Some people have a preference for keeping pubic hair natural, but others are all about removal. And as more and more people are grooming at home, they’re also inflicting a lot of gruesome-sounding injuries to some very sensitive areas.
The most common type of injury is laceration, or cuts, with burns coming in second, according to research just published in the American Medical Association journal JAMA Dermatology.
The most common places men received injuries are the scrotum (67.2 percent), penis (34.8 percent), and pubis (28.9 percent). For women, common injury sites are the pubis (51.3 percent), inner thigh (44.9 percent), vagina (42.5 percent), and perineum (13.2 percent).
Researchers from the University of California San Francisco, University of Texas Dell Medical School and Washington University School of Medicine conducted a survey of 7,570 adults in the United States ages 18-65 in January 2014 to gather information about grooming habits and their risks.
Of that group, 4,198 men and 3,372 women reported a “history of grooming.” Some 25.6 percent also reported having received injuries, with women reporting more injuries than men.
In other words, one in four “groomers” reported at least one injury. More than 32 percent of them reported 5 or more injuries.
The researchers note that serious grooming injuries are rare: Only 2.5 percent of groomers experienced an injury that required surgical treatment, like draining an abscess or closing a wound with stitches. But their study also pointed out that as pubic hair removal has gained popularity, associated injuries have risen, too.
“In a previous study describing injuries sustained while grooming pubic hair, [researchers] used emergency department data to estimate that 12,000 grooming-related injuries occurred from 2002 to 2010 in the United States, with a 5-fold increase in injuries during this 9-year period,” they wrote.
The researchers also took into account factors like type of instrument used, hairiness, age and how long a person has been grooming, writing that at least for women, waxing was “protective against high-frequency injuries” and may be their safest option, though more research is needed to be sure.
Injury isn’t the only reason a person might want to shy away from excessive grooming. Previous research found that people who engage in pubic hair removal more than 11 times in a year have a heightened risk for contracting sexually transmitted infections, though the reason isn’t clear.
Whatever your pubic hair preferences are, be careful out there, folks.