Those red bumps, irritation and ingrown hairs all caused by shaving or waxing
are the last thing you want to see…let alone in your nether regions. Questions
about how to get rid of those unsightly, embarrassing bumps are among the most
frequently asked on ChickRx. So we’ve compiled six effective strategies you can use
to treat those rash-like red bumps next time your skin decides to go haywire after a
wax or shave.
First: A Word On Preventing Red Bumps
Of course, the key to not having to deal with ingrown hairs and skin irritation is to
prevent them altogether. So before your next shave or wax, follow these important
Make sure you are never waxing or shaving skin that is already irritated. If your skin is particularly inflamed or broken out with bumps, waxing or shaving will further irritate the area and could even lead to serious skin infections or scarring.
Exfoliate the area before you wax or shave.
Before you shave (assuming your skin is not irritated), make sure you soak in warm water or let your skin absorb the hot steam from the shower for at least three minutes.
Apply a protective shave gel rather than a cream as creams can clog your pores.
Make sure you’re using a clean, sharp razor (a new one if it’s disposable), shave in the direction of the hair growth, and do not pull the skin tight to try to get a closer shave (yep, this can cause ingrown hairs).
After shaving or waxing, make sure the area is completely clean and dry, then apply a layer of baby powder, coconut oil or other soothing, protective product.
Read here for more on the expert-recommended step-by-step strategies to prevent
red bumps and irritation.
If you do get red razor bumps, though, let’s talk about how to treat them. Those
bumps are caused by ingrown hairs—hair that curls back on itself and grows into
the skin, causing inflammation and redness. Sometimes these ingrown hairs/bumps
also get infected, causing folliculitis.
“The best way to treat [ingrown hairs] is to exfoliate well and consistently,” explains
dermatologist Dr. Debra Jaliman. The goal with exfoliating is to loosen skin
cells and impactions so the hair will be released from the blocked hair follicle.
Dr. Jaliman recommends using a sonic cleansing system like the Clarisonic, or the
versions made by Neutrogena and Olay. If you’re not already using one of these
skincare tools for your face and don’t want to invest, you can always use a loofah
Just make sure that if you use a loofah, you switch it out regularly to avoid
contaminating your fresh, clean skin with bacteria. (Read here for more on that
and other unsanitary habits you may not realize you’re doing in daily life).
If manual exfoliation alone isn’t cutting it for treating your bumps, licensed
esthetician Daniela Ferri recommends trying a chemical exfoliant.
The best way to do this is by using an acne wash that contains salicylic acid or
benzoyl peroxide. Gently massage it onto the affected skin with exfoliating spa
gloves, rinse with warm water and pat drying, being careful not to tug or rub too
much on the skin—this will only cause more skin damage and inflammation.
Salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide have anti-inflammatory properties that can help
treat redness and irritation, but Ferri warns that for some they can be too over-drying.
After exfoliating either chemically or manually, you can apply products to further
treat and soothe your irritated skin.
To help reduce redness and inflammation, you can apply an aspirin mask to the area
with razor burn. Dissolve two aspirin pills in a few drops of water until you achieve
a paste-like consistency. Apply this to the affected area for a few minutes and then
rinse off completely.
All-Natural Options: Tea Tree Oil & Aloe Vera
You can also take an all-natural, organic approach to soothe razor burn or irritated
skin. Try applying either tea tree oil or aloe vera to the skin using a clean cotton ball.
These naturally soothing products will help to calm the skin and reduce redness and
sensitivity, and you don’t have to worry about any added chemicals or ingredients
that might be irritating for sensitive skin.
If you tend to get more severe outbreaks of bumps, you can apply products like
Tendskin or FerroRosa FrictionFixTM, which ChickRx experts recommend. These
products work by reducing inflammation and itching while reducing refraction, and
absorbing moisture and oil that can lead to further breakouts.
If you can’t easily get these products, you can also try a topical corticosteroid cream
(hydrocortisone cream), which helps reduce inflammation and pain.
If you still do not see improvement, visit your doctor who can prescribe antibiotic
creams to remedy the situation.
No Picking, Itching or Friction
Although ingrown hairs and irritation may induce you into a fit of itching and
scratching, try not to. This will only irritate the area further and slow your skin’s
healing process. And under no circumstances, should you pick at any bumps that are
inflamed—you know better.
For the underarms, avoid wearing constructing tops to prevent fabric from rubbing
on the skin, as this can hinder the healing process and also cause more bumps to
form. Pass on wearing rough pant materials (like jeans) for a few days if you’re
dealing with a bout of sensitivity on your legs or bikini area and stick to wearing
only cotton underwear (other types of underwear fabric—and g-strings—can cause
friction against your skin and prevent proper healing).
And don’t forget to shower right after your workouts. This will not only help treat
bumps from shaving, but prevent blemishes from forming on your back as well.
Read here for more tips on how to prevent back acne.
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