Swim season is officially on our minds, meaning it’s time to get our skin ready for some fun in the sun. For those of us who use hair removal methods to prepare, there are two downsides to consider. Red, itchy razor bumps are a result of shaving incorrectly, and they can become increasingly inflamed over time. Ingrown hairs, on the other hand, can develop after any method and need to be removed very carefully to prevent infection. Here, everything you need to tackle both issues and prevent them from recurring—so you can have a carefree season poolside.
After shaving, you may notice small bumps appear in certain areas, disrupting the clean, smooth look you desire (and they can easily develop into scars). Here's our step-by-step advice on how to avoid them.
Prior to shaving, give your body a good scrub. You'll rid the surface of dead skin cells for a smooth result. This will make shaving so much easier (and less treacherous).
Swap Your Razor
Upgrade to a razor with five blades, which allows for a much closer shave, cutting each strand of hair more effectively.
Use Shaving Cream
As tempting as it may be to reach for your soap during a shaving session, don't. It actually strips skin of natural oils and dries out freshly shaved areas.
Eliminate dry, itchy flakes by applying topical hydrocortisone—and don't scratch (or try your best not to!).
Unlike razor bumps, ingrown hairs can form after any hair removal method. They resemble pimples and are filled with fluid surrounding the hair follicle. Here's how to prevent them.
Prevent ingrowns outright by exfoliating with acids rather than textured scrubs. Think of how salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide reduce size and redness of pimples. Exfoliating acids also rid bacteria that can potentially spread.
An anti-inflammatory solution can help diminish the overall appearance of ingrown hairs. Be sure to opt for a product that can be used on all areas where hair has been removed.
Pluck (If You Must)
Sometimes the hair itself will become visible from beneath the pimple. In this case, use sterilized tweezers to carefully remove it.
Once the area is cleansed and treated, it's time to calm the skin. A serum with soothing oils can reduce discomfort as well as smooth the top layer of skin.