Recently, on the George Lopez Show, actress Jennifer Love Hewitt gushed about “vajazzling,” a new trend in ladies’ intimate fashion that involves rounding out a bikini wax with the decorative application of Swarovski crystals, Salon reports. The procedure, which is offered at Completely Bare spa in New York City for $115, including the cost of the bikini wax and your choice of crystal design, takes about 45 minutes. The decoration is applied to the freshly waxed skin using an adhesive on the back of the crystals—which are applied in a large pattern or, in the case of certain detailed designs, are also individually hand-placed—and the glitzy result is supposed to last about five days.
Yet, if bedazzling your nether regions sounds appealing as a way to mark the next special occasion, you may want to consider potential health risks first. TIME asked Dr. Suzanne Merrill-Nach, a San Diego-based obstetrician and gynecologist in private practice, what potential hazards of crystal crotches could be. Though she had not yet seen a thus bejeweled patient, a description of the process left Merrill-Nach concerned about the potential for infection. While waxing and shaving intimate areas already poses a risk for infection due to ingrown hairs, applying glue to raw, freshly waxed skin may increase this risk by trapping bacteria, she says. “If you’re putting glue on skin that’s raw from being waxed, you’re really creating a nice environment for bacteria to grow,” she said. In fact, even with more traditional waxing (sans crystal application) Merrill-Nach recommends giving the skin up to two days to recover—before exposure to sun, for example.
So, what would she recommend to a patient considering the decoration? “I would certainly suggest that she be very careful that the salon is following good, safe practices.” For waxing, she says, those safety precautions include ensuring that the esthetician uses a new stick for each application of wax, does not touch the bare skin without gloves and disposes of remaining wax after each client. Additionally, she emphasizes the importance of giving the skin ample time to recover. “I would not do it to freshly waxed skin,” she says. “You would want that skin to have a day or two to recover, to heal and to be sure that there isn’t any sign of infection before you put glue on it.”
As for any potential hazards posed by em, dislodged crystals, Merrill-Nach said that would likely be a bigger issue for romantic partners than for the “vajazzled” lady. “I think you would notice it if something got where it didn’t belong,” she says. And even if they did end up coming loose, she says it’s unlikely that the crystals could make their way to the urethra or cervix and cause harm before the woman would notice. “I would be more concerned about bacterial infection than physical abrasions they might cause,” she said.
Yet, aside from the potential health risks, Merrill-Nach admitted that she didn’t quite see the appeal for romantic partners. “I can’t imagine bouncing on them feels that nice,” she said.