As the weather gets warmer and you prepare to hit the beach or travel, at some point you likely think, “I need to shave…” For those of us trying to get our bikini lines hairless so people will be staring at our fly swimsuits and not our pubic hair, we know about booking an appointment for a thorough (and painful) waxing. However, there are other options. There is also shaving, depilatories, electrolysis and laser hair removal. But there are a lot of things to keep in mind before picking a removal option. That includes time spent doing it, money needed for it, possible pain, and, of course, figuring out what will and won’t leave your skin irritated and covered in bumps, or worse, boils.
“Shaving seems to give the most irritation,” said Maria Sophocles, MD, of Women’s Healthcare Princeton in New Jersey. “Waxing is painful acutely but there is less irritation and risk of infection; electrolysis is time-consuming and rarely used in the bikini area; laser is expensive, but because the hair is destroyed not at the skin surface but at the hair follicle, there is a cleaner removal of hair with fewer ‘bumps, boils, irritation’ other than some redness the day of procedure.”
According to Sophocles, laser hair removal definitely is a great option if you’re sick and tired of consistently worrying about hair down there. However, it’s important to note that you won’t be able to show off your results as soon as you would like.
“Laser hair removal requires an avoidance of sun exposure to the area being treated,” Sophocles said. “Unless you can be really good about avoiding sun exposure during summer, it is better to begin laser hair removal of the bikini line in the fall, since results typically take four to six treatments every four to six weeks.”
Another popular hair removal option, using depilatories like Veet and Nair, are inexpensive, not too time-consuming, and aren’t usually painful. But knowing how strong those products are from their power and the smell alone, are they really safe for the skin down there? Sophocles says yes.
“Depilatories are perfectly good options given that they are painless and less expensive than waxing,” she said. “They also leave skin hair-free for longer than shaving but shorter than waxing.” She does say, though, that it’s best to use such products on hair trimmed short and on skin that’s been soaked in warm water.
“Just remember, Nair and others are not for internal use and can cause irritation, especially to delicate areas. Try it on a small area first.”
As previously mentioned about shaving, which is what many of us decide to do down there when we don’t have the time or the money to waste on anything else, irritation is probable–if you’re not using the right products or method.
“If you prefer to shave, using a silicone lubricant like Wet Platinum can be used for a close shave with minimal irritation,” Sophocles said. According to her, it’s your best option for avoiding boils around the crotch area. “Boils in the genital area are commonly a result of an intrusion of bacteria into the micro-cuts, which occur from shaving,” she said. “Since genital areas are more sweaty than many other areas of the body, they are more prone to boils. If you must shave your genital area, shave with, not against the direction of hair growth; do not share razors; do not shave dry skin, but use water and soap or shave cream and do not shave inflamed skin. Boils occur more commonly in overweight, diabetic, or immunocompromised women and men — making shaving even riskier for bacterial infections and boils.”
With that being said, what is your go-to method for removing the hair down there? Keep Sophocles’s advice in mind as you prepare for fun in the sun this summer. If not, you might end up somewhere itching or in pain in the house.