Popularized in an episode of Sex in the City, it involves removing all body hair.
At Spa Radiance, the hairless look is growing in popularity. Angelina Umansky, owner, Spa Radiance: “This year has been the biggest year for Brazilian waxing ever at the Spa.”
Twenty-year-old Stella Chung is a regular client. Stella Chung, hair waxing client: “I want to make sure it’s clean there, and for hygiene issues, too.
” What about the pain? Angelina Umansky, owner, Spa Radiance: “We don’t use a lot of numbing creams because they take awhile to kick in. But we do small patches.”
Stella Chung, hair waxing client: “Initially, when I first got it done, of course it hurt. It’s more like a stinging feeling. But it’s really fast and quick. But when you get it done everything, three weeks or not, you get used to it.” And Stella says her partners prefer it, too.
Stella Chung, hair waxing client: “Usually, the partners that I’m with, they prefer the bare because I think it’s a whole trend thing.”
In fact, for an entire generation, hairless is becoming the new standard of beauty. For almost any female between 15 and 25, the message seems to be bare is better.
Male, name withheld: “It shows they just try to take care of their bodies. You know, like it portrays them more like femininity when it’s not so, when it’s hairy.”
Male, name withheld: “I’m just not attracted to hair, I guess. I don’t know. It’s not something that is appealing.”
Female, name withheld: “I know a lot of guys prefer it, and I know a lot of guys joke about women not being hairless in certain areas, and it is kind of weird. So I think there are social pressures to conform to being more hairless these days, for sure.Even in high school – that’s where it started, and it’s just getting to the point where most women are.”
There are real concerns here. First, this body hair has lots of functions, including providing protection and lubrication for tender tissues. And while shaving or waxing all your body hair is one thing, many women are turning to lasers for hair removal. But with any laser, there is the potential for burns and serious infections, like triggering a herpes outbreak.
For Berkeley physician Christine Brozowski, the demand for total laser hair removal is skyrocketing.
Christine Brozowski, M.D., physician and laser specialist: “It’s just a very popular thing.” She cautions in untrained hands, patients could be harmed.
Christine Brozowski, M.D., physician and laser specialist: “I think that laser procedures in general are very safe. However, when used not in the proper hands there is a greater chance of having a complication such as hyper, hypo pigmentation (those are changes in the skin color), or infection, or burning.”
She routinely pre-treats a lot of patients with an antiviral medication to prevent a herpes outbreak. Laser hair removal requires several treatments, six weeks apart to destroy the hair follicles during their growth cycle.
That leads to one more caution: Christine Brozowski, M.D., physician and laser specialist: “Your hair is not going to grow back. So you need to know that. It’s not a six-week thing. It’s that your hair is not going to grow back.”
Even more than tattoos or piercing, this is one fashion trend you may be stuck with for life.
Further complicating the problem is that many teens and young adults are getting treated at spas or salons – not at dermatologist’s office. So the risk of infection and burns is far greater.