Explainer: Why you get those red bumps on your legs after shaving.

Dear legs, I just want you to be happy. Source: iStock.

I love the convenience of shaving my legs (who has time to wax, really?) but don’t love the tiny bumps that sometimes appear on them.

So what exactly are they and how can I get rid of them? Dr Jodie Silleri, a cosmetic physician and general practitioner from the enRich Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery Centre, explained the situation to me.

“The tiny bumps on your leg after shaving are due to inflammation of the hair follicles, known as folliculitis. After a close shave when the hair follicle grows through the skin, it irritates the skin and you are left with red, bumpy rough texture,” she explains.

While it sucks, it sounds like if you want hair-free legs you’ll just need to put up with the bumps, right? Not exactly.

“The best way to prevent folliculitis is to shave in the direction of the hair growth. This stops the hair from irritating your skin as it grows back through. Although it is not as smooth a result as shaving against the direction of the hair growth (or against the grain), the bumps will disappear for good,” explained Dr Silleri.

“This means it might be time to throw away your electric razor too, as more often than not the blades rotate in every direction and can also cause folliculitis. It may seem unnatural to shave down the leg, but if you want to avoid red bumpy rough texture it is essential.” (Post continues after gallery.)

Are there other ways I can get rid of the bumps?

“To get rid of your bumps have a chat to your GP or skin doctor for some advice. Topical preparations with glycolic acid or sometimes an antibiotic can settle existing folliculitis and prevent it from happening in the future.”

Will waxing make a difference? (Source: iStock.)

Try exfoliating your legs post-shave with Innoxa Renew Anti Ageing Exfoliator, $17.99 (which contains glycolic acid). Then following up with a moisturiser containing glycolic acid like NeoStrata Ultra Smoothing Lotion, $49.99.

Is waxing a better way to remove hair?

"Unfortunately, the same issue can happen with waxing. The best way to remove hair from your body and minimise the risk of folliculitis is with hair laser. This treatment rapidly shrinks the size of the hair follicle so it acts less like an irritating foreign body as it grows through," explains Dr Silleri.

"Although permanent hair loss is actually difficult to achieve, simply shrinking the size of the hair follicle can stop folliculitis in its tracks."

So, for smooth, bump-free legs, shave in the direction of the hair growth, avoid electric razors, and try topically applying a gentle product with glycolic acid to the legs.

What's your tip for maintaining soft, smooth legs?