Red Bumps? How To Soothe Skin After A Wax

No more red, bumpy brows or painful in-growns.

There's no denying the convenience of waxing as a hair removal method. The process is quick and the results lasts for weeks, if not a month or two.

Though, just as people have different skin types, each individual will react to waxing differently -- and for some of us that means red bumps or small pimples around the brows, or a red rash-like look to pores or ingrown hairs on the legs or bikini line.

"Some people have very resilient skin, whereas others will be quite sensitive or reactive. A good therapist will take this into account when discerning the best approach for treating each client," Kristin Fisher, waxing expert and owner of Kristin Fisher Eyebrows told HuffPost Australia.

Fisher owned a Brazilian and body waxing salon in Perth before moving to Sydney specialise in brows and is now a leader in the industry of waxing, shaping and semi-permanent micro-blading. She has extensive experience will both body and facial waxing.

"The interesting development we've observed over the past few years is that more and more people are now using 'active' skincare. That is anti-ageing and chemical exfoliating products which contain acids like AHA or glycolic acids, retinols or vitamins A and C. Active skincare if very effective, but what many don't realise is that these ingredients make a huge difference to how your skin will react to waxing."

"That's why someone who had no trouble before may suddenly experience red bumps or skin lifting away. Skin may 'lift' regardless of how many precautions we take, which is why it's so very important to let your therapist know what kind of skincare you use or any changes to your regime prior to your wax."

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A reputable waxer will take precautions to ensure you have no or little irritation.

"A good therapist will always cleanse the area first, then apply a pre-wax oil. The oil creates a protective barrier between the skin and the wax. After the wax the area should be cleansed again to get rid of any remaining oil or wax residue. Then we use a soothing aloe vera gel as the final step," Fisher said.

The above steps should minimise any irritation, but if you do notice redness or small bumps, do the following:

  • Avoid applying makeup to the area -- leave it bare if you can
  • A little ice or a wet tea-bag cooled in the fridge can take out the heat and reduce the redness
  • Apply an anti-inflammatory cream such as hydrocortisone
  • Do not touch, pick or squeeze at the area

"Dr Roebuck's Bubs and Bits is a fantastic cream to apply post-wax. It's an Australian brand and is excellent at soothing and healing. If you're prone to sensitivity with waxing, ask if your therapist offers threading, which is generally better for those with reactive skin. A good salon will provide a range of options to cater to these customers," Fisher said.

Ingrown hairs or sore lumps after a leg, underarm or bikini wax

Red, raised and sore bumps after waxing may mean you have an ingrown hair. Try to wear loose clothing if possible and if the ingrown is around the groin area, try to avoid elastic from underwear rubbing on the spot.

"A light exfoliation a few days after your wax would help to loosen any stubborn hairs. Be very gentle though. There's a range of inexpensive ingrown products available that are very effective. The active ingredient helps to open the pores and unblock the follicle," Fisher said.

A soothing anti-bac cream will help here, too. Next time you go for a wax, try to wait until the hair has a few millimeters of growth so as to minimise the possibility of blocked pores. For women, waxing a few days before your period will be more painful, so keep that in mind if you have a low pain threshold.

"If you do get an ingrown, try not to pick at it. If it is very obviously there at the surface and there's no pus around it, a light squeeze using tissues to cover your fingers after a hot shower could help to pop the hair out, after which you can remove with tweezers. If it doesn't come out easily or there is pus or the skin is red and inflamed, do not try to squeeze as you can make matters worse," Fisher said.


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