Beware Of ‘Manscaping’: Pubic Hair Grooming Injuries On The Rise

If you’re looking into a “manscaping” job or a DYI bikini wax in early preparation for swimsuit season, beware. Pubic hair grooming injuries have increased by five times over the last decade, according to a recent study.

So before you stick that wax in the microwave or pull out a new razor, take care. The “cringe-inducing” analysis of ER visits by scientists at the University of California, San Francisco say that 2,500 people end up in the emergency room for “down-there” grooming incidents each year.

And those are just the reported incidents that ended up in the emergency room, said Dr. Allison Glass. Glass is a clinical researcher at UCSF, and notes that those figures are likely a “vast underestimate” of the true injuries. So heed the warning: There is need for extra care when wielding hot wax or sharp blades around your unmentionables.

“We actually found that 3 percent of all genitourinary injuries were related to grooming practices,” said Glass. “I think the message is this is something that general practitioners and urologists should be aware of.”

Pubic hair grooming has become increasingly popular in recent decades, and is practiced by men as well as women. The report, published in the journal Urology, notes that between 70 and 88 percent of young women in the U.S. partially or fully remove their pubic hair. Among men, the estimated range is between 58 and 78 percent. The study noted that the male number considers both straight and gay men, asserting that “manscaping” is becoming more common.

Nearly 57 percent of the injuries logged in the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System database were in women, but 43 percent affected men, a surprise to some urologists, Glass said.

“This is not a female thing. It’s a male thing, too,” she said.

Shaving razors were the culprit in 83 percent of the injuries, with cuts being most common result. Scissors were used in nearly 22 percent of injuries, and hot wax led to 1.4 percent of the harm.

The accounts of the reported injuries would make anyone squirm. “Suffice it to say,” reportsToday,“that the 17-year-old boy who picked up a razor after smoking marijuana now understands that that was a bad idea.”

While many consider no-hair-down-there more comfortable, sanitary, and attractive, there are those who are not fans. New Jersey tried to pass a proposal that would ban Brazilian waxing after two women were hospitalized for infections. Plus, waxing has nearly eliminated pubic hair lice. Poor little guys are seeing their habitat ripped away. Literally.

Media — and what is considered “sexy” — may play a role in the increasing number of people choosing to go hair-less (and get hurt in the process). A 2011 study by researchers at the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University analyzed Playboy centerfold images between 1953 and 2007. They found that pubic hair began disappearing from popular pinup depictions starting in the 1970s and disappeared by the late 2000s.

“Changing beauty ideals are reflected in media sources … and have likely contributed to the expansion of this cultural trend,” Glass and her colleagues wrote.

[Image via Shutterstock]