How to Care for Your Hair … Down There

#pubichaircare #nytimes #well
Are your products helping, hurting or are at all necessary? Credit Credit Phillipp Arnold/Getty Images

There are several pubic hair products on the market, but they seem to offer a solution to a nonexistent problem.

How do I care for my pubic hair without giving myself a yeast infection? Is there anything I can do besides washing in the shower? I’ve noticed there are now oils and creams on the market, but I am wary based on past experience.

 Franny

[Have a question about women’s health? Ask Dr. Gunter yourself.] 

There is no need for any special pubic hair care regimen. There are several pubic hair care products on the market, but all seem designed as a solution to a nonexistent problem.

How to care or not care for pubic hair has not been studied. We know that removing pubic hair is associated with injuries — burns from hot wax, for example, or lacerations from razors. Infections from injuries or ingrown hairs can also happen. There is also data that suggests pubic hair removal may be associated with an increased risk of transmission of some sexually transmitted infections, or STIs. It is possible that the infection risk rises because the removal of pubic hair creates an easier portal of entry for some bacteria and viruses. It is also possible that pubic hair removal could change the microenvironment of the vulva in a way that reduces natural defense mechanisms. This association between pubic hair removal and STIs could also be correlation and not cause and effect. Basically, we don’t know what we don’t know.

There is no data linking pubic hair grooming of any kind with vaginal yeast infections. Remember, the vagina is inside your body and the areas of the vulva that have pubic hair are on the outside (where clothes touch the skin). The labia minora, the part of the vulva that is closest to the vaginal opening, does not have pubic hair. Biologically, it seems improbable that pubic hair care regimens or removal would contribute to vaginal yeast infections.

Could pubic hair removal contribute to vulvar yeast infections? These infections, much less common than vaginal yeast infections, produce intense external itching as well as redness of the vulva. It is possible that pubic hair removal could, through microtrauma, allow yeast that is normally on the skin to cause a vulvar yeast infection, although this hypothesis has not been studied.

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