How to treat/prevent ingrown hairs
April 13, 2008 7:07 PM   Subscribe

How does one treat, eliminate, and prevent ingrown hairs and red bumps from from hair waxing, especially in the pubic region?

Totally annoying. How do I treat the ones I've developed and what can I do in the future to minimize or prevent the occurrence of these pesky little things?
posted by oldlies to Health & Fitness (22 answers total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
Rub cortisone cream on your skin right afterwards. Cortisone cream also helps calm bumps that exist.
posted by Countess Elena at 7:15 PM on April 13, 2008

Tendskin, which you can get at sephora. Or you can google "homemade tend skin" and make it yourself.

A very rough recipe is 4 oz. rubbing alcohol, oz. witch hazel and 20 uncoated generic aspirin dissolved in. Dab on with a cotton ball. Tendskin is like $20, the homemade version is like under $5 and I think it actually works slightly better.
posted by whoaali at 7:18 PM on April 13, 2008 [12 favorites]

Oxy-10 wash works for some people. It can be a bit harsh so don't let it touch the mucosa.
posted by caddis at 7:25 PM on April 13, 2008

Laser if you can afford it.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 7:35 PM on April 13, 2008

I find that exfoliating with a washcloth really helps with ingrown hairs, both with waxing and shaving. It takes a couple of days but the bumps go a way and don't come back.
posted by ms.v. at 7:41 PM on April 13, 2008

I'm not sure it really helps, but I use a product (all over actually) called body polish which is really just a salt-in-oil thing. It feels really nice and is an exfoliant. Also, I can second the home-made tendskin recommendation.
posted by R343L at 7:45 PM on April 13, 2008

Honestly? I think some people will just get them no matter what. When I was getting Brazilians every couple of months I always suffered terribly, and not just with bumps but with a few big swollen under-the-skin lumps around ingrowns each time. I used Tendskin and cortisone and exfoliation and everything. I have stopped waxing because for me it is the only way. I hope you have better luck.
posted by loiseau at 7:47 PM on April 13, 2008

This is weird, but I swear on my life it works great for me. A very (VERY) thin layer of Dove Sensitive SOLID unscented deodorant. I read it in a magazine once, and have pretty much sworn by it since. Also, it's WAY cheaper than that Tendskin stuff.
posted by als129 at 7:55 PM on April 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

Are you having the waxing professionally done? I find that if it's done at a salon, I get little to no ingrown hairs, but if I shave or wax on my own, I do.
posted by FlyByDay at 8:02 PM on April 13, 2008

Seconding antiperspirant, it's amazing and cheap for prevention of bumps after waxing/shaving.
posted by Mitheral at 8:07 PM on April 13, 2008

I use Benadryl Itch Stopping Gel after shaving, and it definitely helps prevent ingrown hairs and red bumps. I used to use Bikini Zone gel but find the Benadryl works just as well, and is considerably cheaper.
posted by Jemstar at 8:08 PM on April 13, 2008

My esthetician recommended PFB Vanish, I used it after waxing and it definitely did help relieve some of the issues. Also, as far as treatment: if you can see the hair underneath the skin, my esthetician told me that it's best to squeeze hard with two fingers just around the edge and force the hair to pop out. From there just pull it with a tweezer.
posted by nerdcore at 8:12 PM on April 13, 2008

Response by poster: Exfoliate before or after the procedure?

I'm a guy, by the way, but I'm asking this question on behalf a lady friend. The mark of a good friend is one who will selflessly sacrifice his weekly AskMe question for the benefit of another. (Are you reading this, m'dear?)
posted by oldlies at 8:47 PM on April 13, 2008

Use Preparation H (no, really) to treat them. It works!
posted by streetdreams at 9:06 PM on April 13, 2008

Unfortunately, I agree with loiseau. I've tried virtually every product and method, professional and homemade, that exists, including all of the ones recommended here, and I've never found a way to prevent either the little ingrown hairs or the big angry hard lumps. Most people will find at least one product that works for them. Some people will never be able to wax. I've gone back to shaving, and even though it's not as smooth and creates more upkeep, it's way less painful.
posted by decathecting at 9:36 PM on April 13, 2008

Exfoliate before and after. Use an exfoliating mitt daily.

This stuff is excellent, but you can just use plain old alcohol wipes, which is what the waxers in the day spa I worked at recommended. They would give a little bundle of single use alcohol wipes to all clients to use daily for 5-7 days after waxing.

The really evil ones will probably need a sterilised needle or needle nose tweezers to coax them out. Unfortunately, even with all the exfoliation in the world, you'll still get the occasional ingrown.
posted by goshling at 9:58 PM on April 13, 2008

Psst, people who use homemade tendskin, antiperspirant, Preparation H, etc.

Do you apply:
1) only once, immediately post-shave/wax
2) every day to stay bump-free, or
3) when ingrowns/bumps appear?
posted by QueSeraSera at 11:30 PM on April 13, 2008

The deodorant, oxy wash etc. are antimicrobials which persist on the skin and help prevent the big red angry lumps. Preparation H is an anti-inflammatory medicine which will reduce the inflammation once it appears. None of these address the underlying issue which is that the hairs are being cut too short thus allowing them to retract under the skin. Proper shaving technique is the real answer, however, I don't know from waxing. Perhaps some people should just not do this and use a blade instead?
posted by caddis at 4:55 AM on April 14, 2008

To QueSeraSera:

Tendskin, every day.
posted by robinpME at 6:59 AM on April 14, 2008

QueSeraSera: I use the Dove antiperspirant immediately after shaving and then everyday after a shower until I feel the situation has stabilized. I have found it really cuts down on irritation.
posted by als129 at 9:25 AM on April 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

Nthing antiperspirant or Tendskin. I also always wondered if regular aftershave would work.
posted by Pax at 1:56 PM on April 14, 2008

It's very important to disinfect right after waxing, because after each hair has been ripped out, there is a tiny wound which allows bacteria to enter. Infection=swelling, redness. Use 3% hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol or something containing tea tree oil. Next day, when your skin has calmed down, start using an exfoliating cream containing fruit acids for up to a week, to keep the skin soft and thin enough to allow the growing hairs to break through (instead of continuing to grow beneath the skin, causing bumps). I like the Glyderm body lotion, but you can slather on Clinique's Turnaround Cream too - it's available at most department stores. Moisturize every day!
posted by globolin at 4:59 PM on April 14, 2008 [2 favorites]

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