We’ve been shaving for decades, but as our skin has become more sensitive with age, it seems that red, painful rashes and ingrown hairs have become a post-shave inevitability. To the rescue: innovative ways to get smooth skin sans irritation. Keep reading to find out the best hair-removal strategies for bikini lines, legs, and underarms!
Best for the Bikini Line
Sharp razor blades can cause microscopic tears in the thin, delicate skin along the bikini area, allowing bacteria to seep in and create painful red bumps, says New York City dermatologist Rachel Nazarian, M.D. What can help: a bikini line–specific razor like Venus for Pubic Hair & Skin (Buy from Amazon, $15). It features double blades with a bar between them that creates a buffer, so blades swipe away hair with minimal skin contact. Plus, its weighted handle absorbs pressure from the hand for a lighter touch that further reduces bump-causing cuts.
Best for Legs
Repeatedly running a razor over legs to remove the larger swaths of hair disrupts the outer layer of skin, causing dehydration and inflammation that manifests as a rash-like burn. Instead, try a cream-based depilatory like Nair Leg Mask Even & Smooth (Buy from Amazon, $14.50). “Its calcium thioglycolate dissolves the bonds between hair proteins at the root without the physical trauma caused by a razor,” says Dr. Nazarian. Bonus: It’s infused with fatty acid–rich shea butter, which locks in moisture to keep skin’s barrier balanced, hydrated, and free of irritation.
Best for Underarms
Unusual growth patterns and the awkward contour of the underarm make the area especially prone to rashes and nicks when shaving. To reduce hair with less irritation and get smooth skin, Dr. Nazarian recommends a hair-removal technology called intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy. This in-office treatment stops hair growth by using varying wavelengths of light energy that are absorbed by hair’s pigment and converted into heat, “damaging” follicles to curb new growth by as much as 80 percent over time. And while older lasers didn’t work for everyone (the light has to distinguish between hair color and skin color), the newest technology makes it an option for those with dark skin or light hair.
Even better? Once a pricey in-office treatment, you can now reap the benefits at home for hundreds less with the mē Smooth Permanent Hair Reduction Device (Buy from Amazon, $199). Simply use once a week for seven weeks, then once a month to maintain results.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.