what are ingrown hairs and how to prevent them?
August 17, 2016 | Shaving & Shower
What is an ingrown hair?
In simple words, an ingrown hair is a condition in which the hair has either curled or grown sideways instead of growing out like it normally should. Anybody can get an ingrown hair but are more likely to occur in women who have coarse or curly hair type.
What an ingrown hair looks like?
Ingrown hairs have a tendency to irritate the skin. In spite of shaving the hair remains in the skin. An ingrown hair will leave round or pus-filled bumps on your skin. These bumps are similar like a pimple. Another way to identify is if the area is really agonizing or your skin tends to get darker on a specific area commonly known as hyperpigmentation.
Some women may also see an embedded hair trapped in the skin itself other might witness puss under the redness. It all depends on your skin and hair type.
Ingrown hairs in women can commonly be on legs, bikini area, and underarms.
What are the main causes of ingrown hairs?
If waxing is your preferred hair removal method then let me tell you that waxing pulls hair directly from the root. Due to the fact the hair is pulled so quick, the follicle is damaged. The technique also damages a small tube that every hair follicle has linked to it. This tube is responsible for guiding the hair to the surface when it grows lower back. If the liner of this tube is broken at some point of hair elimination, the new hair’s journey to the surface may not be so clean.
- Tight Clothes:
Wearing tight clothes right after shaving harms the hair follicles. Tight clothing puts stress on the skin and makes it harder for the hair follicles to grow outwards. They are more likely to be pushed lower back below the skin and which results in ingrown hairs. Try not to wear tight clothes just after shaving. Let your skin breathe.
- Wrong shaving method:
Applying too much pressure can disturb the skin and hair follicles. Don’t try too hard to get a close shave, applying too much pressure and not getting close shave means you need to replace dull blades because a sharp and pointy blade glides on the skin effortlessly and gives you the closest shave possible.
- Dead skin cells:
Not exfoliating can lead to the building of dead skin cells on the outer surface of the skin blocks the hair follicles from growing out of the skin and thus the hair starts growing in the sidewards direction which is a big reason for the cause of ingrown hairs.
How to prevent ingrown hairs:
We have combined a total of 5 ways that can help you to keep away from getting ingrown hairs:
- Hair removal ways:
A. Waxing pulls the hairs directly and quickly from the root itself, which is not good as it can damage the hair follicle and the tube every follicle is linked to This tube is responsible for guiding the hair to the surface when it grows lower back. The damaged tube disrupts the growth of hair back to the surface. Switch to shaving instead of waxing.
B. If you shave it is very important to learn the right way of shaving to prevent yourself from ingrown hairs. Always remember while shaving:
- Not to apply too much pressure while shaving, this will not give you a close shave rather cut the hair much deeper than required.
- Don’t shave every other day or regularly, let your skin breathe before you start shaving again.
- Never use dull blades; dull blades are a major reason of ingrown hairs. Instead use sharp and clean blades.
- Loose Clothing:
Try not to wear extra tight clothes after shaving, as it can put immense pressure on the skin. Tight clothes can push the hairs back under the skin making it harder for the hair follicles to grow out in the right direction.
- Prep your skin:
It is important to prepare your skin prior to shaving. Always exfoliate the skin first and then shave after a nice refreshing warm shower. Exfoliation helps in removing the dead skin cells which can block the hair follicles and shower makes the hairs soft and is easier to get rid of them. Therefore, proper skin prep can reduce the occurrence of ingrown hairs.
- Post shave care:
It’s important to moisturize your skin once you are done with shaving. Skin tends to become dry after shaving so rehydrate your skin with a moisturizer. It soothes the skin and eliminates irritation. A moisturizer with aloe Vera is really good for the skin.
- Use Mild products:
Sensitive skin is more prone to irritation and ingrown hairs; it is advisable to use mild products to eliminate the problems like irritation. If a product makes your skin tight or dry then you might need to switch to something gentler.
Never do these if you have ingrown hairs:
- Scratch or pick:
You should never scratch or pick, the bacteria from your fingers can worsen the ingrown hairs and can even lead to a scar.
Squeezing an ingrown can again let the bacteria in and disturbs the follicle which can lead to severe irritation, which is not good both for the skin and the ingrown hair.
Stop the urge of plucking an ingrown hair. It will only worsen the situation an will be of no help. Plucking will not improve the condition of an ingrown hair, as it will remove the hair from the surface but will not let the hair to grow back in its normal direction.
So what should we actually do to them if touching is not an option?
- Exfoliate daily; it is the best way to keep ingrown hairs at bay.
- Use only very small quantities of moisturizer or herbal vegetable oils (don’t use bay oil or mineral oil, as it’s petroleum-based totally, not vegetable-based)
- What you can do is use a salicylic acid pad and wipe the area regularly to set the ingrown hairs free.
- You can also place a warm towel onto the ingrown hair for about 5-10 minutes. This will soften and loosen the pores which will allow the hair to grow out properly.
Get rid of ingrown hairs by treating them in the right way to prevent them in future.