Q:

How can I avoid getting red, bumpy, awful ingrown hairs when my hair regrows after shaving or a bikini wax? It makes me self-conscious.

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Answers (22)

EXPERT
Daniela Ferri (Licensed Esthetician, Acne Specialist) answered
There are a few things you can do to actually prevent ingrown hairs from becoming a problem in the first place. 

First, it's important to remember that ingrown hair problems are mostly caused by pressure and/or friction.  As someone who performs bikini waxing services almost every day all day long, I've seen the most intense ingrown hair problems occur during two fashion periods - low rise jeans and skinny jeans.  Why is this?

The skin reacts to being constantly rubbed and pressed on by creating something else for the offender to rub and press on instead. The nice, warm environment "down there" is a haven for bacteria that normally live inside pores which are now being swelled up from inflammation caused by the pressure and friction, so the bacteria thrive.  Sometimes excess oil production also comes into play to create a kind of slip leading to impactions of blackhead material, other times it's just inflammation creating swelling and nothing else.  In both cases, hair is prevented from growing out of the follicle properly.

Prevention comes in the form of properly cushioning the skin.  This means... hate to be the barer of bad news ladies... NO thong when wearing denim, tweed, twill or any other type of textured material.  It also means NO LACE and no mesh underwear.  E-VER.  There must be smooth, non-textured, 100% cotton underwear covering the entire affected area at all times.  Many of my clients have enjoyed a great deal of relief from their ingrown problems just by changing completely to boy cut, or boy short, 100% cotton underwear.

Treatment includes manual plus chemical exfoliation to loosen skin cells and impactions so hair can start to come out of blocked follicles, such as an acne face wash with exfoliating spa gloves.  Salicylic Acid gels or liquids can indeed be a bit drying.  Inflamed ingrown hairs benefit from the anti-inflammatory properties of Sal Acid, but again, the drying aspect can be a problem.  What I have found works well are these products, that I sell on my web site :

Step 1) The exfoliating spa gloves I mentioned before, using something like Neutrogena Body Clear Body Wash or PanOxyl 10% BPO wash.
Step 2) an AHA lotion in conjunction with a Benzoyl Peroxide lotion, using the BPO first, OR, a cooling gel designed to calm irritation and redness while hydrating the skin so it releases dead skin cells more easily.
Step 3) After exfoliation and hydration, to really prevent as well as treat an existing ingrown hair problem, a revolutionary, anti-inflammatory, moisture absorbing body powder called FerroRosa FrictionFixTM is indispensable. This amazing powder is applied all over breakout areas before getting dressed each morning, and again before working out or sitting for long periods.  Inflammation and even itching is relieved, while skin is protected from friction and pressure by absorbing moisture and oil.  Also works great for razor burn.

For more info, please visit my web site :

