Grooming a hairy back can be a challenge, and you may opt for waxing as a way to address it. Though waxing can be painful, it can be a quick and easy way to remove hair from some skin surfaces, including your back, says Jacqui Stafford, director of style for Shape magazine, in Men's Fitness magazine. Like all beauty treatments, however, waxing does carry some potential side effects, and you may notice weird bumps on your back after waxing.
There are three basic conditions that might be causing bumps to appear on your back post-waxing. Ingrown hairs, which are small, sharp-pointed hairs that burrow back into the skin, forming a hard bump, are a common culprit. Bacteria introduced to your hair follicles during waxing or during the sensitive post-waxing period can cause your hair follicles to become infected and form bumps, a condition called folliculitis. Additionally, some people can get skin infections, such as staph, from waxes, which can also cause bump-like skin irritation.
If your hair is curly, you're more likely to suffer from ingrown hairs, explains the Mayo Clinic's website. In fact, Hispanic and African American men between ages 14 and 25 are the most likely to get ingrown hairs, so if you fall into this demographic, there's a good chance that your bumps are ingrown hairs. Since folliculitis and skin infections are caused by bacteria, the likelihood of your bumps being caused by these more serious conditions is lower. If your bumps are itchy and pus-filled, they might be caused by folliculitis. If the skin around your bumps is red, painful and tender to the touch, your bumps may be caused by a skin infection. If you're not sure what's causing your bumps, your dermatologist should be able to help you figure it out.
To prevent the bumps, apply an over-the-counter antibiotic cream and 1 percent hydrocortisone cream to your back after waxing to prevent infection and inflammation, recommends Women's Health. Enlist help if you have trouble covering your back by yourself.
If waxing consistently gives you ingrown hairs and bumps, consider using laser treatments to eliminate your back hairs instead. Though laser treatment won't work for everyone, according to Jeffrey Dover, professor of dermatology at Yale University, lasers, especially Nd:YAG lasers, are the most effective way to remove back hairs. You'll need a few sessions to target all of the hairs, but if they work for you, you'll be permanently rid of unwanted back hair with no ingrown hairs to worry about.
Always use a waxing facility that's clean and well-maintained. Additionally, only visit a licensed cosmetologist or aesthetician for your back wax, recommends Rosanne Kinley, a former president of the National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology, in Women's Health. Ask a friend to check your bumps for swelling or redness, and call your doctor if you experience severe itching or run a fever after your back wax as these symptoms could be signs of an infection that requires medical treatment.
Holly Roberts is an award-winning health and fitness writer whose work has appeared in health, lifestyle and fitness magazines. Roberts has also worked as an editor for health association publications and medical journals. She has been a professional writer for more than 10 years and holds a B.A. in English and an M.A. in literature.