Ask A Gynecologist: How Can I Prevent Ingrown Pubic Hairs?

Say goodbye to in-grown hairs this summer.

Finally, we're bringing you very public answers to some of your most private questions. When sexual and vaginal health concerns arise, OB/GYN and nationally known women's health expert Dr. Jessica Shepherd wants to ensure you have the answers you need to feel at ease. As the founder of Her Viewpoint, an online women's health forum, she uses this outlet to focus on addressing taboo topics in a comfortable setting. Prepare to take notes!

Q: How can I prevent getting in-grown pubic hairs?

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A: Ingrown hairs are definitely a common occurence for some women. I once had a patient come in thinking she had "vaginal acne" but it's not technically acne, because acne is a bacterial-based condition that affects the skin, so usually in the vaginal area it's going to be of like a hair follicle issue.

Ingrown hairs are definitely a cause the backup of the hair going back into the follicle and causing inflammation, so anyone with a coarser texture of hair or curlier hair will be more likely to have more ingrown hairs. Typically, what we recommend for that is to make sure that it's usually ingrown hair, so the hair is coiling back on the follicle and plugging the gland, which causes it to have some of that inflammation.

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It really is how you take care of that area, meaning if you're going to shave it, or if you're going to clip, is to make sure that you do things such as use warm water to help open the follicles so that it doesn't coil back on each other, keeping it as trimmed as possible so that it's not as long, and then also using sometimes, very occasionally, or not regularly, but cortisone creams. 

Just remember, that hair is there for a reason, to decrease entry into the vagina and also the urethra, which is what carries your urine. It's really to protect that area and keep bacteria from getting into that area and decrease infection. Again, that's the purpose of it. Now, if one chooses to wax or shave in that area, they really should just make sure that they practice hygienic practices. Typically, sometimes the best advice is maybe to trim the hair in that area, not necessarily wax it off, but if you do wax, make sure that you utilize the best practices during waxing, making sure that you again use warm water, or some type of warm application of a cloth to open up the follicles so that when you take all the hair out there's decrease inflammation.

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