Can I use a depilatory cream on my male genitals?
August 4, 2009 11:40 AM   Subscribe

Can I use a depilatory cream on my male genitals? or Non-sharp ball hair removal suggestions.

My scrotum is very wrinkly and loose, and it grows long, straggly hairs that I'd like to remove. Similar stragglers also grow around the base of my penis and up a few inches. I use a trimmer to keep the above-the-genitals patch tidy, but even with the plastic guard on it's too sharp and poky to be effective any further down. I can't use scissors or a razor either, again due to the looseness of the skin in the region (and because I have shaky hands).

Will Nair leave me screaming and scarred forever? I imagine waxing would for sure. Searching online I can only find totally unhelpful fake 'answers page' ads for 'bodygroomer' electric razors and the like. Are there any other options for hair removal from delicate man parts?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (31 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
it could definitely work-- you'll want to test it on a small area of skin (perhaps the inside of your thigh) to make sure it doesn't irritate you too much or cause an allergy.
posted by Eicats at 11:42 AM on August 4, 2009

p.s. be prepared for a mess
posted by Eicats at 11:43 AM on August 4, 2009

A friend of mine tried Nair once. He got a lot of swelling and irritation. He didn't try it again.

Would you consider plucking with a pair of tweezers?
posted by Solomon at 11:44 AM on August 4, 2009

I don't think Nair or Neet would bother you as long as you keep it off your mucous membranes. Women use it on their facial skin; that's pretty delicate too. To be on the safe side, make a point to underestimate how long it will take to work the first few times as you get used to the product. When you apply it (maybe using a butter knife or Q tip), be sure to get the cream right at the base of the hairs you're trying to remove, and keep a close eye on the hairs. In 2-4 minutes, when they start to look "squiggly", use a folded peice of paper to scrape off the cream, then rinse with lots of cool water and finally rub the hairs gently with a wet cloth to remove them. Make sure to rub after rinsing- the goal is to remove all the cream first, then gently sand off the softened hair after the cream is gone. Used properly, Nair will leave your skin very slightly swollen and numb for an hour or so. If you leave it on too long, or rub it into your skin, you'll get small scabs in your hair follicles and a feeling like a sunburn that will last a few days. I've never seen any worse reaction than that.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 11:47 AM on August 4, 2009

I've used depilatories down there with no problems, but then again I'm a woman. I would, however, suggest a gentler one than Nair.
posted by biochemist at 11:47 AM on August 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

I knew a guy who used it on his face once. He got very red and it was a bit painful. On the other hand, women use depilatory cream on their "bikini area" as it's called all the time with no problems. I think you'll be fine using it on your own "bikini area," just don't get excited and decide you can give up shaving your face too.
posted by Houstonian at 11:48 AM on August 4, 2009

posted by rhizome at 11:51 AM on August 4, 2009

Many waxers do male bikini/Brazilian waxes... look around for someone who makes a point of saying they do this. It'll last you for like six weeks and the waxer will be as thorough as you request.
posted by sadiehawkinstein at 11:53 AM on August 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

There's a moderately famous New York appellate case called Cooley v. Carter-Wallace, Inc., in which a plaintiff sued Nair regarding whether or not its instructions not to apply the product to one's genitals were sufficient. The case stuck in my mind because of the sentence, "Mr. Cooley experienced a severe infection which eventually disintegrated his scrotum and caused a prolapse of his testicles."

I'd imagine that this is a relatively uncommon outcome, but I would definitely find another route.
posted by Phlogiston at 12:02 PM on August 4, 2009 [13 favorites]

Yes. Magic Powder depilatory works just fine. I wouldn't suggest trying to use some of the more well known, more powerful creams, though.
posted by majick at 12:05 PM on August 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

This is sort of off-topic, but the trick to shaving wrinkly portions of skin is to spread the skin out flat and taut, and then go slowly. I would recommend using one of those Bic razors rather than an electric razor, and instead of using shaving cream or something foamy (which makes it hard to see any stray wrinkles), use hair shampoo that's lightly lathered. You can use one hand to just sort of hold a small section of skin taut, then shave it with your dominant hand.
posted by muddgirl at 12:38 PM on August 4, 2009

Two words:

...cold shower...

...followed by a razor. Works great.
posted by cosmac at 12:39 PM on August 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

Nair will produce a burny ouchy situation that you will not want. Avoid Nair at all costs.
posted by jessamyn at 12:40 PM on August 4, 2009

Well, Burhanistan, most of the guys I know who like it clean-shaven seem to prefer a razor. There shouldn't be any cutting or pinching if the guy is zen about it. A beard trimmer would work but it will definitely leave a stubble, and can sometimes feel like it's pinching or tugging at the hair if the blades aren't in the best shape.
posted by muddgirl at 12:51 PM on August 4, 2009

Burns instantly, and like crazy. Do not do this.

