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How to Put the Kibosh on Ingrown Hairs and Razor Bumps for Good

How to Put the Kibosh on Ingrown Hairs and Razor Bumps

Stop ingrown hairs and razor bumps from ruining your otherwise perfect shave.

Okay, so shaving’s kind of a drag—but it’s one of the quickest, most convenient ways to remove unwanted hair… you know, shy of those uber-annoying (and itchy!) ingrown hairs that disrupt our otherwise silky smooth legs.

You may be tempted to pluck them out with your trusty tweezers, but it’s important to resist the urge. “Coaxing hair out of the ‘bump’ at home by poking or tweezing should be avoided,” Nada Elbuluk, MD, assistant professor in the Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology at NYU Langone Medical Center said in a statement. “This can potentially introduce new bacteria into the follicle and worsen the problem.” So what’s a girl to do?

If your ingrown hairs are giving you ‘tude in the form of redness and inflammation, apply a lotion or oil that has anti-bacterial ingredients in it, such as tea tree oil or lavender oil. Avoid products with alcohol in them, as it may irritate your skin even further.

If you have razor bumps (which are essentially a less severe form of ingrown hairs), dip a cotton ball in undiluted apple cider vinegar and brush it over them. Word on the street is the anti-inflammatory properties soothe irritation, while the acetic acid softens your skin.

To prevent ingrown hairs from forming in the future:

1. Exfoliate before shaving
Exfoliating the area first helps remove dead skin cells so when your hair grows back, it’s easier for it to break through and grow straight. Get a leg up on ingrown hairs (get it?) by taking one of these natural exfoliants for a spin.

2. Use a moisturizing shaving cream
Giving your (sharp!) razor a smooth surface to glide across is crucial. If you’re not big on the cost of shave gel, you can also use your hair conditioner or my latest obsession: Coconut oil. It’s the only thing that gets my chicken legs through our harsh Canadian winters.

3. Don’t shave against the grain
If you’re prone to oodles of ingrown hairs, shave in the direction of hair growth instead of using your usual “against the grain” approach. It’s not as close of a shave, but you won’t end up with so many red bumps that you look contagious either.

4. Don’t poke the bear
“One of the worst things to do when having ingrown hairs is to continue to shave and remove hair in the affected region,” says Dr. Elbuluk. “It’s best to wait until razor bumps have resolved before going back to shaving or engaging further hair removal at the site.”

5. Pat dry and moisturize
Pat your skin dry instead of rubbing it to avoid irritation, then slather on your favorite moisturizer. Bam.

How do you protect against ingrown hairs and razor bumps?

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Image: Shaving photo via Shutterstock

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