Risk of contracting molluscum contagiosum might be increased by fashionable pubic hair removal, including “Brazilians”, according to a study
The condition, which is a viral infection of the skin, is relatively common in children and people whose immune systems are compromised by illness or drugs.
Molluscum contagiosum can also be passed on through sex, and over the last 10 years the number of sexually transmitted cases has risen.
Authors of the study wanted to find out whether the larger figure of such infections was connected to the increasing popularity of pubic hair removal among patients who visited a private skin clinic in Nice, France, between January 2011 and March 2012.
A total of 30 cases of molluscum contagiosum were reported during this time, six of which were women.
Some 93% of the patients in the group, which had an average age of 29.5, had had their pubic hair removed. Shaving was the most popular method of removal, with 70%, while 13% had it clipped and 10% had it waxed.
In four cases, signs of the infection, which manifests itself as pearly papules, had spread up to the abdomen. Other associated skin conditions, including ingrown hairs, warts, folliculitis, cysts and scars were evident in 10 cases.
Molluscum contagiousum can spread relatively easily by self-infection, such as scratching. The authors therefore suggested hair removal might also facilitate transmission as a result of the micro trauma it causes to the skin.
Researchers noted that it has become fashionable to shave off pubic hair in recent decades, with men also increasingly following the trend.
They said the reasons for removing genital hair remain unclear, although they suggested it could be linked with internet based pornography, increased sexual sensation, an unconscious desire to simulate an infantile look or a desire to distance ourselves from our animal nature.
Sign our Speak Out Safely petition to support a transparent and open NHS. We are calling on the government to implement recommendations from the Francis report that will increase protection for staff who raise concerns about patient care.