In fact, 84 percent of women style their pubic hair, according to a 2016 study published in JAMA Dermatology—and most do it themselves at home. And when you're DIY-ing your hair removal, one of the easiest ways is to shave. But of course, with shaving comes the risk of cutting yourself, razor burn, and more on some of the most sensitive parts of the body.
So do gynos think shaving pubic hair is safe? We put the question to Michelle Metz, M.D.
"It is personal preference whether you want to shave or not," she tells Women's Health. But there are two caveats that make shaving a bit risky. "If you do remove hair too frequently, you can end up with something called folliculitis, which is an infection of the hair follicule," Metz says. Ouch! They look like white bumps and can often be caused by bad shaving technique (like using a dull razor or skipping the shaving cream). But don't be alarmed if it happens to you—folliculitis can be treated with a topical or oral antibiotic.
Another downside to shaving: ingrown pubic hair. This is when hairs regrow by curling back into the skin instead of out of it, causing bumps and irritation. You can stave this off by applying an OTC hydrocortisone cream post-shave to prevent them from popping up. (Also doesn't hurt to use a sharp razor and shaving cream!)
Another thing to keep in mind when preparing to shave your lady bits: The hair is there for a reason. "Pubic hair is also made to prevent irritation from friction," Metz says. (Like, say, the friction from getting down and dirty between the sheets with your partner). Your pubic hair is thus "protective," says Metz, and you don't NEED to remove it. But of course, if you prefer to trim, shave, wax, or otherwise remove your pubic hair, that's totally fine.
Check out Metz's full comments in the video above. And if you're looking to avoid razor burn or folliculitis down there, read this primer on how to shave your bikini line.
This article originally appeared on Women’s Health US.