the follicle, leading to what is known as an ingrown hair.
Ingrown hairs can also become infected if bacteria gets stuck in the hair follicle.
Although taking precautions like shaving after your follicles are opened in the shower or prepping your skin with soap or shaving cream may prevent ingrown hairs, there's no way to completely eliminate that risk, Gunter wrote.
Trimming and abstaining from grooming your pubic hair are the only ways to completely prevent inflammation and potential infection, since these two methods don't affect the hair follicle.
"This doesn't mean that you should do it, as my technique has never been studied," Gunter wrote. "I accept that pubic hair removal has risks, but I prefer that it doesn't stick out of my underwear."