Head-to-Toe Summer Skincare
Shaving, Waxing, etc.Wax Pain-Free
Ripping out hair at the root hurts, no question. But being silky and smooth for up to three weeks after waxing makes the pain worth it. On sensitive areas, like the bikini line, apply wax in small strips, rather than large globs, says Cilmi. Then pull the wax off in the opposite direction of hair growth and as close to your skin as possible -- keep skin taut and don't pull straight up, to avoid bruising, she adds. To minimize discomfort, take ibuprofen 20 minutes before waxing, and apply a cream with lidocaine afterward.Avoid Nicks and Cuts
Shave in the shower -- warm water softens hair, making it easier to cut, says Dr. Gross. To help blades glide across skin, use a shaving cream or an oil. It's your choice: With a cream you can see where you still need to shave, while oil shows what you're shaving, says Annet King, a director of training for Dermalogica.
"When too much pressure is applied, you risk irritation and ingrown hairs," says Dr. Gross, who frequently treats patients with razor burn. The solution: Switch to a lightweight handle and use a fresh blade as often as possible. Try the new five-blade Venus Embrace, $9.99, drugstores -- it's superlight, and our beauty team raves that their legs have never felt smoother!Treat Ingrown Hairs
A topical treatment with salicylic acid or willow bark will gently exfoliate and kill bacteria around the inflamed follicle, says Dr. Gross.
Laser hair removal is the hot treatment to get, because it works. The new generation of lasers is safe for all skin tones, and after five sessions (about $450 each), spaced out every three to five weeks, patients see up to a 70 percent hair reduction, says Dr. Sadick. Be prepared to maintain the results with one or two treatments per year.
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, May 2008.
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