Q: How can I prevent the red bumps I get after waxing my bikini area?

A: Typically, some bumps will appear right after waxing. Clogged pores and hair follicles are usually to blame -- which is why exfoliating (both before and after waxing) is so important, says Dorota Lisowski, an aesthetician at the Brigitte Mansfield Spa in New York City. Right before waxing, gently exfoliate with a loofah (like Bath & Body Works Spa Mitt, $8; 800-395-1001) and/or a mild scrub like Origins Swept Away with jojoba beads and aloe ($16; Immediately after waxing, Lisowski suggests applying a mixture of one part baby oil and one part salicylic-acid-based astringent (try Neutrogena Oil-Free Deep Clean Astringent, $5.50; at drugstores). The baby oil helps soothe skin while salicylic acid keeps pores and hair follicles clear. You can also dab the area with a salicylic-acid-based product like Tend Skin ($20; or an antibacterial gel like Sally Hansen Bikini Plus Antibacterial Pain Relief Gel ($6; at drugstores), which helps calm itching as well as irritation. Continue exfoliating for at least three days afterward.