Wellness Skincare What Causes a Rash After Bikini Waxing? Irritated skin, an infection of the hair follicles, or an allergic reaction may be the cause of your post-wax rash. By Dr. Roshini Raj Dr. Roshini Raj Roshini Raj, MD, is Health magazine's medical editor and coauthor of What the Yuck?!. Board-certified in gastroenterology and internal medicine, Dr. Raj is a Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at New York University Medical Center, a contributor on the Today show, and a co-founder of the Tula skin care line. health's editorial guidelines Published on April 8, 2015 Share this page on Facebook Share this page on Twitter Share this page on Pinterest Email this page Typically, a bikini wax removes the pubic hair that shows outside the leg openings of bikini-style underwear or swimwear using wax. The wax can be hot or cold, depending on your waxing treatment. Some people can develop a nasty and itchy rash after waxing. Sometimes, that rash comes from the irritation of your clothes rubbing up against the affected area. Other times, a rash is actually folliculitis, an infection of the hair follicle. Some people with a history of eczema or sensitive skin may have an allergic contact dermatitis flare in response to waxing. To avoid developing a rash after bikini waxing, remember to wear loose clothing, avoid swimming or hot showers for at least 24 hours, and apply a cool compress or gentle moisturizer to the affected area. Learn what causes a bikini-wax rash, how to treat folliculitis and allergic contact dermatitis, and how to prevent a rash. Getty Images What Causes a Rash After Waxing? You can expect some post-wax redness no matter what, but a few things can make the discomfort worse. For example, without that protective layer of hair, rubbing your clothes against your skin can irritate it. Waxing rips hair out at the root, opening the follicles. As a result, waxing makes you prone to folliculitis, or an infection that causes itchy, red bumps or pustules. You may be allergic to the wax, which would cause a painful rash or breakout to appear a day later. Waxing can trigger allergic contact dermatitis, or eczema, in the genital area. Risk Factors Anyone can develop a rash after bikini waxing. Still, certain risk factors may make you susceptible to folliculitis, such as: DiabetesLengthy antibiotic useObesityWeak immune system Likewise, allergic contact dermatitis can affect anyone. People with a history of eczema are more likely to develop an allergic reaction than others. Although the exact cause of eczema is unknown, a weak skin barrier may play a role. Risk factors for a weak skin barrier that may cause eczema include: A family history of eczemaExposure to tobacco smoke and air pollutantsScented skin products and soapsVery dry skinWeak immune system 10 Things To Know Before Getting a Bikini Wax Treatments for a Bikini-Wax Rash Treatment depends on what causes your skin to develop a rash after bikini waxing. For example, to treat folliculitis, apply a warm compress to the affected area for 15–20 minutes, three to four times daily. The American Academy of Dermatology Association advises stopping waxing the area for at least 30 days while the infection clears. Consult a healthcare provider if folliculitis does not go away on its own. They may prescribe topical or oral antibiotics or antifungal medicine. In contrast, to treat allergic contact dermatitis, you can try the following: Applying an over-the-counter (OTC) hydrocortisone cream to the affected areaSoaking the affected area in cool waterTaking oral OTC antihistaminesUsing a gentle moisturizer How To Prevent a Rash After Waxing Try the following to prevent a rash, including folliculitis, after bikini waxing: Apply a cool compress to reduce pain.Avoid swimming or taking long, hot showers—which keep pores open.Use a moisturizer that will not clog your pores.Wear loose, breathable underwear to lessen the friction. With allergic contact dermatitis, you will want to avoid any wax that causes a flare. Ask an aesthetician to use a different wax next time if you are allergic to a specific type. Health Benefits of Natural Pubic Hair You do not need to remove your pubic hair. Still, consider other pubic hair removal methods if you want to remove the hair and often develop a rash after bikini waxing. For example, to avoid a rash while shaving your pubic area, take note of the following steps: Soften the skin and hair with water. Apply shaving cream or gel to the area. Use products for sensitive skin if you are prone to dryness or redness. Using a clean razor, shave in the direction of your hair growth. After each swipe, rinse the hair out of your razor. Dry your razor completely before putting it away to avoid bacteria growth. Avoid keeping your razor in the shower. Toss reusable razors, or replace your razor heads, every five to seven shaves. In addition to shaving, other pubic hair removal methods include trimming, tweezing, depilatories, laser hair removal, and electrolysis. A Quick Review A bikini wax is a useful option to get rid of pubic hair near your bikini or underwear line. Some people may develop a rash, which may actually be a case of folliculitis or allergic contact dermatitis. To prevent a rash after your next bikini wax appointment, wear loose clothing, avoid swimming or hot showers for at least 24 hours, and apply a cool compress or gentle moisturizer to the affected area. You may want to avoid bikini waxing or a certain type of wax if you develop an allergic reaction. Health's medical editor, Roshini, Rajapaksa, MD, is assistant professor of medicine at the NYU School of Medicine and co-founder of Tula Skincare. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit 9 Sources Health.com uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Acne-like breakouts could be folliculitis. National Eczema Society. Female genital eczema. Winters RD, Mitchell M. Folliculitis. In: StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing; 2023. Litchman G, Nair PA, Atwater AR, et al. Contact dermatitis. In: StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing; 2023. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Atopic dermatitis treatment, symptoms & causes. MedlinePlus. Folliculitis. Murphy PB, Atwater AR, Mueller M. Allergic contact dermatitis. In: StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing; 2023. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Hair removal: How to wax. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Hair removal: How to shave.