Remember the time when things were getting hot and heavy with someone and then when he pulled your panties down, he was practically blinded? Like your pubic area, white as a dove, shone and sparkled so hard he stopped your makeout session to go wear some sunglasses? Oh, it’s not happened with you? I am shocked. Appalled. Gobsmacked. But I believe you because this scenarios is entirely made up.
Having grown up on a staple diet of melanin-phobia and porn, we have been made to believe that the pubic area is always supremely white and looks like a freshly plucked chicken at all times. This, coupled with the fact that we treat conversations around sex as taboo means that every look at the nether regions is met with disappointment because why does my pubic area have to be so underwhelming.
We spoke to the dermatologists to know how common it is (very) and how our personal prejudices might come into play (of course). We started with the obvious questions.
Is A Darker Pubic Area Normal?
The answer, unsurprisingly, is unanimous. Celebrity Cosmetic Dermatologist Dr Soma Sarkar, founder of Dr. Soma’s Aesthetic Clinic, Mumbai says, ” A slightly darker pubic region is absolutely normal. This is going to be universal for all of us. There are certain areas in the body like eyes and genitals where your melanin content is higher and you will have a darker skin than your rest of the body.” Dr Karishma Kagodu, Cosmetic Surgeon, Founder Dr. Karishma’s Aesthetics says pretty much the same thing. This is normal and we need to stop believing otherwise. “It is absolutely normal for skin in the pubic area to be darker than other areas, the melanocytes in this area are comparatively more sensitive to hormonal changes.”
So there is a common consensus. That there’s nothing shameful or embarrassing about your genitals looking like they haven’t been bleached. That’s the thing about porn- given that we take a lot of our sex education from there. It makes you believe that those picture perfect genitals, hairless and clean and are real. They are not. The fluctuations in colour in the pubic region is often caused due to the ravages of hormones. Dr Karishma says, “Hormonal changes like this take place at different stages in our lives starting from puberty, pregnancy, post pregnancy, menopause etc. Friction due to chafing, sexual intercourse or wearing tight panties can also stimulate melanocytes resulting in further darkening the skin. People suffering from PCOS are more prone to hormonal fluctuations, thereby more prone to hyperpigmentation in the pubic area.”
Light Up The Genitals
Dermats are screaming hoarse about not using harsh chemicals on your face. Ignoring all sane advice are people who are willing to bleach their nether regions to make them look a certain way, making a great case for therapy. At the risk of sounding repetitive, your pubic area cannot be fair (it can be lovely however) unless you carry a personal photoshopper around. What makes us think that the region should be gloriously white anyway? Dr Soma says, “The stigma of a darker pubic area is there because of certain fetishes or preconceived notions that people have. It is very subjective.”
Dr Karishma explains that it is all in the head. “Amongst Indians the general perception about dark skin is undesirability – it is associated with it due to centuries of negative programming towards dark skin. This has trickled down to even stigmatizing a darker pubic area, which a cause of daily life and hormonal functions. One must remember that it is absolutely normal to have a darker pubic area and that even people with the lightest skin tone have a darker pubic area as compared to the rest of their body. Timely care and consulting your dermatologist on time can help in reducing darkness, but the primary goal should be hygiene and maintaining pubic health by being cognizant. Confidence is the ultimate key to happiness and a pH balanced, dry and clean pubic area is the answer to that, whether it is light or dark is irrelevant. “
Serve It Bright
Dr Soma says that brightening asks are not that uncommon. “People do come to us for a lot of lightening treatments on the pubic area but even after doing these treatments you cannot have a completely lighter skin because the melanin itself in that area is so dense that you cannot keep exfoliating. Secondly, there are a lot of parts to the pubic area and there are muceza also involved. Certain lasers or chemical exfoliators cannot be used on the mucosal part because it is the most sensitive part and you do not want to disturb the anatomy of your genitals area. So, there are a lot of precautions to be taken. You cannot just keep whitening treatment to have lighter skin.”
Now, the pubic area might be darker and you might be able to wrap your head around it but you’re are pretty sure that turmeric mask you used on your face could work for your pubes. NOPE.
Don’t DIY Treatments!
The dermats are vehement in their opposition but not surprised. Dr Karishma says, “Keep in mind to stay away from all DIY methods to lighten the pubic area and strictly avoid bleaching the skin on this area. Generally a long term use of topical creams and serum is not recommended, absorption rate in the pubic area is higher due to increased blood flow which can prove to be harmful in the long run. “
Dr Soma also warns against it.” There are mild lightening agents available which are non-irritating but it has to be given under the supervision of a dermatologist. Please do not go and attempt to buy these products over the counter and without any clinical assistance because they land you up in huge problems and you might burn your skin rather than getting it corrected.”
Overall, treating your pubic area like they are to be used in a Tide ad is an entirely bad idea and one that we recommend you dismiss it entirely. And oh, please ignore those brightening and lightening creams available aplenty. Vaginal bleaching is also a bad idea. Just leave the area alone!
In case you enjoyed this story, I wrote this one about female comic artists as well.