Looking hot in your swimsuit shouldn't mean risking your health. But surprisingly, one common pre-beach beauty ritual-getting a salon bikini wax-can be dangerous, even deadly. And the popular practice of taking it all off (also known as a Brazilian wax) may carry special risks. "Pubic hair is there for a reason-to protect the sensitive skin and mucous membranes in the genital region," explains Linda K. Franks, M.D., an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the New York University School of Medicine. "Getting a wax literally strips away that layer of protection." And that can lead to skin infections (including staph), folliculitis (an infection of the hair follicles), and even cellulitis-a potentially life-threatening bacterial infection of the skin and the underlying tissue.
I'm not suggesting you forgo hair removal-just that you take a few precautions. Here are five easy ways to stay safe:
Before you make an appointment, drop by to see how clean the place is, or ask a friend to recommend a salon she trusts. Be sure the cosmetologist or aesthetician you choose is licensed by your state and has received training in Brazilian waxing, if you plan to go bare down there.Find the best bikini for your body type today!
2. Ask about the wax
Hard wax works best because it's gentler and sticks to your hair, not your skin. You can also try sugaring, a natural method that's kinder to the skin than waxing.3. Keep an eye on hygiene
Before beginning, the practitioner should scrub up or (at least) apply hand sanitizer. Also, double dipping into the wax is taboo because it introduces bacteria to the pot. Make sure your waxer has a brand-new spatula available for each swipe to your skin. And to prevent burns, she should check the wax's temperature on the inside of her wrist before applying it to your skin. If you don't see the practitioner taking these steps, speak up or leave.6 products that will keep your vagina happy and healthy
4. Prevent irritation
For a few days following your wax, apply an over-the-counter topical antibiotic cream and an anti-inflammatory 1 percent hydrocortisone cream to the area. This will ease irritation and help ward off potential infection.The ultimate guide to your vagina
5. Know the signs of infection
With a hand mirror, check yourself where the sun doesn't shine for inflamed ingrown hairs, rashes, or raw, open sores or cuts. And see a doctor ASAP if you develop any redness, swelling, itching, or burning in the area-especially if you develop a fever.Do you have a bikini-waxing horror story? Share it today!
Learn how a simple bikini wax can send you to the hospital, and read about one woman's near-death experience
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