Ah, the joys of smooth skin after waxing. It feels fantastic, right? But then, out of nowhere, you find yourself dealing with those pesky bumps and pimples that can pop up post-wax on your legs, underarms, genitals, and other areas. It’s a skincare curveball you didn’t see coming, and it’s enough to make anyone feel a little frustrated.
The Causes of the Bumps
First things first, let’s get to the bottom of what’s causing those pesky bumps after waxing. There are 5 main reasons why you might experience them, so let’s break it down further:
1. Ingrown hairs
When hairs are removed during waxing, sometimes they can become trapped beneath the skin’s surface, leading to ingrown hairs. These can be pretty stubborn and can cause those red, inflamed bumps you see after waxing. Ingrown hairs occur when the hair curls back into the skin or grows sideways, causing inflammation and irritation.
This is an infection of the hair follicles caused by bacteria or fungi. Waxing can sometimes open up hair follicles, leaving them vulnerable to infection, which can result in those unpleasant, itchy bumps. Bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus or fungi like Candida can take advantage of the exposed follicles and start to multiply, leading to inflammation and the formation of pus-filled bumps.
3. Skin irritation
Let’s face it, waxing is a little rough on the skin. The process involves ripping hair out from the roots, which can lead to skin irritation, redness, and even tiny pimples. The physical trauma of waxing can cause the skin to react, producing those pesky bumps as a part of the natural healing process.
4. Allergic reactions
Some people might have an allergic reaction to the wax or other products used during the waxing process. This can cause red, itchy, and irritated bumps on the skin. Ingredients like fragrances, dyes, or preservatives might be the culprits behind these reactions, especially if you have sensitive skin.
5. Poor aftercare
Not taking proper care of your skin after waxing can also contribute to the formation of bumps and pimples. For example, using harsh soaps or exfoliants, not moisturizing, or wearing tight clothing that rubs against the waxed area can all lead to irritation and the development of bumps.
Are Bumps After Waxing Procedures Normal?
It’s not uncommon to experience bumps or redness after waxing procedures, especially if you have sensitive skin or if it’s your first time waxing. Most of the time, the bumps will subside on their own within a few days, however, it’s important to note that not all bumps are created equal, and some may require further attention or treatment.
Here are some common types of bumps that can occur after waxing, and what they could indicate:
- Redness: Mild redness is a normal side effect of waxing and usually subsides within a few hours to a day. It’s typically caused by inflammation from the hair removal process and can be minimized with a cold compress or soothing product like aloe vera gel.
- Small, raised bumps: These bumps are often the result of ingrown hairs, which occur when hair grows back into the skin rather than out of it. They can be itchy or uncomfortable but are usually harmless. Gently exfoliating the area can help release the trapped hair, and applying a product containing salicylic acid or glycolic acid can help to prevent future ingrown hairs.
- Large, inflamed bumps: If you notice large, red, or inflamed bumps, it could be a sign of folliculitis, which is an infection of the hair follicle. This type of bump may be painful and filled with pus and can lead to scarring if left untreated. Consult a dermatologist if you suspect you have folliculitis, as it may require antibiotics or other treatments.
How To Get Rid of the Bumps
If you’re already dealing with post-wax bumps, don’t worry. There are several effective ways to treat them and get your skin back on track. Here’s what you can do:
Applying a warm compress can help to increase blood flow to the affected area, reducing inflammation and promoting healing. To make a warm compress, soak a clean cloth in warm water, wring out the excess water, and place it gently over the bumps. Leave it on for 10-15 minutes, and repeat this process several times a day. The heat from the compress will not only soothe the skin but also aid in opening up the pores, making it easier for any trapped hair or debris to be released.
Over-the-counter products containing salicylic acid, glycolic acid, or benzoyl peroxide can help to unclog pores, exfoliate the skin, and reduce inflammation. Salicylic acid and glycolic acid work by gently exfoliating the skin, removing dead skin cells, and preventing ingrown hairs, while benzoyl peroxide has antibacterial properties that can help to fight infection. Apply a small amount of the product to the affected area once or twice a day, following the manufacturer’s instructions, and be sure not to overuse these treatments, as they can cause dryness and irritation if used excessively.
Hydrocortisone cream is a mild, over-the-counter topical steroid that can help to soothe irritated skin and reduce redness and inflammation. Apply a thin layer of the cream to the affected area once or twice a day, as directed on the packaging. Make sure not to use hydrocortisone cream for an extended period, as long-term use can potentially thin the skin and cause other side effects.
Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is a natural, antibacterial essential oil that can help to reduce inflammation and fight infection, making it an effective remedy for post-wax bumps. To use tea tree oil, dilute a few drops with a carrier oil, such as jojoba or almond oil, to minimize the risk of irritation. Apply the diluted oil to the bumps using a cotton swab, and be sure to perform a patch test on a small area of skin first to ensure you’re not allergic or sensitive to the oil.
Aloe vera has soothing, anti-inflammatory, and hydrating properties, making it an excellent treatment for post-wax bumps. Applying aloe vera gel to the bumps can help to reduce inflammation, soothe irritation, and promote healing. Choose a pure, fragrance-free aloe vera gel, and apply it to the affected area as needed. You can store the gel in the refrigerator for an added cooling effect.
How To Avoid Bumps In The First Place
Taking the right precautions and following a proper skincare routine can help you avoid those unwanted post-wax bumps.
Here are some tips to keep your skin smooth and bump-free:
- Choose a reputable salon: Make sure to go to a professional salon with experienced estheticians who follow proper hygiene practices. This reduces the risk of infection and ensures that the waxing process is done correctly.
- Pre-wax exfoliation: Gently exfoliate the area to be waxed a day or two before your appointment. This helps to remove dead skin cells, allowing the wax to adhere better to the hair and reducing the chances of ingrown hairs.
- Keep the area clean: Before your waxing appointment, make sure the area is clean and free from oils, lotions, or sweat. This will help the wax to adhere properly, reducing the risk of skin irritation.
- Use the right wax: If you have sensitive skin, ask your esthetician to use a wax specifically formulated for sensitive skin types. These waxes are typically gentler and less likely to cause an allergic reaction.
- Avoid heat and sweat: Keep the waxed area cool and dry for at least 24 hours after the procedure. Avoid hot baths, saunas, and strenuous exercise to reduce the risk of irritation and infection.
- Regular exfoliation: Once the skin has healed after waxing, incorporate gentle exfoliation into your skincare routine to help prevent ingrown hairs. Aim to exfoliate the waxed area 2-3 times a week with a gentle scrub or exfoliating mitt.
Avoid picking or squeezing
Picking or squeezing the bumps can lead to further irritation, infection, and even scarring, as it introduces bacteria from your fingers into the already sensitive skin. Let your skin heal naturally, and use the treatments mentioned above to speed up the process. If you’re experiencing severe discomfort, consult a dermatologist for advice on managing the pain and inflammation.
Bumps and pimples after waxing can be frustrating, but they are a common occurrence that can be easily treated and prevented. Understanding the causes of these bumps, such as ingrown hairs, folliculitis, skin irritation, allergic reactions, and poor aftercare, is the first step in preventing them. Most of the time, they’ll just go away on their own, but taking the necessary precautions, such as exfoliating before waxing, keeping the area clean, using the right wax, and avoiding tight clothing, can help to prevent the formation of bumps.
If you’re already experiencing post-wax bumps, there are several effective treatments, such as warm compresses, topical treatments, hydrocortisone cream, tea tree oil, and aloe vera. Remember, it’s essential to avoid picking or squeezing the bumps, as this can lead to further irritation, infection, and scarring.