Q. Do you have any remedies for red bumps after a bikini wax?
A. Dermatologists have a name for razor bumps, whether they occur on a man’s neck or around a woman’s bikini line: pseudofolliculitis barbae. In this condition, hairs that have been removed either by waxing or shaving don’t grow back through the surface of the skin. Instead, they become ingrown and cause bumps and inflammation.
A dermatologist we consulted suggested that waxing may be more likely than shaving to cause bikini bumps. That’s because after the hair is pulled out it is more likely to become ingrown.
He recommended applying OTC hydrocortisone cream to the area after hair removal to reduce irritation. He pointed out that a permanent solution for people with dark hair is laser hair removal.
Others have suggested that aloe vera gel applied to the region may reduce irritation and inflammation and offer another option in addition to or instead of the hydrocortisone cream.
Another favorite home remedy, amber Listerine, has been pressed into service for folliculitis. One reader noted, “I decided that if Listerine killed germs in a person’s mouth, it might kill the germs on my skin. I tried it and the condition cleared up so dramatically that I use only Listerine when the folliculitis recurs.” The alcohol and antimicrobial oils in the mouthwash may reduce the likelihood of infection taking hold in the follicles and contributing to inflammation.