Pubic hair grooming and public health. A key role for the doctor in counselling his patients?

We think there’s a role of counselling for health practitioners related to the practice of hair grooming.

Despite the lack of controlled studies, it could be dangerous to deny the possibility of infectious risks related with this practice.

Even if these infections are generally not life-threatening, pubic hair removal (especially full) could be a risk factor for cutaneous sexually transmitted infections (STI) as molluscum contagiosum (MC), genital warts (GW, some types of papillomavirus), and maybe herpes. Further studies, especially controlled, would be necessary to elucidate this risk and those of bacterial infections.

The micro-traumatisms induced by pubic hair removal, especially shaving, could favor this risk.

For example, we needed several decades to reconsider the gold standard of shaving before surgery. Many surgeons now prefer no depilation, chemical depilation or clipping, instead of shaving, because the micro-traumatisms induced by shaving could increase the postoperative infectious risk.

So, we think that some recommendations should be reinforced, as to ask for single use or sterilized tools for pubic hair removal (spatula included) in waxing salons, or suggested, as to require medical advice when persistent pimples are observed on the pubis, to prefer partial depilation as complete, and to avoid hair removal before sexual intercourse…

These suggestions need to be improved but we believe that they may help to prevent some of the above-mentioned infections and increase our patients’ awareness on the fact that full pubic hair removal, without any recommendation, is perhaps not so harmless that we let them think.

François Desruelles
Private office, 20 avenue Malausséna, 06000 Nice, France
Archet 2 Hospital, 151 route de Saint Antoine de Ginestière, Nice, France

 

Publication

Full pubic hair removal: A key role for dermatologists in preventing STIs?
Desruelles F
Ann Dermatol Venereol. 2017 Nov

Pubic hair removal: a risk factor for ‘minor’ STI such as molluscum contagiosum?
Desruelles F, Cunningham SA, Dubois D
Sex Transm Infect. 2013 May

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