It's bikini season. If you notice what looks like pimples, bumps or in-grown hairs on the areas where you shave, you may have "bikini bumps" a.k.a. razor bumps. Doctors call this condition Pseudofolliculitis barbae, or PFB. PFB is most common in sensitive areas, such as the bikini area.
What causes bikini bumps?
When you shave, you are actually sharpening the ends of the hair. Shaving makes it easy for the hairs to curve back into the skin as the little hairs retract into the hair follicle. The bumps that you see are caused by skin irritation and inflammation where the hair has re-entered the skin.
Prevent Bikini Bumps
There are several things you can do to help minimize razor bumps while shaving. Some doctors recommend using only electric shavers which don't give quite as close a shave, whereas the newer five blade razors give extra-close shaves that may make the hair more apt to re-enter the skin. If you do use a razor, be careful and remember these few tips to help ban the bumps.
- Wash with a moisturizing cleanser and warm water before shaving. This will help soften the hairs and help prevent a sharp edge that can enter the skin after shaving. I like Dove Deep Moisture Nourishing Body Wash.
- Use a protective shave gel prior to shaving. Let it set on the warmed skin for a few minutes before you start to shave. I like Aveeno Therapeutic Shave Gel.
- Use a new, sharp razor to avoid uneven cutting. I like Venus & Olay Razor in Sugarberry.
- As you shave, avoid stretching the skin. Be sure to shave in the direction of hair growth to minimize irritation.
- After shaving, massage the area with a warm washcloth to help free the hairs from making it back into the skin.
Get Rid of Bikini Bumps
So you have taken care to prevent the bikini bumps from happening, but you still have some bikini bumps that are painful and/or itchy. There are a few great products that are designed specifically to treat the bikini bumps.
- bliss Ingrown Eliminating Pads - These single-use wipes are made with alpha and beta hydroxy acids to treat the bumps, while green tea and oat extract soothe and smooth the skin.
- Bikini Zone Medicated Creme - This cream contains an analgesic to soothe away pain and irritation. It improves healing by speeding along new skin cells to replace the scraped ones, eliminating redness and razor burn. Lastly, it dries out the small, acne-like blemishes and exfoliates the skin to help prevent hair from curling back into the skin to form an ingrown hair bump in the first place.
- DERMAdoctor KP Duty Body Scrub - This exfoliating scrub contains both a physical and chemical exfoliator to get those irritated hairs out of where they have ingrown. Not designed for bikini bumps, but another condition, I was in a pinch and had to get rid of my bikini bumps, and this scrub did the trick.
The few extra minutes that it takes to prep skin, shave properly, then soothe the skin will definitely help to keep the bikini bumps at bay. Take your time and be consistent. You'll soon forget the discomfort and the unsightly bikini bumps will be gone in no time.