Butt hair: We all have it. But what does that floof between your cheeks actually do? Turns out, your inner butt hairs are basically pubes, just in a different location. So what else do you need to know? We asked two dermatologists for the full scoop on those little hairs and how to take care of them:
1. There’s a reason it’s there
“Body hair served an evolutionary purpose of keeping us warm,” says Dr Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. “Hair on the body can generally be categorised as having the same purpose as hair in the genital area or buttock.” So, hair is hair.
Over time, as we evolved, the need for body hair became less and less important, says Zeichner. One thing to note: The amount of hair you have back there, and how thick, coarse and dark it is, is unique to every individual, but some ethnicities tend to have more hair back there than others, says Dr Mona Gohara, associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine.
And, hormonal changes can impact how your booty hair looks and feels.
2. Laser hair removal is best for butt hair
Truly everyone has hair between their cheeks and there’s absolutely no need to get rid of it if you don’t want to. But if a furry behind isn’t your thing, it’s fine to remove the hair, says Zeichner. As with hair removal anywhere else, there is no one-size-fits-all method, though laser is definitely the most effective and least likely to cause any issues.
If you want to get laser hair removal on your bum, you can expect to need four to six treatments, resulting in a 70 percent reduction in hair growth. Using a prescription cream (speak to your doc or derm) can help slow and reduce hair growth even more following laser removal.
“The treatments aren’t actually that painful,” says Gohara. “Butts are pretty sturdy. And having coarse, dark hair actually makes you a better candidate for laser, since the laser identifies hair via pigment.”
That’s why you’ll also want to avoid shaving, waxing or using depilatories (like Nair) for a few weeks leading up to a laser treatment.
After treatments, you can reduce irritation and inflammation by applying a cortisone cream or soothing balm, but check with your derm first to make sure the product is okay to put directly on your bum (it’s a sensitive area!). Avoiding tight clothing and thongs afterward can also give your booty some time to heal.
Of course, always research your laser hair removal facility before getting treatments. “Lasers can burn and scar your skin, especially if you have darker skin,” says Gohara. “You want to make sure the person doing your treatments is board-certified and has training and experience with lasering on all skin types.”
3. You can shave, wax, sugar or use a depilatory, too
Shaving, waxing, sugaring and depilatories each come with their own sets of risks.
For shaving, your biggest issue will be cutting yourself or getting razor burn. With the other methods, you could get a chemical or heat-related burn, says Zeichner.
Oh, and irritation is common. “Any time we yank hair out, there’s a propensity for inflammation,” says Gohara. “Depilatories are probably the least irritating after lasering because they don’t pull the hair.”
All of these hair-removal methods also put you at risk of developing folliculitis, he says. This is a small infection that develops within the hair follicle and results in red bumps with white puss that often resemble acne. Folliculitis usually heals on its own within two weeks and can be prevented by washing with mild soap after hair removal and avoiding tight clothing.
If you’re shaving, use a razor with one or two blades, take single strokes in the direction of the hair growth, and use ample shaving cream. If you’re waxing, soothe irritated skin afterward with cortisone cream, or ask your derm for an antibiotic or benzoyl peroxide cream if you can’t seem to kick irritation.
If any bumps are causing you pain beyond mild irritation, see a doc, since it could be a stubborn ingrown hair or cyst.
4. It’s important to keep that area moisturised
No matter how you are removing hair, remember that the process affects both the hair and the skin, says Zeichner. In order to maintain healthy skin, it’s important that you keep the area well moisturised. An inflamed, damaged skin barrier promotes both razor burn and increases your risk of developing ingrown hairs.
There are a variety of aftershave creams and lotions that you can use, including pubic hair oils, which have become very popular to use after bikini waxes, says Zeichner.
Just remember to check out the ingredients — alpha or beta hydroxy acids, retinol and vitamin C can cause irritation when applied directly over freshly shaved skin, says Zeichner. Depending on the sensitivity of your skin, proceed accordingly.
This article was originally published on www.womenshealthmag.com
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