“Ugh, another one? But I just got rid of the one from last week!” is probably what we all think when we spot the tiny, annoying red bump on our skin known as ingrown hair. While it does go away on its own after a while, the sheer discomfort it brings often makes you want to get it out of your skin the second you’ve spotted it.
Let’s find out more about the pesky little buggers, how to completely prevent their appearance, and how to get rid of them in the cleanest, safest way possible.
Table of Contents:
- What Are Ingrown Hairs?
- How to Prevent Ingrown Hairs
- How to Get Rid of Ingrown Hairs
What Are Ingrown Hairs?
Essentially, ingrown hair is a small bit of hair that, instead of finishing its growing phase by reaching the outside of the skin, goes back into the skin, clogging it. Ingrown hairs (and especially ingrown pubic hairs) are very common, and they usually make their appearance in the form of red, inflamed bumps.
While they do not cause a lot of harm, their growth direction is unnatural, and as such, they can cause a bit of hurt and are also highly unaesthetic. Chances are you might have heard people referring to these red bumps as 'strawberry skin,' especially when they're found on the legs.
There are no limitations to who can get ingrown hairs – they can happen to anyone, regardless of their skin or hair type. That being said, people who have curly hair, thick hair, or coarse hair are more prone to getting these bumps after the hair removal procedure because their hair follicle is curved rather than straight.
Since ingrown hairs usually happen because of shaving, they are also commonly known as 'razor bumps.' However, shaving isn't the only hair removal process that can cause them to appear. It can just as easily happen after tweezing and waxing.
How to Prevent Ingrown Hairs
There’s no need to deal with ingrown hairs if they don’t show up in the first place, right? Here are just a few tried and true tips on how to prevent ingrown hairs from bugging you in the future:
Fresh Shave, Fresh Razor
If your preferred hair removal method is shaving (especially for pubic hair), make sure to always use a sharp, clean, and efficient razor. More importantly, stop holding on to the ones you have been using for months if you notice that they’re no longer performing as well as they should!
While you might be saving a bit of money initially, you are also compromising the health of your skin, and that’ll cost you a lot more in the long run than a new $10 razor bundle.
A weekly round of exfoliation with a reliable natural body scrub will remove the dead skin cells that might trap those ingrown hairs as well. Oftentimes, this is just the step that’s missing from so many people's skin-care routine, and it can be precisely what you need to be saved from the terror of razor bumps!
Treat the Inflammation Now and Later
For immediate action, some over-the-counter cream rich in nourishing nutrients might be just what you need to reduce the inflammation.
Sometimes, the ingrown hairs go away on their own. But if they don't, for a long-term solution, book an appointment with your doctor and get their expert recommendation for anti-inflammatory topical products if the (infected) ingrown hair issue remains persistent.
Use Natural Oils
You can also try the at-home remedy of applying an all-natural essential oil to the area affected by the ingrown hair. Tea tree, peppermint, and lemongrass are just some of the essential oils offering powerful antibacterial properties coupled with the added boon of nurtured and revitalized skin post-ingrown hair bumps. Just make sure you dilute them properly, in a carrier oil.
How to Get Rid of Ingrown Hairs
Sometimes, you just have to pull the Band-Aid and get it over with. Or, in this case, pluck the stubborn bit of hair that's been buried beneath your skin and just won't come out.
While some people only get a few razor bumps, others might suffer from so many of them that they’ve stopped counting long ago. If you do have only a few, or perhaps if you have the necessary patience, you can try to extract them manually by tweezing (although this method is guilty of causing ingrown hairs in the first place, so extra care will be needed).
If done slowly and properly, tweezing might help the problem and get rid of the ingrown hairs altogether. Here’s how to prepare adequately for it:
- Wash the targeted skin area with warm water and a gentle body wash to prevent irritations from chemical perfumes or other harsh chemicals. Apply a warm compress.
- After that, try to exfoliate. If you choose a scrub, try not to be too insistent with it since razor bumps are extremely sensitive.
- Prepare a clean washcloth beforehand, and damp it in warm water, subsequently applying it to the ingrown hairs for a few minutes. This will open up the pores, making the extraction easier.
- To pull out the hairs, use sterilized tweezers – you do not want an infection on top of everything.
- Finally, wash the area again and apply an anti-inflammatory body lotion, preferably one with hydrating properties.
Something’s Gotta Give
If tweezing doesn’t bring you much success, here are a few other methods you can try until you can safely apply our prevention tips:
- While shaving has a bad reputation for giving razor bumps, waxing isn’t always a magical solution either. However, some claim that waxing has saved their skin from ingrown hairs through its below-the-skin intensive action, so it could work just as well in your own case.
- Using depilatory cream is the most popular solution for preventing ingrown pubic hairs and ingrown hairs on other delicate body parts. However, not everyone has a pleasant experience with depilatory creams, and that is usually because of the harsh chemicals they contain. Check the label and do some research before you apply it to your skin.
- The most efficient hair removal method is probably laser removal. It works by emitting a light that ultimately destroys the hair follicle and prevents regrowth. In the case of deeply ingrown hairs, this might be the drastic solution you are looking for, as it will guarantee you get rid of them once and for all.
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