'Brazilians,' other hair removal may carry risk

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Perhaps you were thinking that removing your pubic hair was giving you a nice clean look? Think again, says a group of dermatologists.

Writing in a sister publication of the British Medical Journal, two French dermatologists and a global health researcher from Emory University suggested that an upsurge in the spread of the sexually transmitted molluscum cantagiosum virus over the last decade may be attributable to the trend of shaving or waxing the hair around the genitals.

The group studied the cases of 30 adults who sought treatment for lesions in and around their genital area in a clinic in Nice, France. Of the six women and 24 men studied, 93 percent used hair removal — shaving, clipping or waxing the hair in their genital region.

"Hair removal (laser excluded) could be a risk factor for 'minor' sexually transmitted infections, such as sexually transmitted molluscum contagiosum and perhaps condylomas" (a subspecies of papillomavirus) the researchers wrote. In children and the immuno-compromised, among whom the molluscum contagiosum virus is most commonly seen, the virus can be spread by scratching oneself.