Warmer temps have us coming out of hibernation and reaching for our razors, which means the battle with the unsightly red bikini bumps caused by ingrown Hair ~down there~ is back in full swing. To keep your pubic region pristine this swimsuit season, we talked to a top dermatologist to get the expert strategy for banishing these bad boys once and for all.
"Hair becomes ingrown when, after removal, instead of exiting the skin properly while growing, it grows sideways and curls back into the skin—under the skin," says Sejal Shah, M.D., a dermatologist at SmarterSkin Dermatology in New York City. "This can result in bumps which can be painful, irritated or itchy and can potentially become infected." The coarser and curlier your pubic hair is, the more likely you are to be in for a ingrown fight.
RELATED: 6 Strategies To Banish Ingrown Hairs For Good
Technically, any type of hair removal—whether it's waxing, sugaring, or shaving—can result in ingrown hairs. However, it's most likely to be an issue with shaving since "shaving causes the tips of hairs to become sharp, which can prevent them from properly growing out of the skin," Shah says.
The best way to keep your bikini line free of unsightly ingrowns is to leave your pubes in peace, but if you must remove them, here are Shah's strategies for nixing these suckers once and for all.
Your body is actually pretty damn awesome—here's proof:
"Use a washcloth to wash the area for a few minutes with warm water and a mild cleanser," says Shah. Buffing the area with gentle circular motions will help to dislodge any budding ingrowns and prep your skin for a shave. (We also like this natural body brush from the Women's Health Boutique to help exfoliate and buff your skin!)
In The Shower
When you lather up, make sure you use a moisturizing shaving cream or gel for sensitive skin—your lady bits are precious goods. When it comes to the razor, make sure it's sharp, says Shah (you might want to use a new blade for the best shave). "Shave in the direction of hair growth without applying too much pressure," she says.
After toweling off, Shah recommends applying an OTC hydrocortisone cream from the drugstore to the area to help prevent ingrowns from popping up. You should also take it easy in the bedroom, she says. "Avoid friction to the area 48 hours after hair removal. For example, no sex immediately after shaving." Your bare bikini line will thank you.
If you're doing all these things and still struggling with a lot of ingrowns, you may just be more prone to getting them. In this case, Shah recommends looking into laser hair removal and electrolysis, which are both more permanent hair removal techniques, as alternative options.