Clipping, shaving, waxing—these are all familiar ways to keep your nether regions groomed. But why? For hygiene, or an enhanced sexual experience? Whatever the impetus, being hairless is a custom dating back to the times of ancient Egyptian civilizations. That being said, this pan-cultural tradition isn't truly rooted in biological necessity. As long as you wash, cleanliness is not a legit scientific justification. In fact, some medical health care providers would argue that the hair has a protective function in keeping bacteria, viruses, and irritants out of our nether regions.
That's not stopping women from getting their wax on, though, and it's important to realize what you're doing to your skin. It's an inherently irritating process that can cause inflammation, itchiness, and redness because you're pulling hair directly from the root. Plus, you're compromising the skin barrier and making yourself more prone to annoying ingrown hairs (which, of course, happen more often in the pubic area because those hairs are often more curly and grow inward instead of out). So before you head to your next appointment, memorize these five tricks to help minimize complications.
Exfoliate. A few days before your appointment, exfoliate so you can remove any dead skin to reduce the potential for ingrown hairs.
Be gentle. The day of, wash with a pH neutral, gentle cleanser prior to the wax to rid the skin surface of any potential irritants and to soften the base of the follicle. Warm water works best.
Skip shaving. Seriously, don't do it. Hair needs to be at least 1/4-inch long in order for the wax to grasp it.
Don't touch. Once you've been waxed, avoid touching, applying fragranced lotions/creams, and exfoliating for 24 hours after.
Find relief. Apply a dab of cortisone cream to help reduce any inflammation, itchiness, and redness that pops up after you're done.