We all have ingrown hairs, but not all of us know that those ugly, little, red or dark bumps under the skin are called “ingrown hairs”. Therefore, what exactly are ingrown hairs and why they appear?
Ingrown hairs are hairs which curl back into your skin instead of rising up from it. Some hairs can be seen under the skin, how they try to grow and find their way outside the skin, but other are like little black or red bumps under your skin. Some of these ingrown hairs can infect or near them a pimple can appear.
The main reason why ingrown hairs appear is because you use a type of hair removal method, like waxing, sugaring, tweezing, epilating, shaving or threading and force the hair to grow back, penetrating the skin. But they also appear because you wear tight clothing items, which create friction, putting pressure on your hair follicles and making hairs more likely to curl down into the skin instead of growing normally, up. The hair is blocked at the opening of the follicle by dead skin cells, which weren't removed properly.
It is important to know what are ingrown hairs and how they appear, because, only in this way, you will be able to find the best solutions to reduce their growth. To be honest, you can not get rid of them once and for all, but you definitely can reduce them, using some specific processes and/or special creams and products.
Ingrown hairs can appear on every part of your body and the next solutions can be applied everywhere on the body, with some care, if the area is sensitive, like pubic area or underarms. But, you shouldn't use these methods on your face. There are special products for this area, like special scrub mixtures and a good pair of tweezers.
Not all the time ingrown hairs get infected, most of them clear up on themselves. Besides this, they look unappealing, some people feel discomfort and itching in that area.
How to avoid ingrown hairs?
I don't want to stress you more than it is necessary, but exfoliation is a very important process in your beauty routine, not only to reduce the chance to have ingrown hairs, but also, to have a clean, soft skin all the time.
You should always exfoliate the area before a hair removal method, to remove the dead skin cells. Also, either you want to remove your hair or not, you should exfoliate at least twice a week or every two days if you can not exfoliate daily.
Nowadays, there are a few methods of exfoliation, but basically, there is physical and chemical exfoliation.
1.1. Physical Exfoliation
DIY Exfoliation (Do-It-Yourself Exfoliation)
The easiest one is to make yourself at home a scrub and exfoliate your skin. Baking soda or normal salt are often used to get rid of the dead skin cells. Mix one of these products with your shower gel or soap and rub it all over your body, applying more or less pressure, depending on the body area you scrub.
There are many products available for this process, but cheap spa exfoliating gloves, like the Earth Therapeutics Hydro Exfoliating Gloves, are amazing. They should be used in the shower/bath to have better results because the wet dead skin cells are removed easier in this way. People with sensitive skin should use a product which kills bacteria, like the PanOxyl, a great acne wash. Use the gloves up and down the skin, in circular motions and focus on knees, heels, ankles, and elbows.
Do not forget to moisturize your skin after every exfoliation to have a smooth skin.
Besides these exfoliating gloves, a dry brushing is another option, if you don't have time to shower. Also, there are persons who like very much the special soaps or exfoliating scrubs, that contain different types of ingredients, like oil, sugar, salt, oatmeal.
Exfoliate every time before an epilation or any other type of hair removal method. In this way, the period for dead skin cells to build over the newly hair is longer and the soft tip of the hair will be able to penetrate the skin.
Now, for the facial exfoliation, everyone should use a mild scrub, but also a facial cleansing brush.
If someone doesn't like to use commercial products, she can easily prepare a homemade scrub.
1.2. Chemical Exfoliation
There are two types of chemical exfoliation: AHA- alpha hydroxy acids, and BHA- beta hydroxy acids. The main effect of these two types is to penetrate the upper layer of the skin and dislodge and dissolve dead skin cells. What is different is that the BHA also penetrate into the pores, making it a great treatment for people who have oily or breakout prone skin.
The substances used in the chemical exfoliating mixtures aren't harmful for your health even though they “eat” the dead layer of skin.
Don't use them often because these products can irritate your skin. Also, because they are made from chemicals, you should test the product on a small patch of skin before you start using it all over your body. If you have an allergy, you should read the label of the product to see from which ingredients is made.
This being said, I am not going to give any advice what type of chemical exfoliation you should use because I've never used this method. The only product that I would like to use in the near future is the PFB Vanish Hair Remover, which can be used daily and it works great on women and men as well. Also, before I will begin to use it, I will search the most relevant reviews for it. But, at this time, it has already great reviews on Amazon.
2. Don't wear too tight clothing items
Yes, you look amazing in tight clothing items, but you should choose something that it is suitable for you, not with two sizes smaller. Your health is at stake here, you can develop varices, not only ingrown hairs.
3. Use a pair of tweezers
If you don't have too many and deep ingrown hairs, you can use a pair of tweezers to bring them to the skin surface. Don't pull them out with the tweezers. Use this method before an epilation, shaving, waxing. If they are deeper in the skin, you can use a needle, if you aren't scared of this method. Because you will introduce the needle in the first skin layer, you won't feel any pain.
4. Remove the hair correctly
Many persons who used for a long time an epilator consider that a certain type of epilator is guilty for the number of ingrown hairs. This may be true because the way that the tweezers are placed on the epilator's head influence how well the epilator pull out the hairs or broke them. Some of the hairs that are broken will be covered by the skin, preventing them from resurfacing.
First of all, if you shave, use a sharp blade and get rid of any dull blade, that can also cause skin irritations. If you are a man and you shave your beard, you should shave in the direction of the hair growth. If you are a woman you can shave the legs in any direction.
If you use an epilator, you should buy a quality one. Also, the technique of epilating is important. Use short strokes with a slow speed, control better the epilator head and epilate against the hair growth.
Shorten your hair if you want to epilate because only in this way the epilator can pull out all the hairs. You can read more advice how to epilate correctly in a previous article of mine.
Bottom line, all people have ingrown hairs, although they may not notice them because they are superficial.
But we all can do some things to reduce their appearance. Only electrolysis and laser hair removal methods can eliminate ingrown hairs because with these methods, the hair doesn't grow back or grow after a few years. But ingrown hairs shouldn't be your main reason why you would want to have an electrolysis or laser hair removal process.
These are very effective tips how to prevent and to treat ingrown hairs. Increasingly more women and men use specialized ingrown hair products even though they don't have a serious problem. They can easily find them in beauty shops and in online stores, like Amazon. And when they have discounts or unique offers, people buy more than one product.