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INGROWING HAIRS

Understanding the condition and ultimately finding out 'How to get rid of Ingrowing Hair'.

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Ingrown Hairs: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Ingrown hairs are hairs that have curled around and grown backwards into your skin, rather than growing upwards from it. As a small pink or tan bump is formed, this makes your skin to inflame and feel irritated. A small part of the underlying hair can usually be seen under the bump.  

Anyone can suffer from ingrown hairs, however, it’s more common in people with curly or coarse hair. It’s generally harmless but it can be painful, especially when infected. If you are prone to this condition, it’s important to avoid waxing and shaving as this may cause further aggravation and more ingrown hairs to occur.

WHAT CAUSES INGROWN HAIRS

Ingrown hairs most often occur in areas where your hair has been:

  • Shaved
  • Waxed

These types of depilation can cause your hair follicles to break and become clogged with dead skin cells, forcing the hair inside it to grow sideways. Ingrown hairs occur particularly in the bikini line and legs for women, and in the beard and neck for men. In these places, the hair that grows back has a sharper edge and can easily poke back into the skin.  

INGROWN HAIRS SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

Usually, you notice you have ingrown hair when you see a red bump on your skin. If infected, you may also see pus and the bump may grow larger.

The area around the ingrown hair may also:

  • Appear red and irritated
  • Swell
  • Itch
  • Feel warm to the touch

HOW CAN I PREVENT INGROWN HAIRS?

Preventing ingrown hairs is important as it can decrease your risk of related infections. When you are shaving or waxing, try the following:

  • Change your razor blades frequently.
  • Wash your skin first to help prevent bacteria from entering the skin.
  • Remove hair in the direction of growth.
  • Don't shave too closely to your skin. Leave a little bit of stubble when possible.
  • Use shaving gel and warm water.
  • Apply lotion to the area afterwards.
  • Exfoliate your skin often.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Will existing ingrown hairs go away?

If not infected, ingrown hairs often disappear from your skin on their own.

Can you pop an ingrown hair?

It’s not recommended. Try not to touch it and allow it heal on its own to avoid infection.

How do you treat an infected ingrown hair?

If an ingrown hair has become infected, your doctor can make a small cut in your skin with a sterile needle or scalpel to release it. It is not recommended to do this yourself. Your doctor may also prescribe medicine.

NATURAL REMEDIES FOR INGROWN HAIRS

Sugar

Sugar acts as a skin scrub that can help get rid of your unwanted ingrown hair. It gently exfoliates your skin, removing existing dead cells, helping the ingrown hair come out of the skin. Mix one cup of white sugar with half cup of extra virgin olive oil or jojoba oil.  Apply a small amount on the affected area, making circular motions for a few minutes, then rinse.

Baking Soda

Due to its anti-inflammatory properties and soothing effects,  baking soda is a great option to prevent ingrown hair. It helps reduce itching by exfoliating your skin and also reduces redness caused by ingrown hairs. Mix one tablespoon of baking soda and one cup of water and dip a cotton ball, then grab it and dab it on the affected skin. Leave it for five to ten minutes and then wash your skin.

Black Tea Bags

Black tea contains tannic acid, which helps get rid of redness and inflammation and improve your skin’s smoothness. Moisten a black tea bag in warm water, either keep or rub it over the affected area for two to four minutes.

TREATMENTS FOR INGROWING HAIRS

There are a variety of treatments to help reduce or prevent ingrown hairs. It is recommended you consult an expert practitioner who will advise you of the best option for your individual case.

Laser Hair Removal

Laser hair removal gives the longest lasting and most effective results of all hair removal methods. This a safe, clinically-proven treatment that gently remove your unwanted hair follicles with a laser light.   

Unlike shaving, waxing and depilatory creams, with laser hair removal the hairs fall out from the root so you won’t have prickly patches or ingrown hairs. The treatment is suitable for either your face or your body and is designed for all skin types and tones. The treatment works particularly well on coarse hair, and therefore is ideal for those prone to ingrown hairs.

Find out more about laser hair removal

Exfoliation Treatments

Specific skin peels and microdermabrasion both work to remove dead skin cells that are trapped in the hair follicle and over your ingrown hair, freeing it to heal naturally. These are preventative treatments rather than 'fixes' to existing ingrown hairs.

Skin peel involves applying a non-toxic chemical solution to the skin to encourage skin cell turnover, allowing fresh, soft skin to replace it.

Microdermabrasion is performed using a mechanical device which simultaneously buffs away unwanted dead skin cells using microcrystals and vacuums the top layer of skin.

Although both exfoliation treatments will help the condition, they are not long-term solutions for eradicating the problem, especially if you choose to continue with temporary hair removal methods such as shaving and waxing.

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