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Is It Healthy For Men To Shave Their Pubic Hair?

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Men who shave their pubic hair keep cutting their junk, research suggests. Nearly a quarter of the 4,000 manscapers surveyed in the study experienced lacerations, burns, and other pubic hair grooming-related injuries. Adding insult to very literal injury, the hairier men thought they were, the more likely they were to snip and trim overzealously.

“We were, quite frankly, quite surprised how frequently people were presenting with injuries relating to grooming,” coauthor on the study Benjamin Beyer, a urologist at the University of California, San Francisco, told The Guardian. “You are getting at all the nooks and crannies of your body—you are going to get places you can’t see very well.”

Pubic hair removal is a mixed bag, scientifically speaking. The practice has been linked to better genital self-image and higher levels of sexual responsiveness. But it has also been linked to an increase in STIs, probably because irritated skin is just a skip and a hop from an open wound.

Not that this information made anyone more careful—manscaping injuries increased five-fold between 2002 and 2010. Scientists now suspect anywhere from 50% to 87% of adults are doing it, and some alarmists warn that future generations of men may have no idea what pubic hair looks like (we’re betting they’ll figure it out).

Naturally, Beyer and his colleagues felt obligated to get a handle on just how many people are sacrificing their loins as collateral damage in the war on pubes.

Their study, published in JAMA Dermatology, analyzed cross-sectional data from an online survey of 7,570 people (4,198 men and 3,372 women). Beyer and his team found that 76% of participants groomed their pubic hair overall, about 66% of men and 85% of women, and that 24% of men and 27% of women sustained injuries as a result. Fortunately, most weren’t serious. Only 1.4% of participants required medical attention. Most of the injuries were simply cuts, while 23% were burns from razors, waxes, or creams.

If nothing else, the study highlights the sad fact that the DIY spirit may not serve men well when it comes to grooming. “You know how the guys are: ‘I’ll fix my car, I’ll do this myself, too,’” Michele Green of Lenox Hill Hospital, who was not involved in the study, told CBS News. “If you really don’t like your hair, you should consult a specialist.”

Beyers agrees, and suggests those who have injured themselves consider safer alternatives for grooming, such as electric shavers. “Razors were associated most [with injury],” Beyer says. “Using electric shavers seems to be not associated with high degrees of injury—probably because you are just less likely to get cut—but you don’t get as fine a shave.”

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