Bikini wax carries hidden danger -, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Bikini wax carries hidden danger

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(NBC) - For most women who get a bikini wax this time of year, the biggest concern is the "ouch" factor, but that may turn out to be the least of their worries.

"Girls want to have those little skimpy thong bikinis, so they basically want to be hairless in this area," dermatologist Dr. Susan Stuart explained. "And as you know in any aesthetic procedure there are inherent risks."

In New Jersey, officials recently considered prohibiting Brazilian waxes after two women were hospitalized for infections, one of them diagnosed with a potentially life-threatening bacterial infection of the skin and underlying tissue called cellulitis. That woman had to have surgery and spent 15 days in the hospital hooked up to an IV.

"And when you mechanically breach that area and create that portal of entry for bacteria and yeast, you can set yourself up for inflammation as well as infection," Dr. Stuart said.

Stuart prefers the permanent laser treatments she performs, but it can be pricey at more than $1,000 for the recommended five treatments.

So she has this advice for women who want to stick with waxing: "People are always asking me these questions. First and foremost do your homework, be a good consumer."

She said make sure the aesthetician or cosmetologist has an up-to-date license, ask to see certificates showing they've taken courses in Brazilian waxing and look for a sterile environment.

"They want to use a new spatula every time they apply the wax to the affected area," Stuart noted. "What they call double dipping is taboo, it's a definite no-no."

The wax used can matter, too.

"The best waxing is what we call hard waxing," Stuart commented. "It tends not adhere to the skin, it just adheres to the hair, so we're not going to pull off that skin to create that portal of entry for bacteria and yeast."

And she tells women to be aware of any signs there may be a serious problem.

"If you're not feeling well, if you start developing a fever, you don't feel well, your appetite goes down - if you have any of these signs, we recommend you see your physician," she said.

Stuart also recommends that women use an over-the-counter topical antibiotic ointment for a few days after treatment.

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