Prevent and Rid Red Waxing Bumps

Woman removing hair on the leg with wax strip
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Waxing bumps can take on different forms. In this article, we're talking more about an immediate reaction that often look like a razor burn or raised red, irritated skin. The simple truth is that everyone reacts differently, and although not pretty, a mild case (especially when removing thick hair like the bikini zone) can be considered somewhat normal. The good news is there are steps you can take to lessen or avoid them altogether, even if you have sensitive skin.

If you're looking for tips on how to avoid other kinds that aren't immediate like hair growing into the skin see: Ingrown Hair and Waxing or Pimples after Waxing.


  • Exfoliate. Before removing hair it's good to get rid of dead skin cells for a couple of reasons. It helps remove dirt and oil which otherwise could make its way to the skin's surface after being waxed. Skin is in a more vulnerable state when hair is removed and any dirt or oil make its way into the follicle can cause it to become irritated.
    Lightly exfoliating also helps the hair point up so that it can be grabbed and removed easier. Use a wash cloth and mild shower gel or a product that's specially made especially for this reason like Relax And Wax Scrub Me Luscious Lemon Drop. Don't use anything too harsh or aggressive.
  • Cleanse. If you haven't just exfoliated, immediately before waxing then cleanse the skin. Every major wax manufacturer makes a pre-wax cleanser. This removes dirt, oil, lotions, makeup, and preps skin for waxing. Just like exfoliating, it removes invaders that can cause irritation on freshly-waxed skin.
  • Apply some heat. If you're not exfoliating, take a warm shower or bath (not hot) or apply a soft washcloth that has first saturated with very warm water then has the excess water squeezed out. The warmth will open up the skin's pores and soften it, allowing the hair to come out easier because it's more pliable. This not only makes the pain factor go down but prevents one of the main causes of irritation- wax pulling on the skin.


    • Fight the bump. The products that kick razor bumps to the curb can do the same for those with waxing. Here's a list of products that can help clear them up and help with the itchiness and pain. Hydrocortisone cream is another option that most people have in their cabinet which will help soothe irritation and any itchiness.
    • Practice and practice when waxing yourself. Not applying wax correctly (like putting on too much product), not holding skin firm when removing the strip or removing the strip incorrectly can cause many problems, including waxing bumps. The technique takes practice and patience.
    • Going DIY? Try another wax. Hard wax (compare prices) works best in the bikini area by actually shrink wrapping the hair before removing it. And cream wax (compare prices) works wonders on the delicate facial skin.
    • Try another tech.  If you end up in mega bumps, the tech may not have enough skill or simply isn't using the best product for your hair and skin type. (Sometimes they're limited to specific brands and kinds the salon or spa carries.) Another seasoned pro may leave you with less side effects.
    • Still having issues? While we can't expect skin to never react at least on some degree to waxing, there are other options that remove the hair from the root leaving skin hairless for weeks at a time. Threading doesn't use any chemicals and is mostly used for facial hair removal, while sugaring is all natural and known to leave less of a hair removal mark than waxing.