What are ingrown hairs? Complete Guide
Whether it’s once in a while or every time you shave or get a wax, ingrown hairs are a real pain. Let me take you on a tour on how to recognize, treat and most of all, prevent ingrown hairs from forming.
What are ingrown hairs?
An ingrown hair is a hair strand that grows back into the skin, as opposed to growing up and through the skin’s surface. Ingrown hairs are often accompanied by uncomfortable symptoms such as redness, itching and even acne-like bumps.
What does an ingrown hair look like?
Ingrown hairs typically look like a red bump with some irritation around it. When you touch the spot it will feel sensitive and slightly firm.
Below you will find a closeup imagine of an ingrown hair, followed by it completely healed.
More Pictures of Ingrown Hairs
How do you get an ingrown hair to the surface?
We recommend using a warm compress to help draw out the ingrown hair. This will soften the surface of the skin and help the hair pierce through the skin. If you still can't get an ingrown hair to pierce through the skin you can use a tweezer tool to break the skin, but we recommend trying other alternatives prior to breaking the skin. Even regular exfoliation can draw out the ingrown hair.
What causes ingrown hairs?
Main causes of ingrown hairs:
- Improper hair removal
- Clogged pores
- Tight clothing
Improper hair removal
Dry shaving, shaving too often or too close to the skin falls under the category of improper hair removal. When we shave, the first blade of the razor will lift up the hair strand so the next blade can slice it off. If we shave too close to the skin, by applying too much pressure or pulling the skin tight, the second blade will cut the hair below the skin line and give the hair strand a sharp edge. When it is time for the hair to grow, the sharp tip and awkward position of the cut will cause the hair strand to curl back into the skin and remain trapped beneath the skin’s surface.
We recommend using our Francesca Trimmer™ to avoid ingrown hairs. Francesca will trim the hair without cutting the strand low enough for it to fall beneath the skin line.
Ingrown hairs are also caused by clogged pores. Normally, the hair is supposed to grow up from its root and through the pore (the skin’s opening). Pores can often become clogged by dead skin cells due to a lack of exfoliation. When the pore is clogged, the hair strand cannot break through the opening and instead will curl back down underneath the skin’s surface - causing an ingrown hair.
We recommend working an ultra hydrating sugar scrub into your prep routine for hair removal. This scrub will remove the dead skin cells, dirt and oil that naturally accumulate throughout the day. This debris would otherwise seep into freshly opened pores, clog the hair follicle and will leave ingrown hairs behind.
Wearing tight clothing, especially tight undies, right after hair removal can cause ingrown hairs. If too close to the skin, the fabric will trap the hair that is beginning to grow back and force them to grow sideways. We recommend using either: 1) 100% cotton underwear; and or 2) less tight undies. 100% cotton undies are a good alternative to use after hair removal as this material doesn't bother the skin as much. In addition, looser underwear will minimize friction and irritation.
Ingrown hairs after a brazilian wax
Waxing pulls the hair through the surface of your skin, which can cause irritation. If you experience bad ingrown hairs after a brazilian wax you should apply a soothing ingrown hair oil to soften the skin helping your hairs grow back through the skin. Since waxing goes beneath the surface of the skin it makes you more receptive to ingrown hairs.
Skincare Routine to Prevent Ingrown Hairs
The key to preventing ingrown hairs is keeping the skin moisturized and exfoliated. Moisturization is essential for two reasons: 1) it softens the skin making it easier for the hair to break through the skin’s surface; and 2) it prevents any build up of dead skin cells at the pore’s opening. In addition, exfoliation removes dead skin from the surface and unclogs the pores so the hair can grow through the skin as opposed to getting trapped underneath.
Step #1: Prep for shaving or waxing
Make sure your razor is clean, sharp (never use a dull razor!) and stored outside of the shower in a cool and dry area to avoid bacteria buildup.
Step #2: Unclog pores with a dry brush
Step #3: Exfoliate your bikini line
Step #4: Treat your ingrown hairs
More ways to treat ingrown hairs
1. Give the ingrown hair time to heal
The best and safest way to get rid of ingrown hair is to let it heal on its own, which should take 2-4 days if you keep the area dry, clean and away from hair removal products; you should also avoid tight clothing that might cause friction with the area. Trying to extract it yourself (squeeze it, pick at it, use tweezers on it) will most likely end with pain, an actual infection and maybe a scar.
2. Clean the ingrown hair and pores
Keep the ingrown area clean and make sure to exfoliate the surroundings of the ingrown hair. To do so, you might use the Bushbalm™ Nude oil, which contains tea tree oil, an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. All the Bushbalm™ oils are 100% non-comedogenic so they won’t clog your pores! You may also want to use the Sugar Scrub, which is also non-comedogenic and will properly exfoliate the area you’re trying to preserve.
3. Use a warm compress on your ingrown hair
If you have an ingrown hair on your legs, you might want to take a warm moist cloth or compress and apply it to the affected area for a few minutes. This should help soften the skin and bring out the hair to its surface. If it is deeper than expected, you might want to apply a warm compress several times a day to, at least, relieve discomfort.
@bushbalm Say no to razor bumps!! 🪒😿🙅♀️ #ingrownhair #fyp #razorbumps #shavingtips #razorburn #hairremoval #bikiniline ♬ original sound - Jada.ashiona
What type of procedures and tools can you use to remove ingrown hairs?
- Fine point ingrown hair tweezers
- Hot compress
- Professional vajacial
It's important to note that ingrown hairs are very common. Using these tips and tricks will help you prevent ingrown hairs at the source instead of just treating them. For an irritation so uncomfortable it's critical we aim to eliminate them altogether.