Everyone naturally has bacteria on their skin. Plus, your household surfaces hold germs, too, no matter how much you like to clean. So you can’t totally avoid germs. Bacteria, sweat, and friction on exposed follicles can all lead to irritation or in some cases, infection. A case of itchy bumps or a painful swollen spot is the last thing you want when going fuzz-free, but it can happen during or after a waxing session and lead to one of the following infections: Folliculitis. This is an inflammation or an infection of the hair follicles and usually looks like pimples or a rash. It may cause a whitehead — try not to pop it. Boils. Also called abscesses, these result when a bacterial or fungal infection of the hair follicle creates a raised red bump that may rupture. Ingrown hair cysts. These can occur when your waxed hair starts to grow back. Instead of growing toward the surface, the hair grows into the skin, causing a bump. If it becomes inflamed, it may result in a cyst. Not all ingrown hair cysts are infected, but taking precautions to prevent ingrown hairs from developing and treating them properly can reduce the chance of infection. Molluscum contagiosum. This is a viral infection that causes benign bumps in the pubic region, and pubic hair removal has been linked to a possible increased risk for contracting it.
Avoiding infection starts with proper skin preparation mentioned above, but you should also take precautions to wax yourself in a clean space and use clean equipment. That may mean using a disinfectant spray or wipes first, and sterilizing equipment. Don’t store a waxing warmer on a bathroom counter where it can collect germs from the air. If it’s grimy, give it a scrub or wipe it off with a cotton ball dipped in alcohol.