Avoiding (and Treating) Ingrown Pubic Hairs

two women lying in the sun wearing shorts

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Ingrown pubic hair is extremely common because the hair in the bikini zone is thicker and curlier than the hair on any other part of your body. This means there's more of a chance the hair will grow back into the skin instead of up and out. The thicker hair is, the sharper the tip, and the more easily it's able to pierce through skin. Curly hair also has a natural bend, which creates an ability to twist and turn into the skin. When these factors are combined, you have a high chance of getting an ingrown pubic hair. And, if it sounds unpleasant, that's because it definitely is. Ingrown hairs can be painful, unsightly, and even dangerous if they become infected.

However, you're not doomed to ingrown hairs. With a little prevention and know-how, you can have the best of both worlds: a smooth, hair-free bikini line without bumps.

how to avoid ingrown hairs
Jiaqi Zhou/Byrdie

Hair Removal

The first step toward flawless skin is to shave correctly, using a razor that creates a sharp edge on the hair. To prevent ingrown hairs, prime the pubic area before shaving by washing your skin with a mild soap, applying a moisturizing shave cream or gel, and drying the area after the shave. Ensure that your razor has the correct amount of blades for your type of hair, and that it isn't dull. Learning how to shave your pubic hair correctly will allow you to get a close shave while avoiding redness, razor burn, and bumps.

Rinse your razor often while shaving for a cleaner and more even shave.

If waxing is more your style, you'll want to take some precautions. Sharp edges are common with waxing because hair can break above or below the skin's surface, instead of being removed from the cuticle. Whether you're waxing at home or in a salon, you'll want to make sure that you exfoliate the area that you wax at least two days before your service. fur.'s Silk Scrub ($48,) is a Ph-balanced gentle exfoliant made for the pubic region. You'll also want to hydrate your skin by moisturizing and experiment with all-natural waxes that aid with sensitivity issues. Take care of any existing ingrown hairs with specialty creams like the one from Malin+Goetz.

ingrown hair cream
Malin + Goetz Ingrown Hair Cream $34
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If you're making an appointment, look online for a reputable salon and technician, or try a waxing-only salon. You will have a much better experience than if you were taking your chances with a random one.

If you're not married to the idea of shaving or waxing, you can consider using another hair removal method instead. Sugaring is much gentler towards the skin. The technique uses a paste that removes hair in the direction of growth, unlike waxing, and it minimizes hair breakage.

Post Hair Removal Care

Keeping your skin in the right condition will also prevent ingrown pubic hairs, regardless of whatever hair removal method you choose to use. The old adage that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" rings particularly true when your underwear is chafing against your newly shaved bikini line.

You want to exfoliate the area often. Regularly getting rid of dead skin cells helps keep hairs pointing up instead of snagging on dry patches. Generally, you should exfoliate the area at least once a week. However, the ideal frequency depends on your skin type, the other shaving products you use, how often you shave, and the season at hand. You can try using a washcloth instead of a product to exfoliate, but avoid anything particularly abrasive.

You also want to moisturize frequently. Deodorant soaps, hot water, and cold weather conditions can all cause or aggravate dry skin. Make sure to use a lotion after showering so skin stays soft and pliable. When skin is soft, it's not as easy of a ground for the hair to break through. Keep hydrated from the inside as well by drinking water throughout the day.

Watching the clothes you wear is also important. Any type of fitted clothing around your bikini zone over the first few hours after shaving can encourage the hair to grow back into the skin.

Finally, you want to keep a bump-fighter on hand, like PFB's Vanish Gel ($23). Even with the best of intentions, there may be a couple ingrown hairs that fall through the cracks. Not only will this help keep bumps in check, but it will also get rid of pimples or infections that come along with them.

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