How to Get a Smooth Bikini Line — Shave, Wax, Sugar, or Laser

For the best results, in addition to not exfoliating for a couple of days after your sugaring appointment, Claghorn recommends avoiding exposure to the sun, hot tubs, pools, or cosmetic products with potentially irritating fragrance for 48 hours post-treatment. “Skin will be more susceptible to UV rays and bacteria during this time,” she says. Also: Avoid sweating for 24 hours. “Perspiring could potentially clog the hair follicles and cause those pesky bumps.” Hayag agrees, adding that sweating could even lead to breakouts in the area.

That said, Claghorn says bumps are actually less likely with sugaring. “Unlike shaving or waxing, sugaring removes hair in the natural direction of hair growth, which helps to prevent ingrown hairs,” she says, and that’s especially true if you’re being consistent with your sugaring appointments. “Initially, it may take two to three sessions to work out ingrowns lying beneath the surface of the skin. Regular monthly maintenance will ensure smooth skin free of bumps — and hair.”


If regularly doing anything to achieve and maintain a smooth bikini area is annoying to you, it may be time to trade in your razor and say sayonara to your waxing and sugaring pros to visit a dermatologist for laser hair removal

“Lasers commonly used [for bikini-area hair removal] are the diode laser, alexandrite laser, and Nd:Yag laser. IPL (intense pulsed light) can also be used, but on lighter skin types,” Hayag says. “For darker skin types the Nd:Yag is safest because it has a relatively lower rate of melanin absorption, making it safer on the surface of the skin.”

Although Hayag says you should shave longer hairs at least 24 hours before treatment, other types of hair-removal are a big no-no when before or between laser hair-removal sessions. “Do not wax or tweeze the hair between laser treatments,” she explains. “The laser target is the follicle — the root of the hair — so it must be present for the laser to be effective.”

Although lasers promise the most permanent option for a smooth bikini area, it doesn’t come without risks. Hayag lists redness, swelling, pain during the procedure, burning or stinging sensations afterward, pigment changes, superficial skin infections, folliculitis from ingrown hairs, burning, blistering, scabbing, or crusting, textural changes, scarring as possible side effects. 

The risk for burning is higher in patients who have tanned prior to treatment because the additional melanin “competes for the laser energy,” she says, reiterating that Nd:Yag devices are the safer option for darker skin tones.

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