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What to know about cleansing and hair removal in the bikini area.

Intimate Grooming: What Women Need to Know

Bikini Bottoms

Whether you’re getting ready for swimsuit season or just want to look your best in that sexy new thong, you’ve probably given some thought to removing the hair along your bikini line.

Many companies that sell shaving products -- such as Philips, Remington, and Hair Care Down There -- market bikini-area trimmers designed to be as precise as possible and friendly to sensitive skin.

Shaving the Bikini Area

If you opt to shave your bikini area, you can avoid irritation by following these tips from Julie Harper, MD, clinical associate professor of dermatology at the University of Alabama-Birmingham and a spokeswoman for Philips Healthcare:

  • Treat razor burn and ingrown hairs by gently exfoliating the affected area with a washcloth in the shower. You can also trim the hair short -- but avoid shaving -- until the redness and irritation has subsided.
  • Resist the urge to perform DIY surgery on razor bumps and ingrown hairs. The bump could get infected and you might be left with an ugly scar. You can try gently lifting ingrown hairs with a toothpick, but don’t use anything too sharp. If the hair doesn’t lift easily, stop, and if the area is tender or hot to the touch, see your doctor.
  • Don't take hot showers or baths for several hours after removing hair. Water that's too hot can irritate pores, causing unwanted bumps and discomfort.
  • To avoid irritation, don't work out or wear tight clothing immediately after grooming. Skin can be extra-sensitive to bacteria, moisture, and chafing from your workout clothes.

Many women prefer longer-lasting results and choose to get a bikini wax. Hair removal is one of the top three services requested in spas, according to Spa Trade, a spa industry business resource.

Traditional or Brazilian Wax

A Brazilian wax removes more hair than a bikini wax, says Susmta Patel, founder and creative director of Studio Sush, in Saddle Brook, N.J. A traditional bikini wax focuses on the front and sides (what would be visible in a swimsuit). The Brazilian removes the front, sides, back and everything in between, often leaving only a strip of hair in the front, or none at all. Most of the time, you can leave your underwear on during a standard bikini wax, but for a Brazilian, you won't wearpanties.

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