There aren’t many areas in your life where you wouldn’t prepare for an expedition. You wouldn’t go hacking through the Amazon without researching some proper machetes and other equipment. So, neither should you forge your way blindly through the thick hair that has grown over your private parts. While thick vines or poison ivy might be your reality in the Amazon, you’ll find a whole different pain if you shave your private area wrong. As a matter of fact, manscaping injuries that required a visit to the emergency room have increased five times over an eight-year period, according to the Journal of Urology. These injuries ranged the gamut, from rashes, cuts, scrapes, and abscesses. With that in mind, let’s get into the seven ways you can safely manscape and leave your private area the way you found it.
#1 USE ONE TOOL AT A TIME
When trimming your pubic hairs, don’t use a tool that is not designated for your pubes. Don’t use kitchen, yard, or any other scissors. These non-pelvic area scissors can spread bacteria and yeast that have signed a mortgage in your groin area to other parts of your body, says Anthony Rossi, M.D., Weill Cornell Medical College’s assistant professor of dermatology. When these bacteria or fungi move to other locations you can have a whole host of other problems like jock itch or ringworm.
Before cutting anything, use rubbing alcohol to sterilize the scissors and thoroughly wash your hands and groin area so you can begin all work in a sterile environment.
#2 BUILD THE FOUNDATION
Around 50 percent of women like their men full or partially hair-free, according to a 2014 study from Indiana University. Start out slow before trimming. If you go too fast you may cause yourself itching, stubble, and razor burn. When long hairs snag on the razor, you can end up with very painful cuts.
Use clippers to trim your hair before shaving if you start with long hair. Pubic hairs are curlier and coarser, so the hairs can curl back in and create ingrown hairs, according to Dr. Rossi.
Stop trimming when you reach 1/16 of an inch. This will avoid ingrown hairs and allow you to maintain your pubic hairs with clippers.
#3 GET WET
Shaving your pubic hairs dry is not a good idea. Take a hot shower and then begin cleaning up your groin area. During this time the process will be a lot smoother and you’ll, most likely, cause fewer nicks, says Dr. Rossi.
When you shave after a shower, your skin will be softer and not have as much dirt or oil. In addition, the water will lubricate your skin and prevent hairs from resisting their timely demise. It’s important to use shower gel, not regular bar soap because it moisturizes better which leads to less irritation. Alcohol-free shaving gel with aloe is highly recommended for your manscaping needs.
#4 SHAVE IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION
If getting smooth is your ultimate goal, follow the direction of the hair, don’t shave it. Shave the direction the hair is pointing and use smooth, even strokes. This will prevent ingrown hairs, stubble, and irritation or bumps. By going the direction of the hairs you will avoid pulling hair in directions they were never meant to go.
#5 BEWARE OF THE TESTICLES
These sperm-producing sacs need extra care when manscaping. They’re like the rose bushes in the yard. Never forget that. Your scrotum and the shaft of your penis are prone to many folds and grooves in the skin, so nicking them can be very easy. These areas are also prone to high levels of bacteria. A nick, no matter how minor, can allow bacteria to get into your penis or scrotum which can cause horrid conditions like abscesses, cellulitis, and Fournier gangrene.
Trust me, you don’t want Fournier’s. This gangrene, like all gangrenes, contains bacteria that cause flesh to necrotize, i.e. rot and then die. It occurs, most often, on the external genitalia and in men. This awful condition may also occur in women and children. If you are older, diabetic, are suffering from a compromised immune system, are morbidly obese, or an alcoholic, be very wary.
To ensure you are being as careful as your testicles require, use your non-dominant hand to pull your skin taut before touching clippers to the skin. This will reduce any accidents. In addition, when you are in a well-lit bathroom, stand over a portable mirror so you can reach all of those tricky angles.
#6 CLEAN ALL CUTS
There are few people who never get cuts when shaving their private areas. A 2012 study showed that cuts were the most common reason people went to the emergency room.
If you do slip, take a breath, and stay calm. Apply soap and warm water, first, and then alcohol to the area. Clean thoroughly. If the cut is shallow, hold toilet paper to the cut for 10 to 15 minutes without looking. The bleeding should stop.
If bleeding continues after 15 minutes of blood seems to be gushing from the cut with your every heartbeat, call your doctor. This deep cut may need stitches.
#7 MOISTURIZE LAST
To prevent that unpleasant irritation that makes you want to scratch your groin area all the time, after shaving use a moisturizer that has aloe or camphor. Use a large dose and massage it in fully.
If you are still feeling the torturous itch after several days or so, you may have folliculitis or a bacterial or fungal infection. A dermatologist can determine if you have an inflamed follicle or an infection.