If you routinely remove body hair, chances are you've had your fair share of ingrown hairs and razor bumps. And if you've had them, then you know just how damn tempting it can be to perform minor surgery on them in the privacy of your own bathroom. (No? Just me?
) But, don't. Step away from the tweezers and pick up the sugar scrub, fresh razor, and salicylic-acid toner instead.
"The number-one rule for avoiding ingrowns is to exfoliate," says Nandi Wagner, lead esthetician at Bliss Soho
spa in New York City. That's because ingrowns develop when hairs curl or fold back under the skin and cause inflammation, which is more likely to happen when dead skin cells are clogging the follicle and trapping the hair, according to dermatologist Jeanine Downie, MD.
The three-step routine that's your best bet for minimizing irritation? Exfoliating with a gentle scrub two to three times per week in the shower, shaving with a fresh blade (or getting waxed by a professional), and following up with lots of hydration. "You have to moisturize liberally...soft skin makes it easier for the new hair to grow out of the follicle," says Wagner. But if things still go awry, we've got your back.
Ahead, click through to shop our favorite ingrown remedies. Super-smooth skin, coming right up.