Beards are back in style these days, but Americans still don't prefer the hairy hipster look in their pants: 95% of men and 92% of women have shaved, trimmed or waxed their pubic hair. Now, though, doctors are finding that it may increase the odds of contracting herpes, HPV and more infections through sexual contact.
Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the University of Texas at Houston and Tufts Medical Center looked at the latest research and concluded that, "although relatively safe," waxing the bikini (or Speedo) area "can cause microtrauma to the skin and its underlying structures."
That could just cause a harmless temporary burn, but also "causes deficits in the mucocutaneous barrier that may be sufficient for viral entry and transmission, potentially increasing the risk of acquiring sexually transmitted infections." And you thought you were being considerate!
Writing in the American Medical Association's journal of JAMA Dermatology, the researchers note that "pubic hair removal is significantly associated with a greater interest in sex and having a casual sex partner," and want the public to know that "individuals who wax their pubic hair should be informed of this possible risk and perhaps be advised to abstain from sexual activity for a certain period of time after waxing."
A French study last year likewise found that 93% of patients with the STI Molluscum contagiosum had waxed or shaved, and recommended laser hair removal as as safer alternative. Also, explains Vorteil Dermatology of California, "[S]having with a razor blade can increase your risk of sexually transmitted diseases... Compared to a razor blade, an electric trimmer won’t cut the hair as close to the skin and lead to less nicks and cuts."
On the other hand, waxing prevents the spread of crab lice, so based on your method of cleaning up down under, you may be picking more than a hairstyle.