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Whether you go for a Brazilian wax or another method for pubic hair removal, preliminary research from France has suggested that it may increase your risk of catching certain skin infections through sex. Molluscum contagiosum – a skin infection that causes raised, pearl-like spots – can be spread through any type of contact and is most commonly seen in children. However, in certain parts of the world, the rates of sexually spread cases of Molluscum contagiosum have increased in recent years.
In order to determine a possible reason for why this is, researchers at a private health clinic in Nice, France investigated whether the increasing popularity of pubic hair removal may have played a role. The researchers found that 93% of patients who visited their clinic with sexually transmitted Molluscum contagiosum in 2011 had removed their pubic hair; 70% of whom did so through shaving; 13% through clipping and 10% through waxing.
According to Dr. Robert Brodell, chief of the University Of Mississippi Medical Centre’s Division of Dermatology, explained, ‘The body has a number of defence mechanisms to prevent infection. One of those mechanisms is normal, healthy skin,’ but aberrations in the skin ‘open the door for catching the infection.’ He added that shaving may put your wellbeing at risk to Molluscum contagiosum because the razor spreads the virus from one part of your body to another.
Dr Jonathan Zenilman, chief of the Infectious Diseases Division at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Centre, said of the findings, which were published in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections, ‘From my standpoint, it makes sense.’ However, Zenilman warned that there are limits to the study, such as the fact the researchers don’t know if patients shared other wellness factors, besides pubic hair removal, which increased their risk of Molluscum contagiosum infection.
Dr Mary Gail Mercurio, an associate professor of dermatology at the University of Rochester Medical Centre, added that when she sees cases of Molluscum contagiosum, it often occurs in patients who shave their pubic area. ‘I instruct the patients to stop shaving until the condition is brought under control, because shaving just spreads it further,’ she said, adding that other methods of hair removal, such as laser hair removal, may not affect sexual health in this way as it doesn’t abrade your skin. Mercurio said that this merits further research.