Ingrown hairs can be caused by a number of reasons. The main reasons for ingrown hairs can be waxing, plucking and even shaving. An ingrown hair curls back under the skin and is unable to poke out through the skin, Ingrown hairs cause red, often itchy bumps where a hair has grown back into the skin.This can cause irritation on the skin, The ingrown hairs can cause mild erythema and swelling at the site of the ingrown hair. Sometimes the area can get infected from the ingrown hair which can be painful and red at the site of the ingrowing hair. Folliculitis is caused when the area surrounding the ingrowing hair is infected.
Folliculitis is usually treated with antibiotics however this is when there are several ingrown hairs that become infected. If there is just the one hair follicle that appears infected under the skin, this can be left alone, and it will resolve by itself.
Oily or acne prone skin can sometimes exacerbate the ingrown hairs as the follicle gets clogged with oil which results in the hair not being able to poke through the skin. Coarse and curly hair can also cause ingrown hair more frequently than people with finer and straight hair.
Ingrown hair Symptoms:
- Papules which appear inflamed and bumpy
- Pustules which appear red around the edges but filled with pus and have a yellow head to them
Preventing Ingrown Hairs:
- You can prevent ingrown hairs by following these steps:
- Exfoliate the skin twice a week using a chemical exfoliant or a body scrub to help each ingrown hair out of the skin.
- Body brushing helps with circulation and also removes any dead skins which have not shed. Removing the dead skin cells will help ease any ingrown hairs out.
- Using an AHA or BHA product which can contain active ingredients.
- Shaving the correct way, glide the razor in the direction of hair growth.
- Invest in better razors so that they are able to remove the hairs as close to the skin as possible.
- If you are waxing, ensure the wax is removed in the direction of hair growth.
- Avoid dry shaving as this can impact the skin’s barrier and cause further irritation.
How to Get Rid of Ingrown Hairs
You can decrease your chances of getting ingrown hairs by avoiding waxing, plucking or epilating the area.
Investing into having a permanent hair reduction with laser hair removal can decrease your chances of ingrown hairs. Laser hair removal targets the hair follicle deep within the skin which is destroyed by laser resulting in thermal damage to the hair follicle. If the hair follicle is damaged this will help with the coarseness of the hair and prevent any further ingrown hairs. Laser hair removal will not only give you a permanent reduction in hair growth it will also reduce the amount of time spent shaving and will reduce the likelihood of ingrown hairs.
If you want to shave, or remove hair in another way, there are things you can do to prevent ingrown hairs and help them get better quicker.
- wet your skin with warm water and use shaving gel
- shave in the direction the hairs are growing
- use as few strokes of the razor as possible
- rinse the razor after every stroke
- hold a cool, wet cloth to your skin after shaving to reduce irritation
- use an exfoliating scrub to help release any trapped hairs
- try a different hair removal method, such as hair removal cream
- try a long-term way of removing hair, such as laser treatment
- do not shave too close – leaving some stubble can stop bacteria getting in
- do not use a blunt razor – use a new, sharp, single-blade razor every time you shave
- do not scratch, pick or squeeze ingrown hairs as this can damage your skin and lead to infection
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