Bikini bumps (and other types of ingrown hairs) can be as painful as they are unsightly. And not only do they sting like a paper cut doused in lemon juice when you sweat, but the micro-cuts put you at risk for nasty skin infections. According to the Mayo Clinic, two main factors affect your propensity for ingrown hairs. First, curly hair is more prone to becoming ingrown, and second, improper shaving technique.
"Shaving creates sharp edges in this type of hair, especially if the hair is dry when shaved. When you pull your skin taut during shaving, the newly cut hair draws back into the skin, causing it to re-enter the skin without first growing out (transfollicular penetration). When the shaved hair starts to grow out, it curls back to re-enter the skin (extrafollicular penetration)."
To prevent ingrown hairs, experts advise learning proper shaving technique or switching to a different type of hair removal, like a depilatory cream. What exactly is "proper shaving technique?" Here's a three-step guide from the experts at Gillette:
1. Wait until the end of your shower to shave. This gives your hair time to soften and the follicles time to open.
2. Use a cream or lotion specifically designed for shaving. Unlike regular soaps or shampoos, these products have ingredients to help soften and break down the hair.
3. Shave in the direction your hair grows, rather than against it. This is the key to preventing bumps. If you're shaving your armpits, use a "star" pattern radiating out from the center.