So, you’ve decided to tidy up your pubic hair, either by trimming it or removing it altogether. But where to begin? Do you go for at-home removal methods, such as shaving or tweezing? Or professional methods, such as laser or electrolysis?
There’s no right answer, though certain types of hair removal come with more pain and possible side effects than others. Read on to learn about your hair removal options, so you can work out what might be best for you.
Methods of pubic hair removal
Trimming your pubic hair is easy, quick and painless – and all you need is a pair of scissors. Just make sure you keep your scissors (or your pubic hair trimmer) clean.
It’s best to cut pubic hair while it’s dry, so it’s easier to see what you’re doing. Just snip away slowly until you’re happy with how it looks.
Tweezing takes a bit more patience and a higher tolerance for pain than trimming. But if you’re looking to quickly shape your pubic hair – rather than fully remove it – it might be an option for you. Just disinfect your tweezers before use.
For the best results, hold the skin tight, then place the tweezer prongs on either side of the hair and gently pull in the direction of growth. Don’t yank too hard, as this could irritate your skin or hair follicles.
Like trimming, shaving pubic hair is another painless option – as long as you don't cut yourself. It’s also easy and inexpensive, as you just need a clean razor and some shaving cream or gel.
Wet your pubic hair, lather up with cream, hold your skin tight and shave in the direction of hair growth, rinsing your razor regularly.
Shaving the hair too short, or when the hairs are too long, can increase the risk of shaving rash (pseudofolliculitis).
Waxing rips out sections of pubic hair by its roots – which some people find very painful. It’s an effective hair removal method, though, which tends to cause less itching when the hair grows back than shaving does.
Waxing can be done at home, though it’s best if done by a professional. It may irritate sensitive skin.
Depilatories are another good option if you have a low tolerance for pain. These are chemical hair removers, which work by weakening a substance in the hair called keratin. Your pubic hair then falls out and you can wipe it away with a cloth or paper towel.
Available from pharmacies and supermarkets, depilatories usually come in the form of creams and they’re generally safe to use – though they can cause allergic reactions in some people.
Laser hair removal is a cosmetic procedure that uses a laser to get rid of unwanted hair by destroying hair follicles in your skin. It’s done by qualified professionals.
Before your appointment, you need to shave the area to be treated. It’s not a painless process – some people say it feels like having an elastic band snap against your skin – and can sometimes cause skin redness, too.
Laser hair removal isn’t permanent. How long it lasts varies between people but you may need to do it every 6 to 8 weeks for body hair. It doesn’t work as well on dark skin as on pale skin.
Electrolysis should also be done by a professional. It involves a device called an epilator, which damages hair follicles by sending radio frequencies into your skin.
Unlike laser hair removal, it removes only one hair at a time, so it’s not ideal for removing a large area of hair.
Electrolysis removes hair permanently, but you’ll need several sessions before that happens.
Risks and side effects of pubic hair removal
Some people think that removing their pubic hair is ‘more hygienic’. But there’s no medical reason for removing it. In fact, it can make you more vulnerable to infection, as cuts or skin irritation can make it easier for bacteria and viruses to get in.
Shaving, waxing or plucking can also increase your chances of getting ingrown pubic hairs. This is where hairs have grown back into your skin, which can cause red and often itchy bumps. If they get infected, they can be painful, too.
As mentioned above, laser hair removal can cause side effects such as pain, discomfort and red skin that can last for a while.
Other things to watch out for include an allergic reaction to depilatory creams or gels, redness, irritation or swelling, and cuts or scrapes from wax strips or blades. It’s a good idea to speak to your doctor if you notice any side effects that don’t clear up after a few days.
Choose the right type of removal for you
It’s a good idea to look at factors such as your skin sensitivity, pain tolerance and skin colour when deciding which hair removal methods are right for you.
Laser hair removal, for example, works best on people with pale skin and dark hair.
If you have sensitive skin, it’s best to avoid the harsher hair removal methods, such as waxing, tweezing, laser and electrolysis. You might want to just trim your hair or gently shave it instead.
And if you’re keen to avoid pain, you might prefer to keep away from methods such as waxing and laser removal, and stick to trimming or depilatories.
Cost and how long the method lasts are other factors to think about.
Whatever you decide, it’s best to proceed with caution when going bare.
- there are lots of ways to remove pubic hair, from trimming and shaving to lasers and electrolysis
- some methods can be painful, including waxing and laser treatment
- there’s no medical reason to remove pubic hair and it’s not ‘more hygienic’
- hair removal can cause skin irritation, ingrown hairs or even infection
- if you have sensitive skin, it’s best to use a gentle method, such as trimming or shaving