Here's Exactly How to Avoid Bikini Line Bumps

The experts explain how to keep it smooth.



Bikini area upkeep isn't exactly complicated, but for the best possible results — think a smooth, stubble-free bikini line — it benefits from special care before, during, and after any kind of hair removal, whether you choose to wax, sugar, or shave. Without it, one common side effect that may pop up is bikini line bumps; although they're usually harmless, you might not exactly want them on display at the beach.

The good news? Avoiding bikini line bumps isn't rocket science. You just need to be mindful of how you remove hair down there and use the right products in between. To get a better idea on how to handle such a sensitive area, we turned to the experts.

Related:The Ultimate Guide to the Different Types of Bikini Waxes

What Causes Bikini Line Bumps

Bikini bumps are typically caused by ingrown hairs, a lack of moisture in the skin, or a blunt cut by a razor when you shave, says Page Buldini, wax expert and founder of Page Aesthetics Skincare. As a result, hair gets trapped below the skin surface and inflames the hair follicle, creating a bump. FYI: This can occur more commonly in those with curly or coarse hair, as hairs tend to be thicker and more likely to curl inwards and trigger an inflammatory reaction, says Marisa Garshick, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City.

Other types of bikini bumps include cysts, which, Dr. Garshick says, may become inflamed with friction, and those resulting from a condition called Hidradenitis suppurativa, which causes pimples, cysts, nodules, and scarring. The latter frequently goes undiagnosed, so it's something to look out for if you're experiencing breakouts down there in that area.

How to Treat Bikini Line Bumps

So you're seeing bumps. The good news? Certain active ingredients can help, such as benzoyl peroxide, which reduces the breakout-forming bacteria that causes bumps and reduce inflammation. Dr. Garshick recommends PanOxyl Acne Creamy Wash With 4% Benzoyl Peroxide or the Humane Acne Wash.

Moisturizing is also key for reducing the appearance of the bumps; look for formulas that contain ceramides and aloe vera to help support the skin's barrier. Dr. Garshick is a fan of the CeraVe Moisturizing Cream or the Vanicream Moisturizing Cream — which, she says, is a great option for sensitive skin.

If you're especially susceptible to ingrown hairs, meanwhile, look for products that contain salicylic acid to help unclog pores and reduce excess oil. If none of those things work, then you might want to see a board-certified dermatologist about other options, such as laser hair removal or prescription-only products.

On the flip side, avoid ingredients that might make those bikini bumps worse. For instance, stay away from formulas with alcohol or known drying properties, says Buldini. Also on the list of ingredients to avoid: fragrance, parabens, and sulfates, since they may cause further irritation.

Related:Women Are Still Grooming Their Bikini Lines — But Why?

How to Avoid Bikini Line Bumps

First, choose the right hair removal method — which means you should probably put the razor down. "Waxing or laser hair removal will be game-changing in bump avoidance," says Buldini.

But if you can't seem to quit shaving that area, Dr. Garshick says to be mindful of how you use your razor. "It is important to use proper shaving techniques," she says. "This includes shaving in the direction of hair growth and making sure to always use a clean and sharp razor."

She also recommends using a gentle cleanser to wash away dirt and reduce the chance of infection before you shave. And avoid the dry shave: Not only does sudsing up soften hair, but it also reduces friction between the blade and the skin. Better yet, go with a shaving cream — and always regularly clean the blades and change out your razor once it becomes dull.

In between hair removal, both Buldini and Dr. Garshick advise regularly exfoliating the area. Dr. Garshick recommends using a formula like CeraVe Body Wash With Salicylic Acid or Naturium The Perfector Salicylic Acid Body Wash to eliminate dead skin cells and prevent clogged pores. She's also a fan of First Aid Beauty Ingrown Hair Pads, since it combines both beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) and alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) to reduce bumps in the bikini area — as well as aloe vera and witch hazel to soothe.

If you're out in the sun, Buldini says to always use SPF on that area. And finally, sticking with a regular hair removal appointment also helps reduce the chances of getting those bumps.

Related:Everything You've Ever Wanted To Know About Waxing — Down There

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