Gross post-waxing bumps of DOOM
April 12, 2014 3:27 PM   Subscribe

I've been getting my bikini area waxed/sugared for a year. While I love the result during the first two weeks, I always end up with the dreaded red bumps (some of them infected with a whitehead and/or with an ingrown hair that I have to pluck out) by week 3 when the new hair growth starts to hit the surface of my skin. I already use a gentle exfoliant daily and apply the usual recommended products throughout the day, to no effect (including Bikini Zone and Tend Skin). What else can I try? More details below the fold!

My skin is fair so the red bumps are honestly more unsightly than the hair that I've removed, so I almost feel like it's not worth the effort! That said, I really like only having to deal with hair removal every 4-5 weeks and it really does look great for the first two weeks, which makes it awesome to do right before vacation. But, I'd love to not look like a diseased freak for the other half of the time.

Every day when I shower I gently exfoliate the bikini area with a scrubby mitt (right now I am using a Spacells bath mitt, which seems to be super popular at all the spas around here; I've also tried the more generic drugstore scrubby glove). Once a week I will apply an exfoliating treatment like Kate Somerville Exfolikate. After I get out of the shower I apply a product that is supposed to prevent the bumps. I've tried:
-Bikini Zone medicated stuff in the tube
-Tend Skin
-PFB Vanish
-Flawless Whish ingrown hair serum
-tea tree oil

None of these products have helped, even if I apply multiple times per day. Is there some other magical product out there that I can try? Something else I should be doing?

Note: I am not interested in other hair removal methods like laser. I have read the other Ask Mefi questions about this and it seems like laser removal is recommended pretty regularly, but it's not my thing because it's often permanent.
posted by joan_holloway to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (13 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Have you tried an antibacterial soap, like Safeguard?
posted by purpleclover at 3:44 PM on April 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: As noted in this previous AskMe, antiperspirant works for me.
posted by kinetic at 3:45 PM on April 12, 2014 [2 favorites]

Light exfoliation and Neosporin cream is the only thing that works for me. Yes, yes, I know, chemical antibacterial stuff is bad, tea tree oil is good, whatever, after 20 years of messing with stuff I know what actually works for me. ;)
posted by erst at 4:02 PM on April 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

Well, I am like you and nothing has ever worked to change it, so this has been my solution for years. Bonus: so much less painful.
posted by fingersandtoes at 4:30 PM on April 12, 2014

Sweet Gesus please stop irritating that already sensitive skin with so frequent abrasive treatment.

Aloe vera, tea tree oil, and coconut oil are anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. I would use aloe or coconut.
posted by jbenben at 4:31 PM on April 12, 2014 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Ah, I forgot, I have also tried aloe vera and coconut oil at various points in the past. While those are nice for keeping the skin hydrated, I still get the bumps.
posted by joan_holloway at 4:33 PM on April 12, 2014

If you are willing to give up being absolutely completely bare, I would recommend instead razor trimmers. Painless, easy to maintain, still get a very very close cut without any of the regrowth trouble from waxing, shaving.
posted by troytroy at 4:54 PM on April 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yes. The bumbs are irritation. Keep using whatever cream or ointment you like (I also heart neosporin like crazy) and stop exfoliating so often.

You are taking off a very very thin layer of skin as well as ripping the hairs out by their roots with waxing and sugaring.

As both hair and skin grow back, you are interrupting the healing and causing inflammation by exfoliating too much.

Just give it a try. Good luck!
posted by jbenben at 4:57 PM on April 12, 2014

Response by poster: jbenben, how frequently would you recommend? For the first few months I was exfoliating only a couple of times per week (sometimes only once per week) and had the bumps. Probably worse than now, actually.
posted by joan_holloway at 5:09 PM on April 12, 2014

Best answer: My local place makes this stuff called Serious Serum, and it's worked out great for me with bikini waxes, way better than Bikini Zone or anything else I've ever tried. My local salon recommends using hydrocortisone for a day or two, and then starting with the Serious Serum at about three days after. They also recommend exfoliating with a gentle glove every few days. You use a tiny bit only, so it's expensive, but it goes pretty far. I've only needed to use it one or twice a day.
posted by bluedaisy at 6:11 PM on April 12, 2014

Best answer: Seconding Kinetic: antiperspirant works like a miracle for this.
posted by thatone at 6:41 PM on April 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Tea tree oil lotion! I quickly figured out that the skin in that area was super dry, which was exacerbating the bumps. Regular moisturising with an antiseptic moisturiser was the answer. It softened up the skin and made exfoliating more effective.
posted by nerdfish at 12:09 AM on April 13, 2014

Response by poster: I can't believe I forgot about the antiperspirant trick - that's something I read out of, like, Sassy when I was in high school and it really did work.

I'm also going to look into the tea tree lotion and Serious Serum. Thanks!
posted by joan_holloway at 12:22 PM on April 13, 2014

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