Of course, there are also some risks that go along with getting a bikini wax. Whenever you put a foreign substance near your genitals -- and add to that the potential of tearing delicate skin -- you're giving bacteria an opportunity to enter your body. Remember, pubic hair is there for a reason: It helps protect sensitive skin and mucous membranes that are otherwise more susceptible to germ invasion.
You may have heard of the Australian woman with diabetes who ended up hospitalized two weeks after a Brazilian wax. During waxing, the woman had some skin pain and bleeding, signaling a skin tear and opening for infection. Because diabetes made her immune system weak, she was unable to fight off the bug that entered her system. When she got to the hospital, she was in pain and had a high fever, swelling, a rash and discharge [source: Dendle, et al, MSNBC: Bikini].
Although her case was extreme, this woman is not the only one to have been hospitalized after a bikini wax. Two women in New Jersey also ended up with infections after Brazilian waxes, and state officials briefly considered banning the procedure [source: MSNBC].
Because people with weakened immune systems, such as those with diabetes, HIV/AIDS or other immuno-compromising diseases, are more susceptible to complications, dermatologists recommend that they not get Brazilian waxes. For most others, the risk is minimal [source: Glamour]. While a serious infection is unlikely, you could develop less severe complications like a scarring, folliculitis or ingrown hairs [source: emedicine]. If you notice signs of skin irritation, monitor yourself and head to the doctor to check on anything that doesn't clear up quickly.
Now that you have the scoop on bikini waxing, it basically up to you to decide if the potential benefits outweigh the risks. Read on for much more information about hair removal techniques.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- Ask Men. "Hair Removal Trends for Men." (Accessed 8/15/09)http://www.askmen.com/fashion/trends_100/103_fashion_men.html
- Barba, Alicia. "Nonlaser Hair Removal Techniques." eMedince. May 28, 2008. (Accessed 08/26/2009). http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1067139-overview
- Carrillo, Sarah. "The Dos and Don'ts of At-Home Waxing." Total Beauty. (Accessed 8/16/09)http://www.totalbeauty.com/content/gallery/p-at-home-waxing
- Cardellino, Carly. "Do bikini waxes spread STDs?" Shape. August, 2009. Findarticles. (Accessed 8/17/09)http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0846/is_/ai_n32429307/
- Dendle, Claire, et al. "Severe Complications of a 'Brazilian' Bikini Wax." Clinical Infectious Diseases. 8/1/07. (Accessed 8/16/08)http://www.labmeeting.com/paper/9174262/dendle-2007-severe-complications-of-a-brazilian-bikini-wax
- Glamour. "Bikini Waxing: Could It Be Dangerous to Your Health?" 3/25/09. (Accessed 8/16/09) http://www.glamour.com/health-fitness/blogs/vitamin-g/2009/03/bikini-waxing-could-it-be-dang.html
- Goins, Liesa. "Fuzz Busters." Women's Health. (Accessed 8/16/09)http://www.womenshealthmag.com/beauty-and-style/shaving-and-waxing-tips?page=2
- Hirsch, Larissa MD. "Hair Removal." Kid's Health. Jan. 2008. (accessed 08/25/2009)http://kidshealth.org/teen/your_body/skin_stuff/hair_removal.html#
- Jaret, Peter. "Locking in that Shaven (or Unshaven) Look." Sept. 29, 2005. (Accessed 9/10/09)http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/29/fashion/thursdaystyles/29skin.html?_r=1&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss
- MSNBC. "N.J. Scraps Plans to Ban Genital Waxing." March. 20, 2009. (Accessed 8/17/09) http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29797548/
- MSNBC. "Ow! Beware of bikini wax mishaps." Aug. 4, 2009. (Accessed 8/17/09) http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31144530/ns/health-womens_health/
- New Zealand Dermatological Society Incorporated. "Waxing." DermNet NZ. Dec. 24, 2007. (Accessed 9/10/09)http://w.dermnetnz.org/procedures/pdf/waxing-dermnetnz.pdf
- Skincare-News. At Home Waxing: An Inexpensive Alternative." 5/20/09. (Accessed 8/16/09)http://www.skincare-news.com/a-5993-at-Home_Waxing_An_Inexpensive_Alternative_.aspx
- Sorgen, Carol. "Intimate Grooming: What You Need to Know." WebMD. (Accessed 8/26/09)http://www.webmd.com/skin-beauty/features/intimate-grooming-what-you-need-know
- University of California, Santa Barbara. "The Brazilian Bikini Wax." SexInfo. 5/31/08. (Accessed 8/25/09)http://www.soc.ucsb.edu/sexinfo/article/the-brazilian-bikini-wax