Even with the best epilator, epilating is not without discomfort. The skin is going to react. Believe it or not, redness after epilation is actually a good sign. It means the hair was pulled from the root. When you shave, you are just cutting hair on the surface of the skin. An epilator will remove hair from the root. The benefit is that you won’t have to remove your hair as often. What can you do to prevent and get rid of epilating bumps?
When I first epilated, I was horrified at the way my skin looked. I looked like a plucked chicken. I know a lot of people are nervous about epilating because they don’t know what to expect. Your skin will be slightly irritated and red especially if you have never epilated or waxed before. It looks similar to razor burn or red irritated skin. Depending on how sensitive your skin is, it is normal to see histamine bumps especially when epilating the face. Everybody’s skin reacts differently. It is not pretty at all, but this normally clears up in a few hours but sometimes it can take a couple of days. This is a temporary side effect of removing hair at the root.
Here is how my skin looked immediately after epilating it.
As you can see there is mild erythema or redness in the area I epilated. Sometimes you can even get bumps if you have sensitive skin. Everybody’s skin reacts differently as the follicle releases the hair.
When you wake up in the morning, the redness usually disappears. Here is how my skin looked the next day.
What can you do to reduce the redness and heal faster? There are steps you can take to lessen the irritation. You want the epilator to cleanly remove the hair I’ve talked about this before, but here is a quick summary. These are basic steps:
Trim the hair
Exfoliate in the shower
Cleanse the skin with an antiseptic
Remove moisture with a talc free baby powder
Calm the skin
Wear light clothing
Use heat. Heat makes the skin more pliable, allowing the hair to slip out easier. The first thing I do is take a warm shower before I epilate. This will soften the hair.This not only helps the epilator pick up the hair better, but it makes the whole process much less painful and causes less irritation.
If you find that that your hair breaks easily, it is best not to take a shower since it make hair softer. Instead use a warm compress and cleanse the skin with an antiseptic.
Prepping the skin for epilation is very important. Try to avoid heavy exfoliation and chemical exfoliants like AHAs and BHAs. I like to lightly exfoliate right before I epilate in the shower but it can be a little too stimulating for some people. If that’s you, you can do it the day before. I’ve talked about the benefits of exfoliation a lot because it is so important when epilating. Before you epilate, it’s good to get rid of the dead layer of skin cells for a couple of reasons.
It removes dirt,bacteria, and oil on the skin’s surface which can cause an infection or ingrown hair. Once hair is removed from the root, the skin is more vulnerable to infection. Exfoliating also helps the hair easily stand up off the skin, which makes it easier for the epilator to grab the hair.
If you have a wet and dry epilator, you can epilate in the shower. For me it seems to cause a lot less redness and irritation, but I find that it takes longer to remove hair under water especially in the shower. When you first start you can do it this way until your skin gets used to the plucking.
After epilating, you want to calm the skin. With different products you can have a different reaction. There is no best product or worst product because it is a matter of personal choice and your type of skin. I don’t think it is safe for me to recommend any product because what works for me won’t necessarily work for you.
Post epilation, your skin is more exposed and prone to infection. After epilating there are actually tiny microscopic wounds on the skin which bacteria can enter so it is important to clean the skin with an antiseptic like 100 % tea tree oil or 100% witch hazel. Treat it like you would treat any small wound. This is why you shouldn’t touch the area you epilated since bacteria on your fingers can get into the skin.
Wait at least 45 minutes to an hour before applying any moisturizer. If I apply any moisturizer immediately after my skin breaks out with a horrible rash. If you have sensitive skin, it is best not to apply anything immediately after until the skin calms down. The safest bet is to use a 100% aloe vera gel or witch hazel. Don’t use a lotion that contains preservatives, color, or alcohol. I like icing the area to reduce any inflammation or swelling. I find using 100% aloe vera out of the fridge really helps calm the skin after.
If you get histamine bumps on the skin, you can use Calamine and Benadryl, to help your skin heal but usually these go away on their own.
If you develop a mild infection, Neosporin, witch hazel, or tea treat oil can help treat it.
To help the redness heal faster, some people recommend hydrocortizone cream, but I don’t like to use that too much since it thins the skin over time.
If you are new to epilation or haven’t epilating in awhile, there will be red dots on the skin. These dots are blood spots. You usually get them on the legs or body. For areas with coarser hair like the underarms and bikini area, bleeding may happen since the hair is much stronger. When the hair is removed, the blood feeding the hair gathers at the spot of hair removal because it has nowhere to go. Try applying ice on the affected area. Within a couple of hours, this blood should be absorbed back by the body.
The first few times you epilate your skin is just getting used to the whole process of hair removal at the root. Your skin might get bumpy and red, but that settles down with ice followed up by moisturizing. As your body gets used to the plucking sensation, it will heal faster.
Ideally, you don’t want to cover the area you epilated, because friction from clothing can cause irritation. If you are going to wear something, wear something light like cotton pajamas.
Refrain from using fragrances, tanning products, or deodorants for at least 2 days. After epilating, be sure to follow it up with a good aftercare routine to prevent ingrown hair.
Have your tried epilating? How long did it take your skin to heal?