Good news – ESSENCE’s “Ask An OB-GYN” series is back to bring you very public answers to some of your most private questions. When sexual and vaginal health concerns arise, renowned Obstetrics and Gynecology physician Dr. Tosha Rogers wants to ensure you have the answers you need to feel at ease. If you have a sexual health concern or question you want to swing her way, we’ve got you covered. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with “Ask An OB-GYN” in the subject line and ask away!
Q: I’ve been told waxing is superior to shaving. Will it help if I have dry, itchy vaginal skin and ingrown hair follicles?
A: If you are prone to ingrown hairs, you would benefit more from sugar wax or “sugaring” versus traditional waxing. Sugar wax is gel made of three simple ingredients: sugar, lemon, and hot water. The gel sticks only to your hair, which reduces the risk of tearing. Because it doesn’t stick to the skin, it leads to less painful hair removal and eliminates the hair breakage that leads to ingrown hairs. Find an aesthetician that will look closely for ingrown hairs and tweeze accordingly. Also, some waxing salons will sell scrubs or even do “masks” for the area known as “vajaycials.”
Note there is a difference between “dry” and ‘itchy.” It could be due to dehydration, harsh chemicals from soaps or even an allergic reaction from the detergents used to wash your panties. That’s why I teach panty hygiene to my patients, and I take it very seriously. My panty hygiene rules are as follows:
1. All panties and bras should be washed in a load together, separate from your other clothing.
2. Panties should be changed out every 9 months or so. That doesn’t mean you have to buy $500 worth of panties every 9 months, but you should occasionally pick up a few new pairs and toss out a few old pairs. Panties are like $5 ladies… no need to be holding onto them for years.
3. Get rid of period panties! If your underwear are soiled with old menstrual stains that haven’t washed out, toss them. Increase your menstrual protection by using pantiliners, thicker tampons, etc.
4. Finally, use a gentle soap like my Clean & CuteTM Panty Wash to launder your panties and bras. It is all-natural, made of only three ingredients, and is hypoallergenic. It is designed to clean yeast, bacteria vaginitis and even mold that occurs when moist panties are left in the hamper for days leading up to laundry day.
Ultimately, you should remember that your vagina is skin as well. If you want to see a difference in texture and management of hair growth, care for it with proper techniques and gentle cleansers.