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What are Ingrown Hairs and Ways on How to Prevent Them from Developing


An ingrown hair appears when a hair follicle curls back and grows into the skin. It is characterised by a red, elevated bump that resembles a pimple. Ingrown hairs can be uncomfortable and itchy, and in worse cases, can become infected and turn into painful sores. Nobody wants to deal with ingrown hairs. Even when an ingrown hair is painless, it looks unsightly. 


In this article, we will guide you on how to prevent and treat ingrown hairs. We will explain the causative factors of ingrown hair, treatment, preventive measures, and products that you can use to remove them effectively. 


The Cause/s of Ingrown Hairs


Anyone can develop ingrown hairs, although people with coarse and curly hair are prone to getting them. The appearance of ingrown hairs is due to clogged hair follicles. The clogging is due to accumulation of dead skin cells inside hair follicles. On average, we shed up to 600,000 skin particles per hour. If the dead layers of the skin do not shed, they eventually get trapped under the epidermal layer resulting in ingrowns. 


Hair removal methods also cause the appearance of ingrown hairs. Shaving is the common culprit and causes ingrown hairs, more commonly known as razor bumps. 


Waxing is yet another hair removal method that causes ingrown. Our hair follicles are connected to small tubes that guide hair growth to the surface. The fast hair pulling that happens during waxing often damages these tubes. When the hair tube linings get damaged, they lose the ability to guide the hair to the surface. The hair then gets trapped under the skin resulting in ingrowns.


The use of an epilator for hair removal also causes ingrown hairs. An epilator works similarly to an electric shaver. The rotating head traps and then pulls the hair from the roots as it runs to the surface of the skin. The quick pulling effect also creates the same damage to the lining of the tubes as waxing. 


Tight-fitting clothes is also a known culprit of ingrown hairs. Skin is healthy when it is allowed to breathe. Tight waistlines and garters that press into the skin trap the hair underneath the epidermis which then gives way to ingrown hairs. 


Ingrown Hair Treatment


Ingrown hairs usually disappear even when you leave them alone. In the case of persisting ingrown hairs, you may need to intervene and implement measures to get rid of them effectively. 


  •     Refrain hair removal methods


Avoid cutting, plucking, pulling, shaving, or waxing in areas nearest the ingrown hairs. It is also highly recommended that you avoid squeezing them out of the skin. The condition will only get worse and may pose a risk for infection if regularly touched. 


  •     Warm compress application and exfoliation


A warm compress followed by gentle exfoliation can treat ingrown hairs. Use a soft washcloth soaked in warm water. Apply the warm compress into the ingrown area for 10 to 15 minutes to soften the skin. Exfoliate by using soft circular motions for 10 to 15 seconds. If the ingrown area is painful or show signs of irritation, do not exfoliate. 


  •     Ingrown hair removal


Ingrown hair removal is only applicable if the looped hair is visible at the surface of the skin. Do not attempt to dig into the skin as this results in scarring and dark spots. 


Once you see the ingrown hair, use clean tweezers to gently remove it. First off, you need to free the hair from the skin. If the hair comes out easily, you can then proceed to gently pull the entire hair out. Use a reliable tweezer that is strong enough to pull out the entire length of the ingrown hair. If the ingrown hair does not pull out easily, it’s recommended that you leave it alone. The swelling and redness that are most commonly associated with ingrown hair will subside once the ingrown hair is removed. 


  •     Application of exfoliating oil


To avoid recurrence, apply an anti-bacterial exfoliating oil on the sites where you pulled out the ingrown hairs. An exfoliating oil not only protects the skin from irritation but also soothes the skin after removal. 


There are many herbal remedies that you can use to help fight inflammation at ingrown hair sites and soothe skin, too! Excellent examples are fenugreek, turmeric, lavender, and primrose oil to name a few. 


  •     What if the skin is irritated?


It is advised to not touch or squeeze the site where ingrown hairs have developed. Agitation may result in irritation and removal may make matters worse. An infected site features more redness, swelling, and irritation. Infected sites are also warm to the touch and can be quite itchy, too.


If the safe hair removal steps we have enumerated above don’t work, we highly recommend that you seek the help of a doctor to treat it accordingly. 


  •     How do you prevent ingrown hairs?


The best way to prevent ingrown hairs is through proper exfoliation of dead skin cells. You should also find the best way of hair removal method for you; one which is less likely to cause the hairs from curling back into the skin. 


Ø If you use shaving for hair removal, only use a sharp, single-blade razor that can cut the hair bluntly without catching or dragging hairs than may cause damage to the hair tube lining. 

Ø Do not forget to exfoliate. This is an easy way by which you can prevent ingrown hairs from appearing on your skin. Exfoliation removes dead skin cells that may clog pores. This cleansing activity also lifts the hairs away from the skin, hence there is less tendency for them to curl back into the skin. Do not forget to exfoliate your face before shaving. Use a warm compress before exfoliation to soften up the skin and to make it easy to remove dead skin cells faster. 

Ø When shaving, use a moisturising agent to act as a barrier between the skin and the razor blade. Adding a layer of moisturiser for shaving softens the hairs, facilitates easier shaving, and provides a smooth finish.


Come visit us and learn more about how to treat ingrown hairs. We also offer a wide array of tools and products that you can use to safely and effectively treat ingrown hairs in the future.