Complications related to pubic hair removal

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2014 Jun;210(6):528.e1-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2014.01.036. Epub 2014 Jan 31.


Objective: We investigated the prevalence and correlates of complications related to pubic hair removal among a diverse clinical sample of women attending a public clinic.

Study design: Women (aged 16-40 years) who received care from April to June 2012 at 2 publicly funded clinics completed an anonymous, self-administered questionnaire (n = 369). After excluding women with missing data, analyses were conducted on 333 women. Additional measures were retrieved through a medical chart review. A χ(2) and a multivariable logistic regression were used to analyze participant characteristics, pubic hair removal behaviors, and complications related to pubic hair removal.

Results: Most women (87%) admitted to current removal of at least some pubic hair, whereas the remainder responded that they had removed pubic hair in the past. Under- or normal-weight women were more likely to report total pubic hair removal than overweight or obese women. The majority (60%) had experienced at least 1 health complication because of the removal, of which the most common were epidermal abrasion and ingrown hairs. Black and Hispanic women were less likely than white women to report complications. Overweight or obese women were almost twice as likely to report a complication and almost 3 times as likely if they also had total hair removal. Only 4% had seen a health care provider for a complication related to hair removal and only 4% discussed safe removal practices with their doctor.

Conclusion: Minor complications commonly occur as a result of pubic hair removal. Gynecological visits could provide a safe environment for women to discuss pubic hair removal practices.

Keywords: clinical complications; genital injury; genital shaving; pubic hair.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Female
  • Hair Diseases / etiology
  • Hair Removal / adverse effects*
  • Hair Removal / trends
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Racial Groups
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult

Supplementary concepts

  • Pseudofolliculitis Barbae