Brazilians And STIs: Yeah, There's A Link

I'm talking about the wax, not the people.
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Publish date:
October 30, 2013
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Brazilian, hair removal, infections, science, shaving, STIs, studies, waxing

Did you guys read Emily's article on xoJane yesterday? It's called "Why I'm Done Talking About Whether Or Not It's OK To Shave My Vagina," and to summarize... well, I'll let Emily summarize:

I have written plenty about the beauty stuff, and it does hurt women to be held to an arbitrary and unattainable beauty standard. But infighting among feminists about how we individual women choose to navigate these impossible standards seems increasingly myopic to me. Feminist women understand the superficial choices we make and why.

I couldn't agree more. I wouldn't be able to call myself a feminist beauty editor if I didn't feel exactly this way.

Unfortunately, ideology isn't the only consideration when deciding whether or not to remove your pubes. A study published earlier this year found that being hairless in your most special place can increase the chances of getting a certain viral infection.

OK, I realize I've written about viral infections twice this month, but I just care about your beauty-related health, you guys.

Here's what's up: In a small study reported to the unambiguously named medical journal Sexually Transmitted Infections, it was noted that the sexually transmitted cases of a pox infection called molluscum contagiosum (also called water warts, delightfully) have risen over the last decade. You know what else has risen over the last decade? The popularity of shaving off and ripping out every last pube. So the study authors, French dermatologistes, wanted to see if there's a link between the two.

In short, yes, there is.

In not-so-short, the researchers checked out the crotches of 30 people--ladies and gentlemen--with molluscum contagiosum and found that a whopping 93% of them were hairless. Of those, 10% had waxed it all off, and 70% had shaved it off. (The other people... wished it away? It's not clear. Maybe they used some fancy French hair-removal technique with no English translation.)

Anyway, the study authors believe that the "micro-trauma" of hair removal could be making the transmission of molluscum contagiosum easier. (I'm guessing being hairless would also make it easier to actually see the water warts and get yourself to a doctor, so... silver lining?)

The lead author, dermatologist François Desruelles, then went on to speculate why he thinks pube removal is so hip these days: "The reasons for choosing genital hair removal remain unclear, but may be linked with internet-based pornography ... increased sexual sensation ... an unconscious desire to simulate an infantile look ... or a desire to distance ourselves from our animal nature," at which point the entire world interrupted him and asked him to stick to dermatology.

Do you wax or shave it all off? Does a study like this make you have second thoughts?