Ingrown Hair – Definition, Causes & Prevention
Hi girls… Megs here. Ingrown hair are a pain…they can happen anywhere on our skin and if they break out on our face….then it looks ugly.
What is ingrown hair?
Sometimes you can see small red bumps on your skin. They look like acne or pimples but they are actually ingrown hair.
You might be aware of dead skin cells, skin pores and epidermis layer (which lies right under our skin).
Sometimes, dirt, oil or a combination of it (grease), clogs up the upper layer of skin that should be open for the hair to grow.
When this happens, the hair curls up back in the skin creating a small bump that we see in our day to day lives. This bump grows in size over time due to the hair growing underneath it.
Depending on your skin type (sensitive, normal or hard), the bump can get further infected and acquire puss.
That’s why it is so important to keep a clean and healthy skin regime. Ingrown hair are always a possibility when you use any hair removal method.
What do ingrown hair look like?
Ingrown hair look like acne or pimples. They can get bigger if two or more hair combine in a single bump.
They hurt a little if you touch them or scrape them against your clothing.
Most of the time ingrown hair are so small that they get fixed automatically. You won’t have to worry about poking them with tweezers.
How to fix ingrown hair?
However, if the bump gets too big and you can see the puss forming & it hurts more than it should, then it is time to take action.
You would need to pick up a pair of tweezers, sterilize them in an antiseptic solution (Dettol laced water will do) and gently poke the bump.
Remember to not be too harsh with it or it will leave a scar when healed. Clean off the puss with a clean piece of cotton and gently pull out the hair with the tweezers.
Clean the area with antiseptic liquid and if it stings, you can apply some soothing gel like Aloe Vera.
What causes ingrown hairs?
Most common cause of ingrown hairs is improper cleaning after you either cut or pull the hair out.
Here are the hair removal methods that most of us girls use:
- Hair removal creams (very little chances of ingrown hair)
- Laser hair removal (Ingrown hair don’t occur due to this procedure)
- Electrolysis (Same)
When you use a razor, there are so many factors that may contribute to an ingrown hair. Let’s take a look at how they happen and how to prevent them one by one.
How to prevent ingrown hair after waxing
Waxing is currently the most common semi-permanent hair removal method available. It gives a smooth, hair free skin for almost 4 weeks.
There is a proper procedure involved before you wax any of your body parts. Cleaning your parts is as important as choosing the right wax.
When you don’t clean properly, as soon as you remove the waxing strip, the pores on your skin open up to bacteria and dirt.
If they fill up the pores then after couple of weeks when it is time for the hair to grow, some pores would still be clogged (even after your daily bathing and scrubbing routine).
Ultimately, the hair will curl up within the skin and cause ingrown hair.
To prevent ingrown hair after waxing, you should properly clean the area that you are going to wax and after waxing, you must apply a natural body lotion that gets absorbed in the skin rather than clogging up the pores.
Any chemically treated lotion or oil must be avoided, and you must also wear lose fitting clothes for next 24 hrs at least.
Although, if you have waxed for a special occasion then I can see it being a problem. Hence, you must follow rest of the tips to avoid ingrown hair issue.
How to prevent ingrown hair on legs
- Clean your legs with warm water and pH balanced body wash.
- Exfoliate your legs with a body scrub, scrubbing brush or scrubbing cream, whatever comes handy.
- Don’t apply oily lotion on your legs after epilating, shaving or waxing.
- Clean your legs once more and apply a natural lotion that your skin can absorb easily.
How to prevent ingrown hair on face
- Steps are really the same as were with legs.
- Clean your face with a face wash to remove any oil or left over make-up.
- Exfoliate your face with a face scrub or if your epilator comes with an exfoliator brush then it would be great.
- Place a warm washcloth on your face after epilating. The washcloth should be lukewarm only.
- Clean your face once more after epilating and apply a skin absorbent cream or lotion.
How to prevent ingrown hair after epilating
- Use a high quality epilator rather than cheap ones.
- Exfoliate the area that you are going to epilate after cleaning it thoroughly.
- Epilate under the shower or after a warm bathe (if you use mug and bucket for bathing).
- Don’t go too fast with the epilator as it will increase the chances of broken hair which will result as ingrown hair.
- Clean the area once more thoroughly after epilating.
How to prevent ingrown hair after shaving (razor)
- Shaving is by far the most common cause of ingrown hair.
- Mostly because shaving itself is more common than both waxing and epilating.
- Since, people take shaving way too carefree(ly), they literally just glide on their skin with the razor.
- Avoid gliding on any part of skin when it is dry.
- Don’t use blunt blades or old razors to avoid ingrown hair problem.
- Use shaving gels rather than shaving creams.
- If you don’t have either of them, then at least use a face wash or even soap to lather up your skin.
- Don’t counter shave (shaving against hair growth) until absolutely necessary for special occasions as it increases the chances of ingrown hair.
- People with curly hair should be careful and often exfoliate their face after shaving to avoid growing-hair enter back in your skin.
- Clean your face or any other part, which you have shaved, properly.
- Learn the direction of your hair growth.
Ingrown hair aren’t a major issue girls, if you take some small precautions before using any of the mentioned hair removal methods.
Cleaning and exfoliating the areas involved will always keep ingrown hair at bay.
However, if for some reason, you face ingrown hair issue regularly then it is something you should definitely discuss with your dermatologist.