Can you get an infection from a Brazilian bikini wax?

Recent news reports have indicated that Brazilian bikini waxes may soon be banned in New Jersey due to the fact that two women have apparently been hospitalized with infections that they got from their Brazilian wax procedures.

Although redness, irritation and pain are common side effects or experiences of waxing, infection is not. In fact, last year when a reader had asked me whether they could get a sexually transmissible infection (STI) such as chlamydia from a bikini wax, I called the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and was told that they were not aware of any such reported cases. Of course, it’s not that it’s impossible to get certain infections from waxing if one’s aesthetician is double dipping the stick used to spread on wax (thus possibly contaminating the wax) but it’s unclear which types of bacteria or viruses might remain alive in the wax and which would die. The type of infection(s) that the women were hospitalized for was not specified.

Read more about this waxing issue and the details around New Jersey’s consideration of making Brazilian (total removal of pubic hair) waxing illegal.

Like the individuals I spoke with at the CDC, in an STD forum, a doctor from the University of Washington indicated that there would be a low to no risk of STIs from waxing, though the temperature of the wax could allow certain microorganisms to thrive. Vagisil (yes, the vaginal cream company) – in this 2006 document – asserts that STIs are a possible risk of waxing as are other infections (most notably, as others have mentioned, among individuals with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes). Given the lack of reported cases, it’s hard to know how rare these risks are. The Vagisil site does offer some specific suggestions about what to look for in a waxing salon and what to consider when thinking about pubic hair grooming or removal.

Related:
Read a recent MSP article about how to talk to your partner about pubic hair grooming (Click Here to Read).

About Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick is a sex researcher at Indiana University, sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, columnist, and author of five books about sex and love. Learn more about her work at www.sexualhealth.indiana.edu.