Written by Alicia Lartey
Image by @didistone
After the false start, we can finally focus on the real summer, aka bikini season. No matter how you feel about yourself, everyone deserves to look and feel good in a bikini, or at least make their experience as comfortable as possible. The increased visibility of skin can make you hyper-aware of your skin condition or concerns, I personally like to address skin concerns that may cause discomfort. Bikini season used to strike fear into my heart due to my persistent body acne, ingrown hairs, and hyperpigmentation that I dealt with for a number of years. Body breakouts and ingrown hairs particularly were an uncomfortable time for me, as I’m sure they are for many, as they often prevented me from wearing what I desired or even having a comfortable hair removal process.
Should you choose to remove body hair ahead of bikini season, now is the time to figure out which method works best for you and which method is in line with your budget. Ingrown hairs can arise from any form of hair removal method and are usually the result of blocked follicles or snagged hair. These uncomfortable ingrown hairs can often result in hyperpigmentation or other forms of scarring. The faster you can gain control over your ingrown hairs the better. There are a variety of methods that can be used to minimise ingrown hairs, such as using a cold compress or an alcohol-based solution to dry out any potential bumps. Of all the ingrown hair management methods, exfoliation is by far my favourite as it not only helps to manage the actual ingrown hair but also the pigmentation which occurs as a result. Whether it is shaving or laser hair removal, your skin will greatly benefit from exfoliation to remove any potential debris that may become lodged in the hair follicle.
The first step to any form of skin treatment is regular use of sunscreen, many skin treatments can make the skin more sensitive to the sun and without protection exposes the skin to further damage. Any damage to the skin can make skin ageing more apparent, the most common form of skin damage is from UVA/UVB sun exposure which works by damaging the DNA within your skin cells. Finding the right sunscreen for your skin type can be quite difficult, but the most important thing is to find one you are comfortable with spending your money on and reapplying. Sunscreen typically makes use of either mineral filters such as zinc oxide or chemical filters such as avobenzone, it does not matter which type of sunscreen you choose as long as it works for you.
ExfoliKate Resurfacing Body Scrub
Prior to hair removal, I enjoy using a scrub to help smooth out the area, the Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Resurfacing Body Scrub is a true gem in helping you get bikini ready. I like to use this three times a week in the evenings on damp skin before my choice of hair removal. If you are going to shave, you would be able to use this 24 hours before shaving, for laser hair removal I would suggest pausing your use of the ExfoliKate Body Scrub one week before your appointment and the same goes for waxing. This particular body scrub contains salicylic acid to unclog pores and lactic acid to brighten and hydrate the skin. I would also recommend resuming your use of exfoliants after hair removal to act as a preventative step in your body care routine.
If a scrub is not to your liking, an easy-to-use exfoliating roll-on solution may be more suitable for your needs. High-Roller topicals by Topicals is a gentle yet effective exfoliating treatment that contains Zinc PCA [calming ingredient], niacinamide [calming and brightening ingredient], Glycolic acid [resurfacing ingredient], salicylic acid [helps to remove build up]; as well as fan favourite centella Asiatica [calms redness and soothes discomfort].
Sometimes no matter how many precautions you take, it is still possible to get ingrown hair. In those sticky situations, I always recommend reaching for Nelsons Arnica Cream to provide immediate relief from redness and irritation. Though it is not a long term solution, having some arnica cream on hand can sometimes be the difference between enjoying an event or going home. Before applying your arnica cream I would recommend cleaning the area with a cleansing wipe.
With the additional exfoliation in your routine, comes the need for additional steps of hydration. The Necessaire Body Serum is a favourite of mine as it is fragrance-free and can even be applied to the face. Hydration is a key part of dealing with the aftermath of an ingrown hair and should not be skipped. I would recommend applying the Body Serum twice per day, after cleansing and before any leave on exfoliating steps.
Jersey Cotton under line
As part of my bikini season prep, I often like to review the fabrics that I allow to touch my skin. Natural fibres such as organic cotton and flax (linen), are my go-to summer choices as they are often the least irritating and the most breathable. It would be impossible to ensure every outfit that I wear is made from either fibre so choosing the right underwear is a great start. The Skims Jersey Cotton underline is a stylish, yet practical choice.
Regardless of what your skin looks like, comfort ability is the key to a successful bikini season filled with sunshine and enjoyment.