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MRSA free over a year, Still afraid to Shave
Started by Elle
Posted: June 27, 2013 at 07:43
Almost two years ago I was struggling with recurrent MRSA infections in my right
armpit. After IV antibiotics and several incision to drain abscesses, the MRSA finally
seemed to subside. I stopped shaving, and if I need deodorant I only use a spray on
type. My underarm hygiene now boarders on OCD, I'll spare you the details.

I haven't had any MRSA problems for almost a year now. But I am SICK TO DEATH of
having to wear long sleeve shirts and sweaters to hide the fact that my underarms are
unshaven! It is summer, it is hot; I want to be able to wear tops without fear of my
underarm hair being on display!!!

I want to resume shaving my underarms like a civilized American woman. But I am
terrified of the MRSA coming back. I'm not sure I could handle going through it again.
And I'd never forgive myself if I cause my MRSA to come back and risk infecting my
two-year-old daughter.

WHAT SHOULD I DO!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! To shave or not to shave!? Laser hair removal?
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Re: MRSA free over a year, Still afraid to Shave
Reply #1 by ladyk
Posted: June 28, 2013 at 16:55
Elle -

Congratulations on your infection free status!

You do have a few options beyond shaving… just remember any irritation regardless of hair removal method used can potentially become infected. *Additionally, underarms are a top MRSA colonization site.

*Wash underarms before hair removal.
Preferably with Hibiclens which provides six hour protective residual activity after using.
Hibiclens Antimicrobial+Compatible Moisturizer
http://www.mrsa-forum-usa.com/index.asp?forumID=21232&subject=Hibiclens-Antimicrobial+Compatible-Moisturizer

Hair removal options.
-Depilatory lotions
-Waxing (Better to do this yourself to ensure wax is new, many have picked up MRSA in salons!)
-Electrolysis and laser hair removal

If you choose to shave, it is safest to use a NEW blade. Using minimal strokes and pressure will prevent razor burn, which in turn can become infected. I use foaming Hibiclens antimicrobial cleanser in place of shaving gels/creams. As a precaution shave non affected (L) underarm first so as not to cross contaminate bacteria from previously infected (R) armpit - in the event it may be still colonized. Be conscious about newly hair removed site, and keep bare hands/fingers away! Our hand are responsible for providing bacteria the legs they need to cross contaminate/infect.

Best wishes and continued success,
ladyk

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Re: MRSA free over a year, Still afraid to Shave
Reply #2 by Garlic Warrior
Posted: June 28, 2013 at 20:08
Ladyk, do you know if laser hair therapy is a treatment option for chronic folliculitis?
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Re: MRSA free over a year, Still afraid to Shave
Reply #3 by ladyk
Posted: July 2, 2013 at 14:12
Garlic Warrior -

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you.

In answer to your question, yes.
In my opinion... laser hair removal is a viable option for chronic folliculitis. But if in doing so area becomes irritated/blisters (which apparently has been a post laser treatment complaint from some individuals), this will elevate cross contamination risk. Additionally, if laser treatment is going to be done, it must be done when individual is infection free for obvious reasons.

Pigmentation
[According to the Mayo Clinic, a rare side effect of laser hair removal is the darkening of certain patches of skin(hyperpigmentation) or the lightening of patches of skin (hypopigmentation). In most cases this is only temporary, but in very rare cases, the skin discoloration can become permanent.]

In noting potential pigmentation changes due to laser hair removal, there have also been complaints concerning pigmentation changes associated with folliculitis itself.

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