Ingrown hairs are very common in both men and women in areas where we remove hair.
Ingrown hair is basically the product of one or two things:
- The hair has grown out of the skin and curled back on itself (particularly likely in the pubic area)
- The hair follicle has become clogged with dead skin cells preventing the hair’s ability to break through the skin’s surface. The appearance is red, pimple like spots that can be incredibly itchy, look unsightly and can lead to infection if not resolved.
TOP TIP: if you shave, change your blades frequently. Dull blades can cause ingrown hairs
Here’s how you can avoid and deal with ingrown hairs
Exfoliation is key
You should be exfoliating, at least 24 hours before any hair removal treatment whether at home or in salon. This helps prepare the skin and will hopefully mean fewer ingrown hairs on regrowth. It shouldn’t end there though, continually, at least once a week, exfoliate your body to prevent and combat ingrown hair potential.
If you find your skin is quite sensitive or inflamed after waxing or shaving, use an aloe vera based moisturiser as this will instantly soothe the skin.
Keeping your skin soft and smooth is a great way to prevent ingrown hairs as it encourages the hair to grow through. Equally when treating an ingrown hair, moisturised skin will soothe your discomfort.
Use tweezers to lift the hair out
Only do this after exhausting the exfoliating option and if they are just below the surface of the skin. Don’t pick at it as it could lead to infection.
Ensure your tweezers are clean by using an antibacterial wash/wipe and rinse with boiling hot water to sterilize before and after.
Wear comfortable, non-restrictive underwear/clothing
Tight clothing or underwear on an area that has undergone hair removal treatment is more likely to result in ingrown hairs. Your skin needs to breathe to ensure healthy regrowth.
This doesn’t necessarily apply to skinny jeans but consider the elastic in your underwear which is likely to rub against your skin even if you feel comfortable.
Don’t perform any hair removal until you’re confident the hairs have regrown
This is around 4 weeks for waxing and at least a week for shaving. Avoid waxing or shaving the spotted area completely if you suspect it’s an ingrown hair until it is out in the open; this could be excruciatingly painful and/or lead to infection.
See a professional
For my waxing I see a beautician who inspects for and removes any/potential ingrown hairs. Although I’m still likely to get them for a few days/week after the treatment, it does help massively.
When to see your doctor…
If the ingrown hair spot becomes more enlarged, hot to the touch and/or you start to feel feverish/unwell. It’s likely in these scenarios that you’ve got an infection! Time to book yourself in.