No matter how careful we are with shaving or waxing, ingrown hairs happen. They cause bumps, redness and worst of all, a lot of pain. An ingrown hair occurs when a hair curls and grows back into the skin instead of coming out of the pore, or the hair grows sideways into the skin due to hardened, dead skin cells on the surface.

Ingrown hairs will always be caused by the following:

Having naturally coarse or curly hair

Unfortunately, certain hair types are more prone to ingrown hairs. Avoid digging into your skin with tweezers or picking with your fingernails to remove an ingrown hair, as this can cause infection. Use an alcohol swab and sterilized tweezers to remove hair that is above the skin’s surface and not infected.

Wearing tight clothing

Tight clothes and synthetic fabrics like nylon leggings, skinny jeans and polyester underwear can aggravate ingrown hairs. Stick with cotton clothing that is breathable and won’t rub against skin.

Tugging at the skin with a razor

There’s a chance you hold the razor too close to your legs and scrape your skin as you shave. This often happens when you use a dull razor with a worn-down guard, resulting in irritation that leads to ingrown hairs.

Shaving or waxing in the wrong direction

When shaving, lather well in the direction of hair growth with a pre-shave crème or gel to soften stubble. Only buy professional grade at-home waxing kits that can grab short, coarse, curly hair. Sugaring is a natural alternative to waxing that sticks to the hair, not the skin.

Not exfoliating after hair removal

48 hours after hair removal, you can get back to exfoliating. Use a mold-resistant wash cloth and antiseptic body wash with skin-soothing ingredients, like green tea or tea tree extract, and work in gentle, circular movements. Apply a balm in to your underarms and bikini area to relax and close the pores afterwards.