Down-There Disaster: How to Trim Your Bikini Line Safely

Most of us want a smooth bikini line, but waxing and shaving can wreak havoc on your skin wellness – what’s a girl to do? Cuts and nicks down there don’t seem like much of a health concern, but they can be downright excruciating and actually really affect your wellbeing.


According to a 2012 study from researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), in the last eight years, the number of women going to the ER for vaginal injuries jumped almost six-fold. Study author Benjamin Breyer, MD, assistant professor of urology at UCSF, explains, ‘The majority of these cases involved people who had gotten lacerations, rashes or skin infections as a result of shaving in the shower or waxing at a salon. These days, having less pubic hair is the standard, so more women are grooming and the contours of the female anatomy make it difficult to see where the razor is going.’ So how can you remove unwanted hair down there, without the trip to the emergency room?


1. Get the right equipment: To lessen skin irritation, you need a gel or cream and, for a close shave, you need a multi-blade razor. Tiana Brandon, lead aesthetician at Bliss Spa in Los Angeles, suggests shaving in the direction the hair grows in, but running the razor in the opposite direction if you go over the area a second time.


2. Time it according to your time of the month: If you’re booking a wax, your window of opportunity is the midway point between the beginning and end of your menstrual cycle. Brandon notes that, before and after your period, the hormonal changes that occur can make you more sensitive to pain.


3. Have a joke with your waxer: This may not be for everyone but a study published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B shows that if you laugh, it triggers the release of pain-relieving endorphins.


4. Don’t double dip: Kristen Haines, licensed aesthetician and owner of Euphoria Spa in New York City, points out, ‘Each time your waxer dips into the pot of wax, she should be using a new stick to prevent the spread of everything from vaginal warts to bacterial infections, such as folliculitis. Often times, the same pot of wax is used on multiple clients, but it’s safe as long as a new stick is used with each application.’


5. Opt for hard wax: ‘Although the name sounds painful, hard wax is actually the best wax for bikini lines,’ Haines advises. This is because hard wax is easier to get off – and therefore less painful – than soft wax, and it peels off on its own without the use of cloth strips.


6. Exfoliate: A gentle exfoliator can prevent an ingrown hair (when hair curls around and grows back into the skin instead of rising up from the root. Brandon urges, ‘Wait 24 hours after shaving or 48 hours after waxing to exfoliate.’ If you can see an ingrown hair, you can remove it with tweezers – but don’t think you cajole the trapped hair out by squeezing the inflamed area! Brandon comments that this ‘can cause further trauma to the follicle resulting in an infection—swelling, redness and painful to the touch.’


7. Forget about trimming: If you’re embarrassed about going to the waxer in your full natural glory, but this is better than a pre-appointment trim. Haines explains, ‘Hair should be about a quarter of an inch thick in order for the wax to latch on properly. If you accidentally trim it too short, your waxer may need to use tweezers to pull out the hair, which is painful and time-consuming.’

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