When it comes to down-there landscaping, it’s wise to not believe everything you hear. We’re talking sensitive skin, after all, so we’ve asked the experts to break down the myths associated with waxing your nether regions.
There’s not enough evidence to make a blanket statement that waxing puts you at risk for sexually transmitted infections, says Adam Friedman, M.D., director of dermatologic research at Montefiore Medical Center. But, he does admit waxing can make your body more vulnerable. “Any process or underlying condition that disrupts the skin barrier, allowing bacteria, fungi, and viruses easier access into the skin, can increase the risk of infection,” he says. Once the barrier is broken, it’s easier for STIs like HPV to access deeper layers of skin. To minimize the risk, scope out the scene. Ensure they’re using new wax and a new applicator with each client, says Anate Aelion Brauer, an ob-gyn who practices in New York and Connecticut. Post salon, follow safe sex practices to a tee.
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Sure, the redness will die down in the hours following your appointment, but more serious side effects can last much longer. Too-hot wax can burn the skin, leading to blistering and permanent scars, Friedman says. Burns can also occur from over-exfoliation, says Christelle Christie, waxing expert and director of guest relations at European Wax Center. To minimize the risk of permanent damage, leave it to the professionals instead of attempting at-home kits, Christie says. And if the wax is too hot while you’re there, speak up.
You'll be quick to call this false if you’ve ever gotten a wax during your period (ow!). The top two reasons to save waxing for pre- and post-that-time-of-the-month: reduced pain and no messy tampon strings to get in the way. "While it is generally safe to get a bikini wax during your period, most women are more sensitive to pain around this time and therefore may want to avoid it," says Brauer. If just the thought of waxing makes you wince, try scheduling your appointment smack dab between periods. Studies report that your pain tolerance peaks during ovulation, which occurs mid-cycle, Brauer says.
Your just-waxed bikini line creates a tempting smoothness, but stick with foreplay and put the real thing on pause for at least 24 hours after your waxing session, Brauer says. The friction and perspiration that result when you get hot and heavy can make the area more susceptible to infection, she says. That also means it’s best to fit a FlyWheel class in before your appointment instead of after. “Waxing removes the hair from the hair follicle, and because the hair follicle is empty and open, it leaves more opportunity for dirt and bacteria to get into it,” Christie adds. Leave the workouts and romp sessions for a day or so later, she says.