Whether it’s once in a while or every time you shave or get a wax, ingrown hair are a real pain. Let me take you on a tour on how to recognize, treat and most of all, prevent ingrowns.
But What are Ingrown Hairs?
Is it a pimple? Is it a bump? It might be an ingrown hair… Ingrown hair can resemble pimples with red bumps but can also look like small strands of hair stuck under layers of skin. They mostly appear on legs, pubic area and armpits; it can look scary but it actually just means that the hair grew sideways or curled back into the skin. Most of the time, they’re small and get by unnoticed but they can also feel itchy, get infected and overall be very uncomfortable.
But what do you do with an ingrown hair? First of all, don’t pick at it!
What Causes An Ingrown Hair?
Anyone can get an ingrown hair, but people with coarse or curly hair are most likely to get annoyed by them. An ingrown hair usually appears when a hair follicle gets clogged with dead skin cells: if the dead layers of the skin aren’t properly being removed, they trap hairs under the epidermis, which leads to ingrown hairs. A few specific causes can lead to these little annoying bumps:
Most hair removal techniques can lead to ingrown hairs. Some you can avoid pretty easily, such as dry shaving. Dry shaving is one of the main causes of shaving rashes, bumps and burns… just don’t.
Although shaving, waxing, epilation (with an electrical epilator) can result in ingrown hair, there are other factors you might want to look into and avoid.
Tight clothing and specifically tight underwear, can cause ingrown hairs: tight underwear traps the skin and makes it harder for it to breathe, trapping hair as it grows back and making it grow sideways. 100% cotton underwear doesn’t bother the skin as much and can be a good way to avoid the trouble of ingrown hair, as well as less tight underwear which won’t cause as much friction and irritation.
Treating Ingrown Hairs
Give it 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 two to four 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.
Keep it Clean
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.
Use a Warm Compress
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.
Consult a Dermatologist
If it doesn’t go away on its own after a few weeks and feels infected, you should contact your dermatologist for proper removal and post-care in order to avoid infection and long term scarring. If the ingrown hair is getting progressively red and irritated, swells, itches or feels warm to the touch, it might be infected and you should get it checked out. The doctor will most likely prescribe you an antibiotic which will make the ingrown hair go away pretty quickly. You should also consider seeing someone if you get painful ingrown hair often and get easily irritated and infected in specific areas.
Preventive Action Against Ingrown Hairs
Since treating ingrown hairs isn’t easy, taking preventing action might be a better option to get rid of ingrown hairs.
Exfoliating your skin regularly and properly helps remove dead skin cells. Without proper exfoliation, you could see clogged pores and ingrown hairs. By exfoliating, new hairs will grow upward and outward! If you shave, exfoliating before will help by lifting the hair away from the skin and making it easier for the razor to get the hairs.
Apply Soothing Oils
By regularly moisturizing and soothing your skin with Bushbalm oils on the areas you shave or wax, you soften the hair and, thus avoid ingrowns. Thanks to Tea Tree Oil and its antibacterial properties, regular application will help prevent but also repair ingrown hairs.
Try applying the oil after shaving or waxing as it will make the new hairs grow softer and easier. The oils smell great and are made from non-comedogenic ingredients that replicate your natural body oils!
Avoid Tight Clothing
As explained before, tight clothes can cause ingrown hairs; avoiding tight underwear can help keep your skin healthy and ingrown-free, especially right after shaving or waxing. You can also opt for 100% cotton underwear, which will always be healthier than other materials.
Hair Removal Tips to Avoid Ingrowns
Preparing your skin for shaving, waxing and other hair removal methods will help keep your skin healthy and avoid ingrown hairs. Here are some tips to make sure you’re not damaging your skin by removing your hair:
As explained before, you should avoid dry shaving at all costs: always exfoliate first, hydrate the skin with warm water, which makes the hair easier to remove by softening it, and finally prep by applying a shaving oil, cream or gel. 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. After shaving, you may want to apply a cool compress to soothe the area you just shaved.
Alternative Hair Removal Options
You could also consider laser hair removal to avoid ingrowns if your hair removal method is the reason for them. With electrolysis, there is no hair growing so there can’t be any ingrowns.