Ingrown hairs are an unfortunate by-product of being the kind of person that wants smooth, hair-free limbs. While they may be a little uncomfortable and unsightly, they’re nothing to get upset over because thankfully, they’re easy to treat and a few simple steps will go a long way in preventing them altogether. Read on for everything you need to know about ingrown hairs!
What are ingrown hairs?
Ingrowns are hairs that become trapped in the hair follicle and instead of growing up and out of the skin, grow underneath the top layer. They often look like little red and inflamed bumps and in some cases can present as painful, pimple looking spots with a small amount of fluid in them.
What causes ingrown hairs?
Anyone can get ingrown hairs however those with thick, curly or coarse hair are more likely to suffer as the pattern of the hair encourages it to bend back and re-enter the skin after it’s been shaved or cut. This is why ingrown hairs are so common in the pubic region.
You may find a few ingrown hairs pop up after waxing as the weakened hair doesn’t have the strength to grow back through the skin. Shaving is also a huge culprit due to the way you are unevenly slicing the hair off at the skin. The sharp tip left behind makes it harder for the hair to grow straight and easier for it to head back underneath the skin.
A lack of exfoliation can also leave you with ingrown hairs as dead skin cells block the follicle causing the hair to grow inward.
How can you prevent ingrown hairs?
Proper exfoliation is the key step to preventing ingrown hairs. You should be exfoliating your limbs both before and after shaving, waxing or epilating any area to prevent dead skin build up.
You’ll also want to avoid wearing super tight pants that rub against your skin. This will not only irritate ingrown hairs you already have but also helps to push hairs back into the skin. The same goes for wearing uncomfortable underwear that rubs against your bikini line!
If you suffer from ingrown hairs around your face, retinoids can be a good preventative solution as they speed up skin cell renewal and help to prevent blockages from dead skin. Just be sure to ease into any new products and build a tolerance before going for the heavy hitting products.
How do you treat ingrown hairs?
The first step is to leave it alone. You should not pick at your ingrown hairs as digging around for that hair with a pair of tweezers will only unnecessarily break your skin and potentially leave you with a scab and scar.
Often ingrown hairs go away on their own however if you have a persistent bump you shouldn’t leave it untreated too long as it may become infected. A gentle exfoliation will help to uncover the hair and free it from your skin when you can then tweeze it out. AHAs are a great option as they won’t break the skin as you’re treating the ingrown area.
If you can see the hair from the surface, you can use a warm compress to soften the area and open the pores before very, very gently scraping away the surface skin to tweeze the hair out. Be sure to use a pointed tip tweezer that is clean and sterilised and disinfect the spot after removing the hair.