How To Prevent Ingrown Hair After Waxing (Works Every Time!)

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Ingrown hairs are a common side effect of waxing. They occur when the removed hair grows back into the skin instead of out of the follicle. This can cause redness, bumps, irritation, and even infection in severe cases. So, you might be curious to know how to prevent ingrown hair after waxing. Luckily, There are steps you can take before and after waxing to minimize their occurrence. With some preparation and proper aftercare, you can wax with significantly less ingrown hairs.

Things to Do Before Waxing

Things to Do Before Waxing

Getting ready before your wax appointment is crucial for avoiding ingrown hairs. Here are some tips:


Gently exfoliating the skin before waxing service helps remove dead skin cells and allows the hair to exit the follicle more easily. Use a washcloth, loofah, or exfoliating gloves to scrub the area 1-2 times per week leading up to your appointment. Don’t exfoliate too harshly or frequently, as this can irritate you.

Softens Hairs

Softening the hairs before waxing allows the wax to adhere better and pulls the hair more cleanly from the root. Take a warm shower or use a warm compress on the area for 10 minutes before waxing. The steam will open pores and relax the hairs. Avoid hot water, which can irritate the skin.

Trimming Long Hairs

If the hair is very long, trim it down to 1/4 inch. Wax adheres better to shorter hairs, again allowing a cleaner removal from the follicle. Use a new, clean razor to avoid irritation and ingrown hairs from the trimming itself.

Avoid Irritants

Don’t use abrasive scrubs, astringents, or products containing alcohol for 2 days pre-wax. This prevents drying out the skin and follicles, allowing easier hair removal.

Time of Month

Schedule your wax 1 week after your period ends. Hormone changes during menstruation can make waxing more painful and increase ingrown hairs. The follicles are less sensitive when hormones have stabilized.

No Retinoids

Discontinue the use of retinoid creams like Retin-A 2-3 days before. Retinoids thin the outer layer of skin and make it more prone to tearing during waxing, leading to ingrown hairs.

Take Anti-Inflammatories

Pop an ibuprofen or aspirin an hour pre-wax to minimize inflammation post-waxing. Less inflammation means less potential for hairs to get trapped under the skin.

Things to Do After Waxing

Things to Do after Waxing

Your aftercare once the waxing is complete is just as crucial as your prep. Follow these tips for 2-3 weeks post-wax:

Exfoliate Gently

Once the skin has healed from waxing after 24-48 hours, begin gently exfoliating again. Use a soft washcloth and mild cleanser to slough away dead skin cells around follicles as the hair grows in. Exfoliate no more than 2-3 times per week.

Use Salicylic Acid

Wipe salicylic acid pads over the waxed area 1-2 times per day. The beta hydroxy acid helps lift dead cells to allow the new hairs to emerge properly. Or use a body wash containing salicylic acid on the area.

Avoid Tight Clothing

Wear loose, breathable clothing over the waxed area for 3 days post-wax. Tight clothes rub against the skin, causing irritation and trapping hairs beneath the surface. Cotton underwear is best.

Apply to Tend Skin

Tend Skin is an alcohol-based product that helps prevent ingrown hairs through its anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory properties. Use a cotton pad to wipe it over waxed skin morning and night. It stings a bit but works wonders.

Use Hydrocortisone Cream

Hydrocortisone cream helps soothe inflammation and prevent follicles from closing over hairs. Gently apply it twice a day post-wax, especially to any red or bumpy areas.

Try Glycolic Acid

Wipe a glycolic acid pad over the area once a day after healing. The alpha hydroxy acid gently removes dead skin cells and helps newly emerging hairs properly exit follicles.

No Picking/Scratching

It’s tempting to pick at bumps but this only worsens ingrown hairs! Never pick at the skin and try not to excessively scratch. Keep nails trimmed short. Let any pimples heal on their own.

Clean Razor

If hairs do become ingrown, carefully shave over the surface using a clean, sharp razor. Then continue exfoliating to lift dead skin and help release the trapped hair.

