The best way to deal with razor bumps south of the border is to avoid them in the first place. We'll get to some information about treating the symptoms of a shaving session gone wrong in a second, but before we do, here are some tips for the next time you decide to deforest your nether region:
- Apply warm water - Make the hair you plan on shaving softer and more pliant by bathing or showering just prior to grabbing your razor. Where shaving is concerned, warm water is your friend. For a faster approach, press a warm, wet (clean) washcloth to the area for 30 seconds or so. If you're using an electric razor, dry the area thoroughly before proceeding.
- Use moisturizer - Lubricate your skin with a shaving gel or cream. There are lots of products on the market that will further soften your skin and prepare the hair for easy removal. Regular application of these products will have a cumulative effect.
- Disinfect - Opt for a cream or gel that contains disinfectant ingredients. Think of it as added insurance against problems with infection.
- Prepare your tools - Use a new (sharp) razor blade and a clean razor. Many experts prefer an old-fashioned, manual razor with multiple closely spaced blades to an electric razor.
- Prune - For a clean, hassle free shave, make it a two-part process. Trim longish hairs with scissors before going over the area again with a razor. Shorter hair is better. If it's a choice between cutting yourself with an ill-judged snip or settling for slightly longer hair for the razor to handle, though, by all means save your skin.
- Go with the flow - Direct the razor in downward strokes so you're shaving in the direction in which the hair grows. This will reduce irritation and make smooth, angled cut ends that are less likely to curl and cause problems with ingrown hairs.
- Protect your skin - Now that the deed is done, consider applying a product formulated to reduce irritation after shaving. Some, like Bikini Zone, are specifically designed to treat the sensitive skin around the pubic area. To further reduce the risk of ingrown hairs, apply a glycolic acid or salicylic acid cream to help slough off dead skin that can block hair follicles, producing painful bumps and creating the potential for infection.
If these recommendations come a little late to avoid red blotches and bumps from shaving, these tips will help you deal with bikini season woes:
- Know the enemy - Redness may be caused by simple irritation as the hair begins to grow back. Red bumps can also be the result of ingrown hairs burrowing into the skin, or folliculitis, an inflammation of the hair follicle.
- Treat itching and redness - If you have inflamed, irritated skin, a topical hydrocortisone cream applied to the area will provide relief from the itching and tenderness. It will also soften the skin, making it easier for the hair to grow naturally. Most treatments are applied twice daily until the symptoms disappear.
- Deal with ingrown hairs - Getting ingrown hairs to straighten up and start marching in the right direction requires removing dead skin, softening the skin around the hair and gently shifting the hairs into a new trajectory. You can do this with gentle exfoliation and massage using a clean cloth, loofa, sponge or very soft bristled brush. Finish off with an antibacterial ointment that will disinfect the area and speed up healing. You can also use a hydrocortisone cream to deal with itching and discomfort.
- Protect your tender parts - After treating razor bumps, wear loose, comfortable clothing until the irritation goes away -- well, when you're not actually in your teeny-weeny bikini, anyway. Loose panties are a good idea, too. Hey, aim for comfort. Your tender parts deserve it.
- Declare a friction free zone - Red, tender, itchy skin is nature's way of telling you to protect your hide. Keep freshly shaved spots friction free until the redness and discomfort disappears.
- American Academy of Dermatology. "Treating excess body hair could remedy a hairy situation." 3/16/12. (8/21/12). http://www.aad.org/stories-and-news/news-releases/treating-excess-body-hair-could-remedy-a-hairy-situation
- Bella Sugar. "Unconventional Ways to Treat Bikini Bumps." 7/14/09. (8/21/12). http://www.bellasugar.com/10-Unconventional-Ways-Treat-Bikini-Bumps-3414597
- Cosmopolitan. "Bikini Bump No-No." (8/21/12). http://www.cosmopolitan.com/hairstyles-beauty/how-to/bikini-bump-no-no
- Daily Glow. "How to Get Rid of Bikini-Line Razor Burn." 10/8/09. (8/21/12). http://www.dailyglow.com/skin-care-tips/how-to-prevent-and-get-rid-of-bikini-razor-burn.html
- Every College Girl. "How to...Shave Your Bikini Area." (8/21/12). http://everycollegegirl.com/how-to-shave-your-bikini-area/
- Marie Claire. "Razor Burn." (8/21/12). http://www.marieclaire.com/hair-beauty/how-to/razor-burn-prevent
- Mayo Clinic. "Avoid razor burn." 8/23/11. (8/21/12). http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/health-tip/HT00091
- Palo Alto Medical Foundation. "Pubic Hair Removal: Shaving." (8/21/12). http://www.pamf.org/teen/health/skin/pubichairremoval.html#Possible%20Consequences