How to Get Rid of Ingrown Hairs
You shaved your legs and bikini line and went to sleep with silky-smooth skin . . . only to wake up with angry, itchy red bumps wherever you ran your razor. Ouch. Ingrown hairs sometimes seem inescapable, especially during the summer, when you regularly shave or wax sensitive skin.
Ingrown hairs are individual strands that curl under the skin instead of rising straight from the follicle, causing swelling, pain, and irritation and potentially leading to a more serious infection. But dermatologists say they can be prevented if you tweak your routine when you shave or wax. Shaving in particular is a major cause of ingrowns because the razor blade sharpens the end of the hair strand.
“If you magnify what the hair looks like after you shave, the hair’s end looks pointy instead of square, so it’s easy to pierce and go back into the skin,” explains Francesca Fusco, MD, a New York City-based dermatologist. Before your next short-shorts or bikini outing, follow these tips for gorgeous, smooth, bump-free skin.
Dendy Engelman, MD, a New York City-based dermatologist, recommends prepping your skin by first exfoliating the areas you plan to shave. “Exfoliating before shaving will smooth skin texture and buff away dirt that may be clogging your pores and causing flare-ups,” says Dr. Engelman. And whether you’re planning to shave or not, exfoliate at least once a week anyway using a scrub (Dr. Engelman loves First Aid Beauty’s Cleansing Body Polish) or with a loofah or washcloth. Take care not to overdo it; red, flaky, or peeling skin means you should cut back on how often you slough away.