Ways & How

How to Prevent Ingrown Hairs

How to Prevent Ingrown Hairs

Ingrown hairs are commonly perceived as being similar to razor bumps, but while they may be related, the two are not exactly the same. Ingrown hair occurs when the sharp tip of the hair ends up curling back towards the skin, rather than away from it. As the hair shaft lengthens, the tip burrows deeper and deeper, causing some discomfort. Improper shaving technique is the most common cause of ingrown hair. In addition, coarse hair is most vulnerable. Having ingrown hair is not considered medically serious, but knowing how to prevent ingrown hairs could save you a lot of trouble. Ingrown hairs may appear as small tan or red bumps which sometimes show pinpoint areas of hair growing under the skin. They can be rather uncomfortable and potentially disfiguring. In some cases, they can lead to scarring, infection, and keloid formation. Aggressive hair removal methods increase the chances of developing ingrown hair. The problem generally arises when trimming off the end of the hair shaft causes the sharpening of its tip. A sharp hair tip will pierce more easily into the skin.

Hair removal techniques which soften hair shafts prior to removal decrease the possibility of hair tipsÂ’ reentering the skin. Read the following tips on preventing the development of ingrown hair.

  1. Before shaving, hydrate and soften the skin and hairs on the area to be shaved. Use a soft-bristled face/body brush, a wet sponge, or a damp washcloth to wash the area to be shaved. Massage with a mild shampoo or body wash in gentle, circular motions to dislodge accumulated sweat, dirt, and oil.

  2. Exfoliate the skin before shaving. This will take off the dead skin layers so that the hair can more easily pierce through and grow straight up. When the skin is too tough, the hair tip curls back into itself.

  3. Apply pre-shave oil about 10 minutes before you start scraping. Pre-shaving oils make the skin more pliable so that dry patches where the hair could snag are eliminated.

  4. Use a sharp razor and shave in the direction of hair growth. That way, as the hair shaft lengthens, it can just continue to grow out in the same direction. Shaving with the growth also makes the shave less close, which is actually a good thing. If the hair tips are trimmed not too far below the skin surface, the risk of ingrowth is lessened.

  5. After shaving, rinse off the area with cold water and apply something to soothe the hair ends and the skin. Depending on the area, you can use aftershave, lotion, or a cream.

  6. Explore hair removal methods other than shaving; IPL or laser removal is deemed the best option for preventing ingrown hair because treated hair actually grows in thinner and softer than before. If you can, simply leave off shaving or waxing altogether—just trim off the hair growth closely using a fine pair of scissors.

Despite the effort you spend researching on how to prevent ingrown hairs; you are still likely to get some once in a while. It is actually a more common occurrence on people with dark skin and/or coarse hair texture. If you see the curled loop of an ingrown hair showing a little outside the skin, you can use an alcohol wipe and a sterilized needle to coax the end out; just be careful not to introduce bacteria underneath the skin. Also, be gentle to avoid causing the bump to bleed.


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