We invest so much, and then some more, in keeping the manes on our heads shiny and near-perfect. But what of the hair... down there? Do we spare so much as a thought to our pubes? Not so much, right? It's because concealed from the dust and smoke of the world, hidden deep under layers and layers of clothing, our pubic hair is more or less equipped to take care of itself. It's a bush that doesn't ask for much maintenance, cushioning our genitals from any external shock (STIs or bacteria) they may receive. But once in a while, for reasons that vary, women may feel the need to do something about it. Perhaps in preparation for a date or just to ensure hygiene. It's a choice really. But what is the way to go about it?
Before proceeding to the best methods of tending to the pubic area, know that since it is a part of your body - among the most sensitive ones - the first say in how to care for it or how you want it to look should ideally belong to you. It's common to hear of women removing their pubes to please the sexual preferences of their partner. That's not wrong at all, provided she is not coerced into it and that the final agency lies with her. And women who choose to keep their pubic hair intact must not feel shame about it. A woman's body is her own, and no one else must be advising her to keep it a certain way.
There are several ways in which women can tend to their pubic area, subject to pain thresholds and conveniences. We list some out for you, with recommendations from Dr Tanaya Narendra, a millennial doctor focused on women's health and sexual wellness.
Let's begin with the easiest one. Trimming is the godsend when it comes to ridding yourself of pubes because it's painless, convenient, and has the least side-effects. All you have to do is take a scissor and snip away at the parts that have major growth or the parts you want to keep short. Think of yourself as a gardener tending to a designer bush - chopping it gently, meticulously into the desired shape. Not too close, not too fast.
Dr Tanaya recommends, "This is the best option for taking care of your pubes. It gets rid of the excess length and you could feel a little more organised downstairs. Just ensure you use a clean, sharp pair of scissors."
Steaming wax and bushels of hair coming together doesn't paint a pretty picture. But it is among the most common ways of stripping your pubic area hair-free. The hair is essentially ripped out of the skin using wax and strips. It is an accessible service, often goes by the name Brazilian wax, and you can get it at most beauty parlours.
Dr Tanaya says that since this is a "violent process", women must keep some things in mind, "Get it done by somebody who has experience because they'll make sure they don't rip your skin off, since your genital skin is much thinner than the rest of your body. After you get waxed, do wear cotton fabric, nothing lacy, so you don't irritate your irritated skin further."
Shaving is another common method of removing pubic hair and is way more cost-friendly than waxing. The Indian market now has specialised razors for women's purposes, including products with cooling gel strips or movable heads. It will be a largely painless method, since the hair is only being shaved off from the top of your skin, but may result in bumps, ingrown hair, or some irritation.
To have the ideal shaving experience, Dr Tanaya suggests shaving "in the direction of your hair growth and not against it. Because when you use a razor on the skin, you create small cuts and creating these small cuts can invite bacteria inside them. This can even cause an infection."
4. Hair Removal Creams
These creams are retailed on a wide scale in India, available in various types, fragrances, etc. By the looks of it, they are rather popular, because they don't cause any pain and the process is easy. All women need to do is apply the cream on the hairy bits, wait a while, and then swipe the cream off. It seems simple, but the thing to remember is that hair removal creams are packed with chemicals that may cause burns. Your pubic area, in general, is not fond of chemical interference. Which is why experts recommend staying away from such creams for your pubes.
Dr Tanaya echoes the opinion saying, "Hair removal creams in your genitals? Bad idea. They are made of rather strong substances and genital skin is very thin. So they absorb things very quickly into the bloodstream. And do we want a cocktail of blood and hair removal creams?"
What can be the best option in this scenario is the use of hair removal creams specifically designed for pubic hair, bought from an authentic brand.
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Views expressed are the author's own.