http://www.daniela.com/All_About_Ingrown_Hairs.html
:)
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KAWM commented
This is great info, but what if neither of those situations are a factor? On the back and inside of my upper legs always have little bumps and I never get a smooth shave. I've tried hair removal crms also with no success. Any suggestions?
Meghan commented
Hi KAWM, you should submit this as a separate question about what to do with little red bumps on your upper legs (since those are different types of bumps, and a different issue than this)--and Daniela and others can answer that on your question page. Thanks!
EXPERT
Daniela Ferri commented
Indeed ! This is a condition known as Keratosis Pilaris. It has similar remedies, but yes, I would love to see that as a separate question! :)
SomethingBeautiful4You commented
This is great! Would you pass this along for men's skin after shaving?
EXPERT
Dr. Debra Jaliman, MD (Dermatologist) answered
Folliculitis is the inflammation of the hair follicle caused by bacterial or viral infection. This can cause red, unsightly bumps. Ingrown hairs occur because a curly hair coils in on itself and grows back inwards toward the skin and then the skin covers it up. It can fester with bacteria and become inflamed or even infected. The best way to treat it is to exfoliate well and consistently. I like sonic cleansing systems like the Clarisonic. Neutrogena and Olay make them too. You can use a loofah as well. Also shave at the end of the shower when the hair is hydrated. Shave in the direction of the hair not against it. Always use a sharp razor. Use a topical antibiotic after. When shaving use a brush to lift the hairs off the skin.
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EXPERT
Dr. Darria Gillespie (Emergency Medicine Doctor, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center) answered
Both Tendskin and MiN New York Solution 2 are good options to prevent unsightly (and uncomfortable) red bumps. They also work for post-shaving or any other hair removal options. Just be careful with using them immediately after any procedure that may have made your skin more sensitive as they can be irritating/burn. To be safe, ask the person that does your hair removal procedure for the "ok" before you use them.
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sally answered
deodorant! tip from a stripper who has to shave/wax often
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angelfish03 commented
Like right after you shave or when you put on tight jeans?
Rosa r. answered
Aloe vera gel is my go to.
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liisa answered
Baby powder! No joke it works wonders. Red bumps occur with skin to skin friction and bacteria from sweat and whatnot gets in those areas. Sprinkle baby powder on the area every time after you shower and you'll be good to go!
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Jenna answered
Hi there! I have been regularly getting waxed for the last 8 months and after I started developing some pretty bad ingrown hairs my esthetician recommended a homemade scrub that has absolutely worked wonders! You mix white granulated sugar, olive oil, and a few drops of tea tree oil together into the consistency of a regular body scrub. The sugar exfoliates the skin that grows over the hairs, the oil moisturizes the area, and the tea tree oil is an anti-bacterial agent that kills any bacteria that may get into the pores and cause irritation. I use it daily at the end of my shower... Every now and then I'll use it as a whole body scrub!
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Sarah B. answered
My dermatologist recommended TendSkin to me. It's a liquid you dab on after shaving, and it really does help soothe the area and prevent red bumps, I've found! :)
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Keirsten A. answered
I have been using Tendskin for a few months now and it was an amazing solution! It's taken a little while of using twice a day in order to see results but over time it really works. I would suggest this problem to everyone because I get the worst in grown hairs no matter if I shave or wax
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buzzlove answered
I used to always get ingrown hairs on my legs after waxing.  Then, I started using tea tree oil to remove the wax residue and I have seen the occurence of ingrowns to be down to almost nothing.  You don't need a lot of it and it is also great for a lot of other things.
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Wizker answered
great suggestions, all.
For more advice on razor bump & ingrown hair prevention watch our short videos.
http://youtu.be/Ekf_eUGYaao
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Keilah K. answered
I have used benzoyl peroxide and it works wonders!
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Vicki answered
Before I use these, I use a scrub made of olive oil and epsom salt. I use this and shave, then I do the same procedure again. After that is when I use lidocaine and tea tree oil. I have very thick hair that grows back every day. This works for me.
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Vicki commented
I also use coconut oil as lotion for my legs.
Sophia G. answered
There's a gel I get at the supermarket called "Bikini Zone" and it's a godsend. It's basically just Lidocaine gel, and it really helps get rid of those bumps. Use it after every time you shave or wax, and even in-between and you won't run into irritation. 
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Jen B. answered
I love Get the Bump Outta Here by Relax n Wax. They have a whole line of wax-related products. The no-scream cream is also excellent to numb the pain for those new to waxing or still sensitive to the pain of it. But the Get the Bump Outta Here is fantastic for ingrown hair, and it's a roll-on so there's no waste and no getting stuff on your hands either. Good for both prevention and treatment of ingrown hairs. And, as everyone else has said, exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate. ;)  http://www.relaxnwax.com/product/get-the-bump-outta-here
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kirstens1029 answered
Thanks everyone! I have a lot to choose from now!
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VJMETZ answered
I just went for my first wax in preparation for my honeymoon and I started with my face moisturizer since it's sensitive and after 1-2 days I lightly exfoliated with a sea salt scrub. I doubt the sea-salt scrub would be recommended down there, but I used it mostly at the top where I had the most irritation and could tell the ingrown hairs were going to start-again, just lightly-and i found it worked wonders. I should also say that I used a lot of baby oil as well which was really amazing. If you're using baby oil though you're going to want to make sure it's chemical free and no mineral oils. I personally use Arbonne which is vegan and organic. I love it so much you can even buy it from me! For a first time wax any irritation cleared up in 3 days.
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Vicki answered
I use lidocaine  and tree tea oil.
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Giapia answered
Wow Vicki, that combo sounds great!! I'll give it a try 1st thing tomorrow. 
Thank you
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Chiklet58 answered
What about ingrown hairs in the armpits. They are painful too.
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EXPERT
Daniela Ferri commented
They are painful ! Yikes ! Usually when ingrowns happen there, it's either from shaving that results in hair pointing in the wrong direction after it's been cut with the razor, or waxing where the pulling was not quite right (like up instead of back) or the skin was not pulled taught enough. Same remedies would apply, exfoliation with medicated washing, but in the case of armpits, the product I was talking about before, the FerroRosa FrictionFix would be great over spray deodorant.
nehapatel answered
I just went for my first wax in preparation for my honeymoon and I started with my face moisturizer since it's sensitive and after 1-2 days I lightly exfoliated with a sea salt scrub. I doubt the sea-salt scrub would be recommended down there, but I used it mostly at the top where I had the most irritation and could tell the ingrown hairs were going to start-again, just lightly-and i found it worked wonders. I should also say that I used a lot of baby oil as well which was really amazing. If you're using baby oil though you're going to want to make sure it's chemical free and no mineral oils. I personally use Arbonne which is vegan and organic. I love it so much you can even buy it from me! For a first time wax any irritation cleared up in 3 days. from http://www.joout.com
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EXPERT
Daniela Ferri commented
Look on the label of any baby oil - it's mineral oil with fragrance, that's all it is. :)
Anonymous answered
The thing that's worked best for me is deodorant. Seriously. I put it on right after I get out of the shower and done from shaving. The stripper trick really works. I use plain secret that glides on clear.
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