All You Need To Know About Ingrown Hair!
An ingrown hair is what happens when a hair curls back and grows into the skin. It’s a red, raised bump that looks like a pimple. They can be itchy and uncomfortable and in some instances, they can become infected and turn into painful sores. No one wants that. Even if you can’t feel your ingrown hairs, they’re frustrating to look at, especially when you want to show off your smooth skin!
We’re here to help. In this guide for preventing and treating ingrown hairs, we walk you through what causes them, how to treat them, how to prevent them, and what products to use in your hair removal routine.
What Causes Ingrown Hairs?
Although anyone can get ingrown hairs, they’re most common among people with coarse or curly hair. They often occur when a hair follicle becomes clogged with dead skin cells. Did you know that we shed about 600,000 particles of skin every hour? If those particles – also known as the “dead layer” or the stratum corneum – aren’t removed, they trap hairs under the epidermis, causing ingrown hairs.
Here’s what an ingrown hair looks like:
Various forms of hair removal are also responsible for causing ingrown hairs. Shaving is one such culprit, hence why they’re often referred to as razor bumps.
Advertisers often tell us that the more blades, the better. That first started when plastic manufacturing was introduced. Companies realized they could produce more low-quality products for less that had to be replaced more often. Because of that trend, two billion plastic razors end up in landfills today.
In order to give you the smooth shave razor company’s promise, multi-blade razors are designed with a “lift and cut” system. One blade lifts the hair, and the next cut the hair below the skin line as you shave. The problem occurs when your hair starts growing back. It can become trapped below the skin, causing dead skin cells to find their way into the hair follicle. The result is ingrown hair that’s painful and inflamed.
Aggressive razors with multiple blades were designed for coarse facial hair so they’d achieve a smoother shave with fewer passes. In other words, they’re better designed for men’s faces, not women’s bodies.
Dull blades can cause the same problem. When you shave with dull blades, they leave the end of the hair jagged as opposed to a clean cut, resulting in irritation as the hair grows back.
Waxing pulls hairs directly from the root. Each hair follicle is connected to a small tube, which is responsible for guiding the hair to the surface when it grows back. Waxing pulls the hair so quickly that the follicle and tube become damaged. When the tube’s lining is damaged, it can’t guide the hair. The hair becomes caught under the skin, causing ingrown.
A similar occurrence happens when epilating. An epilator is similar to an electric shaver except we consider this so painful that it is borderline torture! It has a rotating head of tweezers that traps hairs and pulls them from the root as it is run across the skin. This creates the same damaging effect as waxing.
Here’s what an epilator looks like
Finally, tight clothing can cause ingrown hairs, especially tight underwear. Skin is its healthiest when it’s allowed to breathe. The elastic in tight underwear presses into the skin, trapping hair as it begins to grow back and giving way to bothersome ingrown hairs. Try wearing loose boy shorts or soft 100% cotton underwear.
Preventing Ingrown Hairs
The best way to prevent ingrown is to opt for laser hair removal. The laser gets rid of unwanted hair permanently. If there is no hair, you prevent ingrown, with laser hair removal now being affordable, everyone should really cancel their wax, ditch their razors and opt for laser. Check out our laser hair removal prices.
Treating Ingrown Hairs
Ingrown hairs will typically go away on their own if you leave them alone. But if they don’t or if you have a fabulous beach day ahead of you, here are four steps to speed up the process.
Step one: Stop all hair removal attempts. Don’t try to pluck, pull, shave, wax, or cut hair in the area where ingrown hairs are. Don’t try to squeeze it out either. You’ll only make your skin angrier and possibly introduce an infection.
Step two: Apply a warm compress and gently exfoliate. Using a soft washcloth soaked in warm – not hot – water, gently press into the irritated area for 10-15 minutes to soften the skin. Then use slow, circular motions to gently exfoliate for only 10-15 seconds. Skip exfoliating if it hurts or makes your skin more irritated.
Step three: Remove the ingrown hair. This step only applies if you can see the looped hair growing into your skin. Don’t go digging for treasure or you’ll cause dark spots or scarring. If you can’t see the tip, skip to step four. If you can see the hair, use a clean, sharp tool like pointed tweezers to remove it. Free it from the skin first. If it comes out easily, gently pull the entire hair out. Make sure your tweezers are strong enough to get the whole hair so you don’t have to repeat the process all over again. If it doesn’t come out easily, leave it be. It’ll be ready soon. After the hair becomes free, the redness and swelling should subside relatively quickly.
Step four: Apply an exfoliating and anti-bacterial oil. Now that you’ve dealt with the hair itself, use a topical exfoliating oil to calm and soothe the skin while helping to prevent more irritation.