Waxing offers a longer-lasting alternative to shaving, allowing both women and men to remain hairless for up to a month at a time. While ingrown hairs do occasionally occur after Brazilian waxes, picking a hygienic salon and doing a little skin maintenance will help reduce your risk of ingrown hairs.
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About Brazilian Waxes
Unlike a traditional bikini wax, which removes stray pubic hair that lies outside the bikini line, a Brazilian wax removes virtually all hair from a person's genital area, including hair near the anus and perineum. For women, a small strip of pubic hair, often referred to as a "landing strip," sometimes remains above the pubic bone, though just as often Brazilian waxes render the pubic area completely bald. This hair removal process involves putting a layer of heated wax on the area, covering it with a muslin strip, then pulling off the strip -- taking the wax coated hair follicles with it.
Causes of Ingrown Hairs
According to body waxer Ina Clow of Sydney, Australia's Ciao Bella salon, forcibly removing hair through waxing stimulates oil flow to your hair follicles, which in turn attracts bacteria that can lead to ingrown hairs. While everyone who waxes risks getting ingrown hairs, people with curly hair, dark skin or those who wear tight stockings or pants may have an increased risk of developing ingrown hairs.
Minimizing Ingrown Hairs
Taking proper care of your bikini area both before and after a Brazilian wax can help reduce your chances of developing ingrown hairs. Use an exfoliating scrub on the area the day before your Brazilian wax. Come to your waxing appointment clean and showered, and don't put body lotion on the area prior to the wax. Use an exfoliating scrub again approximately 24 to 48 hours after your wax, once the initial tenderness subsides. Exfoliating will help remove dead skin and prevent clogged pores that cause ingrown hairs.
If you do develop an ingrown hair after a Brazilian wax, do not attempt to pluck or tweeze out the hair on your own, which can cause infection. "We absolutely do not recommend digging them out," says Clow. "If you must, then have it done professionally." Diabetics should avoid waxing altogether due to the risk of infection and potentially life-threatening complications. Those with skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis should also not get Brazilian waxes, and neither should pregnant women, whose ability to fight infection may also be compromised.
Lisette Meuse-Manuel, owner of Moncton, New Brunswick's Dermak Studio, advises potential Brazilian customers to do their homework before going to a salon for a wax procedure. Non-hygienic waxing procedures can cause more than just ingrown hairs -- you're also at risk for ripped skin, burns and serious infections or diseases when you go to a sub-par waxer. Ask around to find an “impeccably clean” salon, recommends Meuse-Manuel, and make sure the salon employs licensed aestheticians who use disposable gloves and sheets and either single-use wooden or plastic waxing spatulas or sterilized metal ones.