The Bodygroom razors are legit. You can buy them in all the normal places that sell electric razors. They work, and as a bonus will not burn/scar you for life.
posted by Pufferish at 12:52 PM on August 4, 2009 [2 favorites]

Seconding waxing as the alternative you want. I've heard it referred to jokingly as the back, sack and crack wax. But I would simply call around and find a local place that does male bikini area waxing.
posted by greekphilosophy at 1:24 PM on August 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

How about a product like Finishing Touch? It's like a mini-electric razor about the size of a pen designed for sensitive areas, such as face and bikini line.
posted by dreaming in stereo at 1:24 PM on August 4, 2009

Every dude has loose skin in that region.

I'll drop this now, as the OP probably doesn't care.
posted by muddgirl at 1:31 PM on August 4, 2009

I am going to second muddgirl here (my HMC brethren):
-Stretch a razor-width section of your bag, shave it
-Stretch another razor-width section of your bag, shave it
-Continue stretching and shaving til your bag is sans hair

I have never had a problem with this technique, not even a nick.
posted by milqman at 1:54 PM on August 4, 2009

I used Nair on my scalp to finish off a shave job. It burnt and left little lumps. I would not recommend it for your scrotum.
posted by b33j at 2:34 PM on August 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

I use one of these (Philips Bodygroom) for that area. It's actually designed for guys, for stuff like this. No ouchy problems. Just takes some patience and practice- you sorta have to hold things with one hand and maneuver the shaver with the other, but you eventually figure out what works.
posted by dnash at 2:38 PM on August 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

nthing a razor. I've heard really bad things about depilatories and I believe many of them say right on the box that they're not meant to be used on genitalia (the bikini line is a different thing).

Do you have a significant other that can shave it for you? Presumably you're not doing this just for your own benefit. He or she is not going to be as nervous and shaky as you would be, plus they can do it at eye level.

If not, get it waxed as sadiehawkinstein suggests.
posted by desjardins at 2:47 PM on August 4, 2009

Do not use Nair on your scrotum, penis or nipples. Get a wax.
posted by infinitewindow at 3:12 PM on August 4, 2009

The best depilatory cream for sensitive areas hair removal is Magic Shave (sensitive skin formula). It looks something like this. Much less irritation than a traditional depilatory, but there's an added step where you have to scoop out the powder and mix it with water which is a slight hassle.
posted by wiretap at 3:18 PM on August 4, 2009

My ex-boyfriend did this with horrible effects. Burning, bumps, redness, doubled over in pain. He was uncomfortable for days. I think the odds of this aren't good enough to risk it.
posted by Lullen at 4:37 PM on August 4, 2009

He or she is not going to be as nervous and shaky as you would be, plus they can do it at eye level.

If my SO asked me to shave his balls for him, damn right I would be nervous and shaky. I'd be absolutely terrified of accidentally hurting him. So OP, I'd recommend if you go this route you make sure your own SO is relaxed and comfortable with the idea.
posted by lwb at 5:33 PM on August 4, 2009

Stretch the skin taught and use a safety razor. Have you tried it? It's really not that big of a deal, shaky hands or not.
posted by cj_ at 6:26 PM on August 4, 2009

Sweet Jesus, NO! Most emphatically do not do this! Nair is basically lye in moisturizing cream. It can cause burning sensation on your legs, never mind the thinner and more sensitive skin on your private bits.

I think it even says right on bottle: Do not use on pubic region or face.
posted by chairface at 10:08 PM on August 4, 2009

In case it wasn't clear:
posted by chairface at 10:09 PM on August 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

I've used both Nair and Veet on my balls. At different times, that is. Each time I've done it, I was uncomfortable for a day or so. I prefer having someone professional give me a brazilian.

Look on Craigslist, in the Beauty section. Most of the waxing ads will mention prices and whether or not males are welcome.
posted by faceonmars at 10:50 PM on August 4, 2009

Someone said above, but I'll repeat: bikini area skin and scrotum are very different. Ball skin is more like eyelid skin than the fleshy area around the upper thigh. That's a non-scientific analogy but a pretty decent one in my mind.

I tried Nair on my legs-- once-- and the irritation just wasn't worth it.

If you want hair-free balls, get a professional to do it. Just thinking about what could go wrong makes me cringe, and I'm a girl.
posted by vincele at 6:44 AM on August 5, 2009

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