razor on bathtub
August 18, 2017

One-quarter of Americans have injured themselves shaving their pubes

More than three-quarters of all American adults believe that keeping their intimate areas well-groomed is important, but a surprisingly high number of those individuals have become injured in the process, according to new research published this week in JAMA Dermatology.

In fact, an online survey of US adults between the ages of 18-64 conducted by urologists from the University of California, San Francisco and their colleagues revealed that 76% of those men and women admitted to shaving, waxing or otherwise maintaining the hair in their pubic areas.

Of those individuals, 26% said that they had somehow injured themselves in the process, with said injuries ranging from cuts to burns to infections, according to The Guardian. Furthermore, 1.4% of those folks were apparently forced to seek medical attention due to their injuries.

Study co-author and UCSF urologist Dr. Benjamin Breyer told the newspaper that he and his fellow doctors were “surprised how frequently people were presenting with injuries related to grooming” while at the emergency room, and that 3% of all urogenital system injuries among adults are the result of grooming attempts gone wrong.

“One lesson to take from this is that if you have had significant grooming injuries, or keep getting injured, you should reconsider the areas you groom, how frequently you do it, and the extent to which you do it,” he added in a separate interview with Time magazine.

Cuts are the most common type of injury – and the most dangerous

Dr. Breyer’s team conducted an online survey in January 2014 asking adult men and women in the US about their pubic grooming habits – for instance, how old they were when they originally began grooming the area, how hairy they believed they were in comparison to others, and if they had ever sustained an injury while attempting to spruce up their nether-regions.

A total of 7,456 individuals took part in the survey, and 5,674 of those who responded reported they had groomed their pubic hair at some point in their lives. Of those, two thirds of men (67%) and more than 85% of women said that they had “tidied up” the hair around their genitalia, with 24% of males and 27% of females confessing to having injured themselves at least once.

According to The Guardian, cuts accounted for 61% of all such injuries, while 23% were burns linked to the use of waxes or hair-removal creams. Most of the mishaps involving men occurred at or around the scrotum, while the pubis was the most likely location of injuries among women, the researchers reported. Two-thirds of those who reported hurting themselves said that they had done so more than once, and nearly one-third admitted to suffering at least five such injuries.

Dr. Breyer told CBS News that he wasn’t certain what the reason for the increase in such injuries might be, but said that in most cases, the injuries are minor and easily treated. The one exception, he said, is that an open wound caused by shaving could increase a person’s chances of acquiring a sexually-transmitted disease (STD). This possible relationship, he told Time, is something that he would like to investigate further.

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