4 Reasons Why You Keep Getting Ingrown Hairs

More than imperfect pedis and pale legs, it’s ingrown hairs that can seriously cramp our style during the warmer months. Those ugly red bumps are our biggest obstacle to baring it all in a teeny bikini—never mind the fact that they hurt something awful. Ingrown hairs occur when a strand of hair curls back or grows sideways into the skin, resulting in an inflamed, red bump. And when we’re waxing and shaving a lot, they’re more likely to rear their ugly head. Breaking these four bad habits will keep your bikini line happy and a whole lot less bumpy throughout the sunny season.

You’re Waxing Way Too Soon

It can be tempting to remove any hair as soon as it starts to grow in, but scheduling a wax too early will (literally) hurt you in long run. When you wax hair that is shorter than 1/4 of an inch, the wax doesn’t have enough to grip onto, leading hairs to break in half instead of being pulled out by the roots—a recipe for ingrowns, irritation, and a lot of cringing. Practice some patience and allow for some regrowth before you clean up your bikini line.

You’re Still Shaving All Wrong

The cardinal rules of correctly shaving your legs also apply to your sensitive bikini area. Make sure you’re using a moisturizing, alcohol-free shaving cream like Whish Shave Crave Shaving Cream to prevent nicks, and move your razor in the direction of your hair’s natural growth, not against it! Pushing hair in the opposite direction makes it easier for the super-short strands to get trapped underneath as they grow back.

You’re Not Taking a Breather

For the 24 hours following your wax or shave, your skin will be extra-sensitive to heat and friction, and your pores will be open, making them more vulnerable to infection, says Natalia Romanenko, the senior wax expert at Strip Ministry of Waxing in New York City. Don’t work out, swim in an ocean or pool, take a hot shower or sunbathe, which will further inflame skin during that period. Do apply an ingrown hair treatment immediately after, like Whish Flawless Ingrown Hair Serum, which uses willow bark, a natural form of salicylic acid, to prevent and heal bumps. Apply it once a day for seven days, ideally post-shower while skin is still warm so the ingredients can penetrate more deeply.

You Forget to Follow Up

After a week, you’ll be out of the woods as far as the first wave of ingrown hairs is concerned, but maintaining a routine is essential to keeping your skin bump-free. Massage skin in the shower with a scrub to clear away pore-clogging dead skin cells and prevent hairs from becoming trapped. Romanenko recommends (MALIN+GOETZ) peppermint body scrub, which buffs away rough skin with bamboo and pumice and soothes with vitamin E. Exfoliate every four to seven days to keep hairs growing in the right direction and continue to apply the ingrown hair serum every two to three days.

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