Ingrown hairs—they can appear like ugly bumps that are itchy, and sometimes, painful. How do you make ingrown hair go away?
Ingrown hair usually happens if you remove hair by waxing, tweezing, and shaving. It starts appearing after puberty and is common in areas with coarse or curly hairs.
You can avoid ingrown hair if you don’t shave. If that’s not an option, then you can learn how to get rid of ingrown hair.
But first, let’s understand why this happens…
- What Causes Ingrown Hair?
- What Are the Symptoms of Ingrown Hair?
- How to Get Rid of Ingrown Hair
- How to Prevent Ingrown Hair
What Causes Ingrown Hair?
This irritating condition occurs when the hair’s tip starts growing into the hair follicle’s skin. This appears as a small pink or tan bump under your skin. In most cases, a small part of the curved hair may be noticed under the bump.
Ingrown hair can appear on different parts of your body, mostly on the neck, face, pubic, legs, scalp, and armpits. It’s an unfortunate side effect of shaving hair after reaching puberty.
Generally, ingrown hair starts growing normally with its tip pointing to the opening of the follicle. But before it emerges from the skin, it bends and re-enters your skin.
Some hairs that are close or below the hair follicular opening have sharp tips that can easily pierce your skin and cause this unwanted hair growth.
This condition is also common in folks with high sex hormone levels. That’s because these individuals tend to have more hair than others. Therefore, they are more likely to get ingrown hairs, particularly after shaving. The same is true for those with curly or thick hair.
People with thick hair are affected by a kind of ingrown hair disorder referred to as pseudofolliculitis or razor bumps. Pseudofolliculitis is characterized by slight red bumps that appear in your beard region.
Other causes of ingrown hairs include:
- Improper shaving removal methods like using a razor can cause ingrown hairs
- Other hair removal techniques like waxing can cause ingrown hairs
Although ingrown hair is caused by aggressive or improper hair removal, it can also occur naturally. It can happen when dead skin cells or dirt block the hair follicle opening, making the growing hair move sideways.
What Are the Symptoms of Ingrown Hair?
Ingrown hair can lead to these unpleasant symptoms:
- Itchiness and tenderness of the affected area
- Pink or red bumps on the part of your skin that is shaved
- Small, blister-like, pus-filled pustules
- At times, the curled hair may appear in the middle of the bump.
- Dry red bumps or small pimples scattered all over the shaved region
The bumps caused by ingrown hair may start appearing a few days after removing the hair and could worsen as the hair grows.
How to Get Rid of Ingrown Hair
All dermatologists advise against tweezing or popping ingrown hair bumps, as it can result in an infection. Plus, it’s not a guaranteed method for removing ingrown hair.
So, when it comes to dealing with ingrown hair removal, patience is a virtue. After all, it tends to resolve on its own with time.
If the ingrown hair does not disappear on its own, you should do the following:
Wash the affected area using warm water and mild soap, as the water will soften the skin. If the skin is not irritated, you can gently exfoliate that part of your skin.
You can exfoliate by rubbing a clean, soft-bristled brush or a washcloth over the ingrown hair bump in a circular motion for a few minutes. This can help open the clogged hair follicle and give it time to drain.
If a gentle exfoliant doesn’t work, you can try a chemical treatment containing salicylic acid. Salicylic acid can help dissolve the dead skin that’s keeping the hair underneath.
When the hair follicle opens up, you can hold a warm, wet piece of cloth over the ingrown hair for about a minute before removing it.
If a small tip of the ingrown hair is visible from the top, you can tease the rest of it out using sterilized tweezers or a needle.
After the entire hair has come out, you can grab its base using your tweezers and pull it out gently.
Wash the affected part of the skin using soapy, warm water and soothe the irritation using a warm washcloth.
If you’re dealing with painful ingrown hair on any part of your body, you should avoid wearing synthetic fabrics and tight clothing. Wearing skinny jeans or nylon leggings can rub against the ingrown hair and exacerbate the irritation.
How to Prevent Ingrown Hair
Just like any skin condition, prevention is the best cure. With ingrown hairs, there are a number of ways you can keep yourself protected.
Some of the best prevention methods include:
1. Exfoliate Frequently
Ingrown hair happens when the follicles get clogged by dirt and dead skin cells. Therefore, exfoliating your skin once per week can help keep the hair follicles open.
2. Use Hair Removal Creams Instead of Shaving
The main cause of ingrown hairs is shaving which tends to leave you with hairs with sharp tips. So when they grow back, the sharp tip can easily poke the skin.
Instead of shaving, you can either let the hair grow freely or use hair removal creams.
3. When Shaving, Go in the Right Direction
Shaving in the opposite direction of the hair will leave the hairs with a sharp tip. Therefore, they have a high likelihood of growing back into the skin. So make sure you shave in the right direction as your hair grows.
4. Post-Shave Treatment
There are lots of post-shave treatments in the market, with some being good while others are bad. So you should look for a product with Glycolic acid to help remove dead skin cells. The right treatment can help keep you free from ingrown hair for a long time.
Anyone who has ever been affected by this condition knows how irritating and painful it can be. If it gets worse or inflamed, ingrown hair can give you a hard time. Therefore, it’s important that you remove it properly to avoid an infection.
There’s a chance that leaving it alone until it heals is not an option. If this is the case, protect yourself by practicing good skincare habits, regular exfoliation, and by switching to hair removal creams.
Categories: Skin Care