If you tend to develop red bumps after waxing – and most people do – then keep reading to discover the causes and treatments for this common problem as well as waxing best practices that will minimize the risk of developing bumps.
Red Bumps after Waxing Chest, Back, Bikini &Legs
Red bumps after waxing the chest or other parts of the body such as back, legs and bikini area is a tale that most women only know too well.
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The bumps are usually painful and may appear immediately after waxing or further on in the hair growth cycle owing to ingrown hairs. These are strands of hair that grows backwards, consequently getting trapped beneath the skin.
The red bumps occurring immediately after waxing typically clear in just a few days, usually 2-3 days. If they linger any longer, this may signal a bacterial infection.
What Causes Red Bumps After Waxing?
Understanding what causes those ugly red bumps after waxing will not only help you to treat them but also prevent their recurrence in the future. Here are the underlying factors that are to blame for those painful, red bumps that you so vehemently hate:
Irritation: Hair shafts grow from tiny openings called hair follicles. The follicles are part of your skin. Waxing rips the hair strands straight out of their follicles.
In addition to occasional bleeding, this typically results in irritation of the area of skin that has been waxed for a few days. This results in soreness and red bumps in the waxed area for a few days.
Panicking while undergoing the waxing treatment – maybe it is your first time – can increase your risk of developing red bumps since it results in the shrinking of hair follicles which then makes them more susceptible to irritation and damage.
The same case applies during pregnancy, and a day or two before and during menstruation, when the skin becomes more sensitive and prone to irritation.
Certain medications such as Retin A and accutane also increase the risk of lifting-off of your skin and waxing is not recommended until after 6 to 12 months since you last used these medications.
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Ingrown hair is usually the culprit for red bumps that occur later on after waxing; that is further on in the hair growth cycle. This could for example happen a few weeks down the line.
Ingrown hair is simply hair that is growing backwards or into the wall of the hair follicle usually as a result of breakage or incorrect pulling during waxing. Such a hair then gets trapped in the skin leading to inflammation and pain.
Folliculitis: Folliculitis is sometimes to blame for bumps. This is an infection of hair follicles that leads to inflammation of the same. Also known as “barber rash”, the condition occurs when bacteria, yeast or fungus infects a hair follicle.
Red Bumps after Waxing Face
The face is one of the most visible parts of the body and having some red bumps there thanks to a waxing treatment can be psychologically distressing. Nevertheless it is a necessary evil that some women may have to contend with every now and then.
You can however reduce the risk and extent of developing those ugly bumps by using the right waxing products, timing your waxing treatment appropriately, and taking care of ingrown hairs as soon as they appear.
This is discussed in more details elsewhere in this article.
Red Bumps after Waxing Eyebrows
“Is it normal to get red bumps after waxing the eyebrows?” Kate
Well, red bumps and waxing seem like a match made in heaven and the eyebrows are not an exception. After all, eyebrows are strands of hair with hair follicles which makes them as much susceptible to irritation as hair occurring anywhere else on the body.
How to Treat Red Bumps after Waxing
If you are like most women, hitting the beach with red bumps is out of question. Here is how to treat red bumps after waxing:
Wear appropriate clothing: Wearing loose-fitting cotton clothing helps to prevent friction on the skin and further irritation which could then worsen the condition.
Topical over-the-counter products: Applying a cortisone cream can help to reduce redness, inflammation and itching.
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Take care of the ingrown hair. Lift the embedded end of hair gently using a clean pair of tweezers that has been sterilized with alcohol wipes.
Warm compresses: red bumps resulting from folliculitis usually respond well to warm compresses, that is, placing a small washcloth dipped in warm water on the affected area of skin.
Dab some antibiotic cream e.g. Polysporin if you suspect folliculitis.
When to see a doctor
See a doctor if:
- The red bumps starts discharging pus
- You experience fever, chills, or nausea
- The bumps persist more than a few days of waxing even after using the above OTC treatments and self care measures
Preventing red bumps
Observing the following tips will help you to stay smooth after waxing:
No exfoliation for one week: According to Whitney Bowe, MD, a dermatologist based in NYC, staying away from any kind of chemical or exfoliating ingredients for at least one week prior to waxing will help you to minimize the risk of developing those pesky red bumps.
You will in particular want to avoid alpha hydroxyl acids, salicylic acid, and beta hydroxyl acid since these usually thin and irritate the skin.
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Get the temperature right: Wax that is too hot is often to blame for red bumps on the skin. Dr. Bowe reports seeing patients with second and even third degree burns – ouch that hurts – from waxing. She recommends allowing the wax to cool down to just the right temperature before using it and testing it on a small area of skin first.
Chose the right type of wax: Although honey and softer waxes have been rising in popularity, Dr. Bowe doesn’t think they are the best option since they can cause “…some of the skin to actually be ripped off along with the hair”. Instead she recommends using the “…harder, firmer, resin-based waxes.”
Take care of ingrown hairs: Ingrown hairs are often to blame for red bumps that stay around for longer than a few days. This happens when hair grows back and consequently gets trapped beneath the skin. This can then lead to painful inflammation. To soothe ingrown hairs, Dr. Bowe recommends using Tend Skin.
Right timing: During pregnancy, during menstruation, and a day or two before menstruation, the skin usually gets more sensitive. It is advisable to avoid waxing in such circumstances.