Reader Q&A: How Do I Prevent Bikini Bumps?

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Swimsuit season is upon us, which brings us to that perennial hot weather worry: Bikini bumps. Recently, we received a crush of reader emails asking how to prevent razor burn before hitting the beach -- and as it happens, we have a solution! Here, we address the bikini bump issue, head on: QUESTION: I'm going on vacation to Jamaica in three weeks, and I have the cutest bikini -- but there's a problem. Every time I wax or shave, I break out in terrible bumps. I hate the way it looks. What can I do to prevent them? --Kirsten K., Chevy Chase, MD ANSWER: We truly sympathize -- bikini bumps are no fun. And since Black women have curly hair, the bumps are even more prevalent. Here's how it works. As the hair grows back after shaving or waxing, it sometimes curls into itself under the skin, causing clogged pores and ingrown hair bumps. The best way to get rid of bikini irritation is to: A.) Gently exfoliate the area before waxing or shaving (try a mild scrub like Kiehl's Gentle Exfoliating Body Scrub, $25). And...  B.) After hair removal, swipe the area with a salicylic or glycolic acid-soaked pad to help clear pores (Completely Bare Bikini Bump Blaster, $32, comes with 60 ingrown hair-curing pads). Voila, a sexy, smooth bikini line!