“After. I. Shaved. My. Butthole,” I responded, with periods added for emphasis because shaving your butt is a task. It’s not like shaving your legs or your armpits—you’re taking a sharp blade to an area where the sun don’t shine with only hope and a prayer. As it’s hard to imagine anything worse than cuts or ingrown hairs on your anus, I asked Evan Goldstein, DO, anal surgeon and founder of Future Method, to share the best way to shave your butt.
First of all, we have hair between our cheeks for a similar reason as under our arms. “These areas both experience lots of sweating, bacteria, and secretions, so it’s meant to be a sort of protective lining,” he says. However, he also says that if you bathe regularly and take care of your bod, it is totally fine to remove your butthole hair, because it doesn’t serve a huge purpose in modern times.
He recommends laser hair removal because it removes hair from the roots and prevents it from growing back, making you less prone to things like ingrown hairs. “If you’re shaving, you have to remember that it’s pretty difficult to get a good look at your anus and the skin in this area is super thin and delicate,” he says. If you decide to forge ahead, he first recommends having a partner do it for you. If you go at it solo, at the very least, try to get a good view in a room that’s well lit. Choose a razor for sensitive skin (he says nowadays a lot of women’s razors for legs fall into this category), and use shaving cream or some other type of lubricant to try to minimize irritation.
“As you can imagine, shaving your butt requires some acrobatics and body contortion,” Dr. Goldstein says. He recommends first trimming the longer hair with a clipper (“so you’re not getting so close to the skin on the first go”) and then pick up your razor. Make sure you’ve got the best view possible, and use one hand to spread your cheeks apart while your other goes in with the razor. “Start from the inside out, on the left and right sides, followed by the front and back. Follow the skin lines and use extra caution,” he says. “Be sure to go extra slow on the front and back area as this skin is much thinner and more prone to injury. Fortunately, for most people, hair doesn’t grow right on the hole itself, so you really only have to trim or shave around it and on the cheeks.”
Dr. Goldstein cautions to be extra careful when shaving or utilizing other techniques like sugaring and waxing, because this is your butthole we’re talking about, and there’s a lot of bacteria and potential contamination. He also notes that you should be aware of potential complications, such as ingrown hairs, abscesses, HPV and HSV activity, and the development of skin tags and other growths.
If you do experience acne or ingrown hairs after shaving your butt, he recommends using a cleanser with salicylic acid. “After shaving, lather the cleanser on your butt and leave it on for three minutes. This will help a lot in preventing ingrown hairs and butt acne that results from clogged hair follicles.” And if you’re planning on doing any butt stuff and experience any irritation or nicks, he recommends waiting three to five days for things to calm down, and then using a toy and exploring yourself to make sure everything is copacetic before bringing in other people.
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