A recently published bit of dermatological research has looked at trends in injuries linked to hair removal. The researchers, noting that most hair removal injury research has focused more on specific body regions, ages, or genders, wanted to get a broader view of the matter. To that end, they looked over reports of hair removal-linked injuries that resulted in emergency room visits between 1991 and 2014.
During this thirteen-year period, there were roughly 292,053 hair removal injuries in the United States that resulted in emergency room visits. The yearly rate was highest in 2013, when it peaked at around nine injuries for every 100,000 people. Among these numbers, a few trends appeared:
- Up until 2010, those who were aged 65 or older had the highest rate of injury.
- From 2011 onwards, the highest injury rates were seen in the 19–34 age range
- Men had the highest rate of facial injury and women had the highest rate of lower limb injury.
- Starting from 2010, those aged 19–34 have also shown increasing rates of trunk or pubic region injuries.
This data, while mildly interesting and probably able to inspire a few punchlines, is unfortunately not that useful in the larger scheme of things. Considering the vast assortment of hair removal products and treatments that are available on the market, learning more about the types of injuries is essential. Between waxing accidents, laser burns, over-enthusiastic use of a razor, or other potential forms of mishap, it would be really nice to know what kind of injuries these people have been experiencing.
Unfortunately, none of this is provided, nor is there mention of things like relative risk of injury. While a study’s abstract is not required to say everything (and probably shouldn’t), this one has given too little context to make use of its proclamations. The only real takeaway from this is that, if you are between ages 19 and 34, you should probably be extra careful when shaving your privates.
Swain, T., et. al., “Hair removal-related injuries in the United States, 1991-2014,” Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 2016; 10.1111/jocd.12283.