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Now that summer is here, you’ve probably begun prepping to show off your skin: exfoliating, moisturizing and, of course, waxing. We know it’s hard to believe but there is a way to make a reacquaintance with your waxer more bearable. Here are some tricks that actually help take the sting out of waxing from Allure.

1. Time it right. Make your appointment for the midpoint of your cycle, right around the time you’re ovulating. “Hormonal shifts, extra blood flow—almost everyone feels more discomfort right before, during, and after her period,” says Jodi Shays, owner of Queen Bee Salon & Spa in Los Angeles.

2. Don’t be a baby. Experienced waxers will testify that there’s a psychological component to managing the pain. It’s best to accept that some areas simply hurt more than others. The upper lip is notoriously nasty. The underarm? Weirdly not so much. If you’re extra sensitive, take an Advil or Motrin about a half hour before your appointment.

3. And don’t be a lush. A drink (or two) may calm your nerves before the treatment, but that alcohol is going to make the pain feel that much worse during the wax.

4. Avoid ingrowns. They’re painful to look at, and even more painful to deal with. But exfoliating and moisturizing regularly and thoroughly will minimize nasty ingrown hairs—not just right after waxing, but beforehand, too.

5. Get the red out. If your legs look sunburned for days after a wax, your “skin barrier was probably thinned by exfoliation,” says dermatologist Leslie Baumann. Apply a 1 percent hydrocortisone cream three times a day and take Advil every four hours.

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