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Original Investigation
August 16, 2017

Prevalence of Pubic Hair Grooming–Related Injuries and Identification of High-Risk Individuals in the United States

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Urology, University of California, San Francisco, General Hospital, San Francisco
  • 2Department of Surgery, University of Texas Dell Medical School, Austin
  • 3Division of Public Health Sciences, Department of Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, Missouri
  • 4Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, University of California, San Francisco
JAMA Dermatol. Published online August 16, 2017. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2017.2815
Key Points

Question  What are the prevalence and clinical correlates of injuries among US adults who groom pubic hair?

Findings  In this nationally representative cross-sectional study of 5674 adults who reported pubic hair grooming, grooming-related injury was reported by 1430 (weighted prevalence, 25.6%). Degree of grooming was an independent risk factor for injury; waxing may prevent repetitive injuries.

Meaning  The present data may help to identify injury-prone groomers and lead to safer grooming practices.

Abstract

Importance  Pubic hair grooming is a common practice that can lead to injury and morbidity.

Objective  To identify demographic and behavioral risk factors associated with pubic hair grooming–related injuries to characterize individuals with high risk of injury and develop recommendations for safe grooming practices.

Design, Setting, and Participants  This cross-sectional study conducted a national survey of noninstitutionalized US adults (aged 18-65 years). The web-based survey was conducted through a probability-based web panel designed to be representative of the US population. Data were collected in January 2014 and analyzed from August 1, 2016, through February 1, 2017.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Grooming-related injury history (yes or no), high-frequency injuries (>5 lifetime injuries), and injury requiring medical attention.

Results  Among the 7570 participants who completed the survey (4198 men [55.5%] and 3372 women [44.5%]; mean (SD) age, 41.9 [18.9] years), 5674 of 7456 (76.1%) reported a history of grooming (66.5% of men and 85.3% of women [weighted percentages]). Grooming-related injury was reported by 1430 groomers (weighted prevalence, 25.6%), with more women sustaining an injury than men (868 [27.1%] vs 562 [23.7%]; P = .01). Laceration was the most common injury sustained (818 [61.2%]), followed by burn (307 [23.0%]) and rashes (163 [12.2%]). Common areas for grooming-related injury for men were the scrotum (378 [67.2%]), penis (196 [34.8%]), and pubis (162 [28.9%]); for women, the pubis (445 [51.3%]), inner thigh (340 [44.9%]), vagina (369 [42.5%]), and perineum (115 [13.2%]). After adjustment for age, duration of grooming, hairiness, instrument used, and grooming frequency, men who removed all their pubic hair 11 times or more during their lifespan had an increased risk for grooming injury (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 1.97; 95% CI, 1.28-3.01; P = .002) and were prone to repeated high-frequency injuries (AOR, 3.89; 95% CI, 2.01-7.52; P < .001) compared with groomers who did not remove all their pubic hair. Women who removed all their pubic hair 11 times or more had increased odds of injury (AOR, 2.21; 95% CI, 1.53-3.19; P < .001) and high-frequency injuries (AOR, 2.98; 95% CI, 1.78-5.01; P < .001) compared with groomers who do not remove all their pubic hair. In women, waxing decreased the odds of high-frequency injuries (AOR, 0.11; 95% CI, 0.03-0.43; P = .001) compared with nonelectric blades. In total, 79 injuries among 5674 groomers (1.4%) required medical attention.

Conclusions and Relevance  Grooming frequency and degree of grooming (ie, removing all pubic hair) are independent risk factors for injury. The present data may help identify injury-prone groomers and lead to safer grooming practices.

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