And now that you’ve noticed your weird-ass nipple hair, you probably want to know how to get rid of it – especially if you plan on taking your shirt off this summer.
First things first: Don’t grab your razor and try to shave your nipples. An accidental nick could cause itching, irritating, or bleeding – and bloody nipples are way worse than slightly hairy ones.
Instead, choose one of these safer options.
Your Most Expensive Option: Laser Hair Removal
If you decide to nip your nipple hair in the bud for good, laser hair removal is your most permanent – but priciest – option.
How it works: Laser light is fine-tuned to the specific pigment of your follicles, allowing the heat energy to eliminate the hair without burning a hole in your surrounding skin.
It isn’t a one-time fix-all. You’ll have to have a handful of procedures before you see results.
Schedule a consultation with a professional to make sure the treatment is right for you. Most procedures start at around $250 per visit, but many offices offer special prices when you buy a package deal (like $100 for four visits).
Use a clipper to gently trim down your nipple hair before you go under a laser, and stay out of the sun before and after each treatment, says Dr Mitch Chasin, founder and medical director of the Reflections Centre for Skin and Body in Martinsville, New Jersey.
Your Most Painful Option: Waxing
If you don’t mind screaming profanities (or shedding a tear) in the name of smoother skin, try waxing. Find a centre that specialises in body waxing and favours all-natural elastic, like Uni K and European Wax.
Having someone wax your nipples is just like asking a pro to wax any other part of your body, says Holly Green, a skin and wax expert at Norabloom Botanicals and Beauty Lounge in Miami: Your skin is prepped, waxed, and soothed with an ointment or aloe vera.
A typical waxing appointment costs $30. Waxing slows hair growth, but doesn’t permanently remove it, so you’ll need to schedule an appointment every 3 to 4 weeks.
Before each waxing, prep your skin by exfoliating. Soak a cotton ball in witch hazel (found at your pharmacy) and cleanse your nipples. The alcohol is a natural astringent that gets rid of dirt and grease – perfect for a pre-wax clean.
Apply Jojoba oil ($13, amazon.com), an anti-inflammatory that’ll help with post-wax redness.
A waxing appointment only lasts for 10 minutes, but your nipples will be sore for a few hours after the procedure, so wear a loose-fitting tee.
Your Cheapest Option: Use a Tweezer
If you see your nipple hair as more of a minor annoyance than a serious problem you’d actually spend money to treat, then all you need is a tweezer.
Before you tweeze, take a hot shower – the heat will open up hair follicles, so it’s easier to grab the root – and pat the skin around your nipples dry.
Steal your girlfriend’s magnifying mirror to get as close to the root as possible. Pull each strand quickly and firmly in the direction your hair grows.
This technique may sound obvious, but first timers often tend to pluck clumps of hair at once, and don’t always get the root, which can lead to irritation, bumps, and ingrown hairs.
This article was originally published on MensHealth.com