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Ew! Beauty: How To Avoid Bikini Bumps

Rock that swimsuit, problem-free

Let’s face it: Along with summer’s heat, humidity, and other sweat-inducing qualities comes a ton of gross beauty problems. From dry, cracked feet to ingrown hairs and chafing, there’s a lot that can hold you back from living the confident poolside life you’re destined to lead. But don’t worry—we’re talking to experts about how to fix them. Welcome to Ew! Beauty.

Ah, bikini bumps.

We’ve all had those moments where we dry-shaved our bikini line while in a rush to get to the beach, or we didn’t properly take care of our delicate skin down there post-waxing, and bam—before we know it, our upper thighs and bikini line area are covered in a bunch of awful red bumps. The result of ingrown hairs and built-up dead skin and bacteria, bikini bumps can be as annoying and painful as they are unsightly. 

With swim season in full swing, we figured it would be best to dive deeper into how to not only prevent bikini bumps but also get rid of them should we find ourselves in a bumpy situation. Read on for expert-approved tips for a smooth summer.

Preventing bikini bumps:

Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate.

Naturally, it’s always best to prevent the problem from happening in the first place. Haven Spa esthetician Marta Grochowska says the best way to avoid a case of bikini bumps is to properly exfoliate. “Exfoliation is very important,” she says. “Exfoliating your bikini a couple of times a week will help keep bumps at a minimum.” You don’t have to tell us twice.

Just make sure you use an all-natural, soothing scrub (as you should for the rest of your body) to avoid any unnecessary redness or irritation.

Use an antibacterial and antimicrobial moisturizer or oil.

Laura Schubert, CEO and co-founder of Fur, the pubic hair care line, suggests following up any exfoliation with a moisturizer or oil that contains ingredients with antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. Tea tree oil, for example, is antimicrobial and helps clear pores and minimize ingrown hairs. Fur’s Stubble Cream is a great product for this, containing tea tree oil on top of moisturizing shea butter and safflower seed extract.

Always use the best equipment and go professional.

If you’re shaving or waxing, make sure whatever equipment you’re using is new and/or you’re with a trained profession who knows what they’re doing,” says Grochowska. “This can greatly reduce the amount of bikini bumps.” Use fresh blades when shaving and make your waxing appointments with reputable and certified professionals.

Noemi Grupenmager, founder and CEO of Uni K Wax Center, agrees that going pro is the best way to avoid bumps altogether. Uni K Wax has developed a service system that prevents ingrown hairs, which includes a number antiseptic and soothing treatments before and after the actual procedure. However, if you’re going to DIY it, be sure to shave in the direction of hair growth, as this will help prevent any ingrown hairs. 

Getting rid of bikini bumps:

Whatever you do, don't pick at them.

Despite the preventative measures, sometimes we have a bikini bump emergency, and we find ourselves scrambling to get rid of our razor burn and bumps ASAP. We know, we know—it’s tempting. Just like we want to pop zits the second we see them brewing, picking at our bikini bumps is oddly satisfying, but will just make them worse. Hibba Kapil, founder of Hibba NYC, strongly advises against playing with them: You might see infection-related fluid coming out, but the ingrown hair (the literal root of the problem) will just lodge deeper inside the pore.

Keep moisturizing and exfoliating.

“Better late than never,” says Schubert. It’s important to pay extra attention to bumpy areas, as moisturizing and (gently!) exfoliating the area will help loosen up the ingrown hairs and bring down redness and irritation. She also suggests adding on an ingrown hair treatment into the mix. Fur’s Ingrown Concentrate or Uni K’s Ingrown Hair Roll-On are two great products to help take care of those pesky ingrown strays.

One of Schubert’s favorite hacks? “Leave cream formulas in the fridge,” she says. This way, it’ll be extra soothing and cooling, especially on hot, summer days.

Aloe vera and tea tree oil are your new best friends.

Grochowska suggests using some natural healing methods to cure bikini bumps, such as aloe vera and tea tree oil. Not only do these plants move along the healing process, but aloe vera relieves itching and tenderness while tea tree oil brings down swelling and prevents infection. Sounds like a dream team.

Black tea is your secret weapon.

While we all know that tea is chock-full of health benefits, bet you didn’t know that it’s also good at banishing bikini bumps. Grochowska suggests preparing black tea (it has natural anti-inflammatory qualities) as you normally would, throwing the tea bags in the fridge to cool, and then applying to your bikini line. Your bumps will begin shrinking right before your eyes.

Try a warm compress.

Grupenmager suggests applying a warm compress on affected areas. This will help open the pores to release ingrown hairs and relieve irritation.