Ingrown hairs can be a true nuisance for anyone, and predominantly occur when hair has been removed. They usually appear on the face and neck for men, where they shave; legs, groin area and armpits for both men and women.
An ingrown hair will happen when the hair has been cut/shaved or waxed short, and in close proximity to the skin, creating a sharp tip to form.
Although everyone at some point will experience an ingrown hair, it’s the male population that tend to develop more of them than women.
Ingrown hairs can also occur naturally too. This is usually down to the number of dead skin cells that are laying on the surface of the skin. This then makes the hair trapped under the skin, unable to penetrate to the surface.
What happens if you leave an ingrown hair?
Instead of growing up and out of the skin’s surface, the hair will either curl back on itself or grow sideways into the skin.
Although it doesn’t necessarily need to be treated, as it will eventually work itself out, the area where the ingrown hair resides will become inflamed, looking red, bumpy and can even produce pus and be itchy. It will be tender too, especially if it lays where clothing can rub against it.
Ingrown hair treatment
If you’d rather remove your ingrown hair, you can do so a number of ways. There are plenty of creams available to help work the ingrown hair out on its own. You can also remove the hair via microscopic incision and pull the hair out with clean and sterilised tweezers.
However, we’d strongly recommend you seek professional help for the latter treatment, so minimal scarring can form. It’s usually easier having a trained person to do the removal as they will be able to see it better, and you won’t have to try and get in an uncomfortable position to see what you’re doing as well as trying to remove it.
If an infected ingrown hair has caused a secondary infection such as an abcess then you may need to get antibiotics from your doctor, which will work to calm the infection and work towards to getting the hair free.
How to avoid ingrown hairs
The best option to avoid ingrown hairs is through exfoliation, as this removes dead skin cells. Exfoliating once or twice a week, should greatly reduce the chance of an ingrown hair.
There isn’t a specialist scrub to use, a shop bought exfoliant, exfoliating gloves or an easy to make home made scrub will all work wonders.
If using an epilator or a razor to cut hair, try not to get to close to the skin so that it leaves open a chance for the hair to break and not to be fully removed.
In essence the best way to avoid an ingrown hair is to not to shave or remove the hair at all. Obviously this isn’t something that many wish to do, so we’d recommend regular exfoliation to help keep the ingrown hair at bay.