Yes, you read that right, we’re talking about female grooming.
Women have been engaged in female grooming for centuries. Female grooming includes many topics so we will address the issue in a two-part blog. This blog will concentrate on the removal of unwanted hair; focusing on pubic hair. Within generations, “fads” or “trends” develop. Women have been removing the upper and lateral aspects of pubic hair for years. However, a recent trend is young women regularly removing all of their pubic hair. Options for removal of unwanted hair include those that are temporary (plucking, waxing, shaving, and chemical or pharmacologic methods) and permanent (electrolysis and laser).
A common way to remove hair is plucking. The fancy word for it is epilation. Plucked hairs can remain absent for approximately six weeks. While inexpensive, this option can be time consuming.
Shaving also is a popular method. It only removes hair down to just below the surface of the skin so growth returns within hours to days. Another option is waxing.
When the wax is pulled off, the trapped hairs are pulled out. Like plucking, visible regrowth doesn’t occur for days to weeks.
Topical agents maybe used to remove unwanted hair, however, the pubic skin is more sensitive. In addition, these agents should not contact any mucous membranes. Chemical products (or depilation agents) dissolve the hair. This technique works for about two weeks. Most depilatories have an unpleasant odor as they contain sulfur. Bleaching is another approach but it is used most commonly for facial hair. Pharmacologic options include Eflornithine, which can reduce hair growth. However, the US Food and Drug Administration has approved it only for removal of facial hair in women.
Laser and electrolysis can also be used, however, they are not perfect tools. These procedures are costly and require many treatments including maintenance. The laser is designed to target the melanin in the hair. Electrolysis is performed by inserting a very fine needle into the hair follicle and applying an electrical current to destroy the follicle (ouch!).
Removal of unwanted hair can lead to side effects of rash, folliculitis (infection of the hair follicles), ingrown hairs, vulvar abscess and razor cuts. To prevent infection keep the area clean and dry. If you are prone to infections or irritation you may need to regularly use an antiseptic solution applied with a cotton pad. Many solutions are available at the drug store. In general, if you use it on your face it should be safe in the pubic area, however, avoid the mucus membranes.
So, ladies before you engage in any type of female grooming realize there are repercussions. In addition, side effects may arise so keep the groomed areas clean and dry. Any signs of infection seek medical attention.
Next week, in part 2 of female grooming I will review body piercing and tattoos. Good luck!
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