Whether you’re trying to cut down on salon appointments or just got caught out with an unexpected beach invite, you’ve no doubt tried your hand at waxing or shaving once or twice.
If you've experienced (or are still experiencing) the resulting joys of ingrowns, irritation or scarring, we’ve got some handy tips from MECCA's skincare education manager, Lucy Shaw.
It's worth noting that these tips and tricks are for those waxing and shaving at home - if you've had a laser treatment, it's best to check in with your beauty therapist on your pre- and post-care routine.
Skin prep and pre-care to avoid ingrowns
According to Shaw, keeping the area regularly exfoliated and hydrated is your best bet to avoid ingrowns in the first place. "By exfoliating, you'll remove layers of dead, stubborn and tough skin that creates a physical barrier preventing the new hair from breaking through the surface of the skin," she explains. "Keeping the area hydrated in the lead up and after treatment is also important because this helps to keep this layer of skin soft and supple."
Shaw also recommends a targeted treatment once a week or an everyday body wash that you can keep in the shower and will remember to use each day, followed by a hydrating body cream when you get out of the shower.
Speaking of showers, make sure you’re changing your towel regularly. Damp towels can harbour unwanted bacteria that contributes to the formation of ingrowns. Horrifying? Yes. Let's move on.
If any ingrown hairs occur
After an ingrown, if scarring has occurred
Once the ingrown hair has been targeted, it will take around a week to heal, but the scarring that can be left behind may last a significant amount of time (even months). Shaw recommends being patient when it comes to the healing process. "Use a treatment product with niacinamide to help reduce the appearance of any redness or dark pigment on the area." Try Nécessaire's The Body Lotion: it contains niacinamide to help improve the appearance of scarring whilst deeply hydrating the skin. If the area of concern is out in the sun, always ensure you are diligent with sun protection - reapply as per the directions on the bottle if you're on the beach or outdoors exposing the area to sunlight.
To aid with healing and to manage any scarring, try the Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Exfoliating Body Treatment. It offers 360 degree treatment that exfoliates and removes dead skin, while actively targeting scarring and pigmentation.
If you've had laser or hair removal treatment done professionally, ensure that you aren't exfoliating straight afterwards. "Check in with your clinic on when is best to start using treatment products," Shaw suggests. "If you've just done an at home shaving or waxing treatment, wait at least 24 hours before exfoliating, as your top layer of skin needs time to regenerate (both waxing and shaving remove a significant amount of dead skin).