Razor bumps are not only an unsightly by-product of hair removal, but they can become infected and cause you pain and skin problems. The bikini area can be particularly problematic because the skin is so sensitive. Follow along after the jump to learn how to treat the bumps and get back to smooth, irritation-free skin.

 

Let the hair grow out a bit before shaving again. Shaving over razor bumps will only irritate or tear them open, leaving them vulnerable to infection (and probably not removing much hair in the process). If you can, let the hair grow for a few days and see if it breaks out of the bumps on its own.

 

Resist the urge to scratch the area. It might itch, but breaking the bumps with your fingernails can lead to infection and scarring. Try to hold off as much as you can.

Treat infection with aloe vera then lotion, to leave your skin clear and smooth. If you suspect that you have infected ingrown hairs, try using an antibacterial cream on them each day. Bacitracin, Neosporin, and Polysporin are all possible topical treatments.

Treat scarring with Retin-A. Retinoids, derived from Vitamin A, can help smooth over skin and reduce the appearance of scars or marks left by razor bumps.

  • You might need to see a doctor for a prescription.
  • Do not use Retin-A if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. It can cause severe birth defects.
  • Areas treated with Retin-A are more susceptible to sunburns. Cover up, or wear SPF 45 sunscreen.
  • Don’t use Retin-A on any areas where you plan to wax in the future.— It can make the skin significantly weaker, leading to potential tearing during a waxing session.

Throw out any dull razors. A dull or rusty razor can keep you from getting a clean shave, whether it’s by snagging hairs instead of cutting them, or irritating the skin around the follicle.

 

Don’t press down on the razor as you’re shaving. Applying pressure can make the razor uneven on your skin. Instead, aim to hold it lightly and “glide” it over your bikini area.

Try not to go over the same area twice. If you missed too much to overlook, make the second pass with the grain, instead of against it.

  • Shaving against the grain means to move the razor in the direction opposite of hair growth. For instance, most people are shaving against the grain when they run a razor from their ankle to their knee.
  • Shaving with the grain creates less irritation, but not as close a shave. Try to use this technique as much as you can if you’re going back over an area you’ve already shaved.

Shave in the shower. The steam from a warm shower serves two purposes: it makes the hair softer, and your skin less prone to nicks and irritation.

  • If you usually shave first, consider reorganizing your shower tasks so that you do it last. Try to give it five minutes before you start shaving.
  • If you don’t have time to shower, wet a washcloth with water that’s as warm as you can stand, and lay it over the area you’re going to shave. Try to leave it for two or three minutes before shaving.
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Razor bumps are not only an unsightly by-product of hair removal, but they can become infected and cause you pain and skin problems. The bikini area can be particularly problematic because the skin is so sensitive. Follow along after the jump to learn how to treat the bumps and...