Warm Compresses

Place a warm, damp washcloth over any problem areas for 10 minutes, 2-3 times a day. The moist heat helps draw out ingrown hairs gently. Just don’t rub or scrub hard.

Avoid Tanning Beds/Sun

Don’t use tanning beds or sit in the sun for prolonged periods for 1 month post-wax. The UV rays slow cell turnover, increasing the chances of dead skin trapping hairs beneath.

See an Esthetician

For stubborn, recurring ingrown hairs, book a visit with an esthetician 1 month after waxing. They can safely extract trapped hairs and use glycolic acid peels to open follicles. You can also get guides that when should you go for waxing.

When To See A Doctor

When To See A Doctor

In very rare cases, ingrown hairs can become severely infected. See a doctor promptly if you notice:

  • Intense swelling, redness, pain
  • Pus or foul-smelling discharge
  • The warmth radiating from the area
  • Red streaks spreading from the follicle

You may need antibiotics or an incision to drain the infection. But always call your doctor whenever there are signs of infection post-waxing.

How To Prevent Ingrown Hairs When Waxing Sensitive Areas

Some body areas, like the bikini line, are more prone to ingrown hairs from waxing. Here are some extra tips for these sensitive zones:

Don’t Over-wax

Wax only the minimal amount needed for your personal grooming preferences. The more hair removed, the higher the chance of ingrown hairs developing.

Avoid Too Frequent Waxing

Wax every 4-6 weeks for the bikini area. Waxing too often irritates the delicate skin and follicles.

Use Finipil Post-Wax

Finipil solution helps prevent ingrown hairs through exfoliation and anti-inflammatory action. Apply twice daily post-bikini wax.

Let Hair Grow Slightly Longer Pre-Wax

Let the bikini hair grow to 1/4 inch before waxing. This gives a better grip for the wax, preventing hairs from snapping off below the skin.

See a Dermatologist If Needed

For chronic bikini line ingrown hairs, consult a dermatologist. They can prescribe retinol creams to minimize ingrown recurrence. Professional treatments like glycolic peels also help.

When To Avoid Waxing

When To Avoid Waxing

While waxing is generally safe, some situations make it more likely to cause ingrown hairs or skin damage. Avoid waxing:

  • On sunburned skin – burns compromise skin integrity
  • On skin with open wounds/sores – openings allow bacteria entry
  • Over varicose veins – fragile veins may rupture
  • Over moles or warts – can tear off skin lesions
  • On very thin or fragile skin – easily tears or lifts the skin
  • If taking isotretinoin acne medication 
  • If you have diabetes or poor circulation 
  • If immunocompromised – high infection risk

Talk to your doctor before waxing if you have any medical conditions or take medications that may interfere with the process. They can let you know if it is safe to wax or recommend extra precautions to take.

When To Stop Waxing

When To Stop Waxing

If waxing frequently leads to recurring ingrown hairs or skin infections, it may be time to stop completely. At that point, the repeated trauma to the hair follicles and skin overrides any benefits. Consider switching to alternative hair removal methods like:

  • Shaving: It uses a fresh, sharp razor and a good shave gel/cream
  • Depilatory creams: They effectively dissolve hair but can irritate sensitive skin
  • Electrolysis: It permanently destroys hair follicles but takes many sessions
  • Laser hair removal: It provides long-term hair reduction with a series of treatments
  • Epilation devices: They work similarly to waxing but may be gentler for some

Discuss the pros and cons of each method with your dermatologist to decide the best option. Stop waxing if it is causing chronic problems.


Now, you can figure out by yourself how to prevent ingrown hair after waxing. Ingrown hairs can be prevented with proper pre-waxing prep, such as exfoliation and hair softening. Diligent aftercare like salicylic acid, Tend Skin, and hydrocortisone creams can also reduce the occurrence of ingrown hairs. Avoid picking and wear loose clothing post-wax. See a doctor promptly or consult with our expert at Jumana Saloon if a severe infection occurs. With some care, you can reap the smooth skin benefits of waxing without the irritation of ingrown hairs.