Story by: Norton Children’s on July 8, 2022
If young women and teens feel pressured to follow certain trends or use certain products when it comes to genital hygiene and pubic hair removal, they should know there are some risks associated with these practices, according to Kimberly S. Huhmann, M.D., pediatric and adolescent gynecologist with Norton Children’s Gynecology, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine.
When it comes to keeping your vaginal area clean, keep it simple — often water is enough.
Only unscented, mild soap should be used to wash the vulva (the external genital area). Do not use any soap inside the vagina (the internal genital area); plain water is sufficient.
The vagina is naturally self-cleaning, and soaps can disrupt its natural pH levels and cause irritation. Douching, sprays and deodorants should be avoided because they can cause irritation or infections.
Schedule an appointment with a pediatric and adolescent gynecologist.
Removing pubic hair is not necessary to keep the vulva or vaginal area clean. Pubic hair can help protect the skin and prevent chafing.
Hair removal is a personal preference. Some people do not remove any of their pubic hair, and others may remove only the hair that grows outside of the bikini line. Some people choose to remove all of their pubic hair — but doing so can lead to various health risks.
Removing pubic hair doesn’t come with any health benefits, and doing nothing to the pubic hair or trimming it is best, said Dr. Huhmann. Shaving, waxing, sugaring or hair removal creams may lead to adverse skin reactions, such as:
According to Dr. Huhmann, shaving has the highest risk for complications (razor burn, folliculitis, skin irritation, etc.) while waxing, laser hair removal and creams carry more moderate risks.