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Bare…down there

For years, both men and women were happy enough to accept what nature provides. But with the passing of time, and the evolution of what is aesthetically accepted, even our most private body parts have been subjected to new trends.

Any woman who has not heard of the infamous Brazilian wax needs to be dragged out into the 21st century. That's the ‘in' thing nowadays. This exotic sounding process involves removing body hair in the pubic area, which was originally meant to prevent stray strands from peeking out from bikinis or swimsuits.

Historically, the shaving of pubic hair is not only accepted, but is considered proper and hygienic. Middle Eastern societies have practiced pubic hair removal for centuries, and even ancient India shows evidence of the procedure.

However, if you haven't tried it before, you should know that the hair removal process is not as smooth as it looks. If you're shaving using a sharp razor, it is easy to slip up and hurt yourself. Remember, you are working on sensitive areas where the skin is not as tough as on the rest of your body. Shaved hair also starts growing back after two days, and these follicles trying to break out of the skin may feel itchy. There is also a chance that you may get ingrown hair, which happen when the hair cannot come out, causing pimples and irritation.

Some women choose waxing or epilating creams over shaving because these processes are supposed to be gentler on the skin. Experts say that bikini waxing should ideally be done every two to three weeks. This weakens the hair, and, over time, lessens the growth.

But whether you would like to use wax or epilating cream, it is important to do a skin patch test first. This works the same as when you're testing a new cream or make-up. Choose a small patch of skin on your upper thigh, and apply the wax or epilating cream. Leave it for five minutes and observe if there are any changes. Proceed only if there is no allergic reaction.

There is also the choice of an epilator – an electronic gadget which can pluck the hair out in high speed. Some say the hair grows back thinner and less frequently, others maintain that the next growth is just the same. The hair though, will take time growing back, leaving a smooth skin for a week or so, unlike in shaving.

Different people have different levels of pain tolerance; so your choice may also depend on how much pain you can endure. The common consensus though with waxing and electronic epilators is that the pain usually becomes less in subsequent treatments.

Recent reports indicate a rise in folliculitis, or infections around the hair follicles of women caused by a bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus (staph for short). Staph can live harmlessly on our skin, especially around the mouth, nose, genitals and anus. However, when the skin is broken, the bacteria can enter the wound and cause infections.

Removing your pubic hair, of course, no matter which method you go for, may cause an abrasion or minor break in the skin, which can be staph's point of entry. If this happens, infections can occur, which may progress and require minor surgery, where the doctor needs to create a small incision to drain the abscess. You may also be prescribed an antibiotic treatment.

Staph infection can spread through skin-toskin contact or through the use of common things such as bed linens, towels or clothing. This is easy enough to treat, so once you notice something is wrong – like a tiny red lump at the base of a follicle – go to your doctor immediately. Though complications are rare, it can still happen. In these rare cases, the infection may move from the skin into the bloodstream, causing infections in other body parts such as the lungs, heart, blood and bones.

Your best protection is still cleanliness or good hygiene. By regularly washing and keeping yourself clean, you can prevent dirt and bacteria from entering any break in the skin, and therefore prevent infections. If you do get a break in the skin, treat it immediately. Clean the area with soap and water, and applying a hot compress may also help.

Looking good is not always easy, especially if we deal with sensitive parts of the body. Good hygiene, good practice and knowledge though will help you find your way.

For your Gyne and Gyne-related questions email

Article by :  Arabian Woman

Posted by: May Issue 2009

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