With winter almost behind us, it’s time to get bikini-body ready. No, we’re not talking about hitting the gym — we’re talking about tending to the hair down there. Enter the Brazilian wax.

While going hair-free can be totally liberating (and often completely safe), it can also come with potentially harmful side effects. Ahead, we’re revealing the need-to-know symptoms that indicate your Brazilian wax may be going south.

Infected ingrown hairs
Pulling a hair out by the root causes a thinner, much weaker hair to grow back in its place. As such, this new hair has a harder time finding its way to the surface of your skin in a straight shot. When mixed with bacteria or buildup of dead skin cells, it could result in unsightly, painful boils. While ingrown hairs aren’t deadly, its chronic appearance may convince you to stop waxing altogether.

Bacterial infection
Pubic hair creates a natural barrier to keep things clean and prevent viruses, so removing it makes you more susceptible to infections. Combined with the moist, warm environment of your nether regions, bacteria can easily thrive. While ingrown hairs are a milder side effect, infections like cellulitis can have life-threatening results when absorbed into the bloodstream. If you experience fever, rapid heartbeat, or purple patches on your skin after a wax, you should visit your doctor immediately.

Genital warts
Ripping out your hair also leaves behind tiny open wounds that are invisible to the naked eye, which increases your risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections. Genital warts are one of the most common of the bunch and can typically be cured with topical medications. When it’s left untreated, some high-risk strains can lead to cervical cancer, so make sure to keep an eye on those if that occurs.

Waxing irritates the skin, and when done poorly, it can cause chronic inflammation and scarring. If you experience any recurrent discomfort, you may want to switch to shaving to keep your skin looking healthy in the long run.

A waxer should know how to regulate the temperature of the wax so as not to hurt your skin. If you’re using any anti-aging or acne creams that contain a retinoid, you’re more likely to experience burning as these creams loosen the skin cells and increase exfoliation. An easy fix? Make sure your waxer is informed before you begin!

xx, The FabFitFun Team