At some point, we all end up with ingrown hairs which mostly appear after shaving or waxing.
Although it is a mild problem in most cases, these red, swollen pimples are nonetheless unsightly, sometimes bothersome and painful, and in the worst cases, can even become infectious.
But don’t panic: here’s how to recognize them, how to get rid of ingrown hairs, and how to prevent those little red pimples.
What is an ingrown hair?
An ingrown hair is simply hair that grows under the skin because it fails to pierce the skin barrier.
As it grows, ingrown hairs can cause redness, irritation, itching, and even pain. We can also see the appearance of a small pimple where the hair should have come out. Ingrown hairs can also leave scars and brown spots on the skin if scratched.
Ingrown hairs mainly appear in areas where there is shaving and/or waxing, such as the face and neck in men. Then in women, especially in the legs, groin/pubis, and armpits.
What are the causes of ingrown hair?
While everyone is at risk for developing ingrown hairs at one time or another, there are factors that can make them develop.
1. Type of hair
People who have curly hair or tend to curl on themselves are at greater risk of developing ingrown hairs, as are people who have a lot of hair.
Also, hairs that are too fine have difficulty penetrating the skin barrier, thus increasing the risk of developing ingrown hairs.
2. Dry or thick skin
Hairs also have difficulty breaking through thick or very dry skin, with clogged pores or with a buildup of dead cells.
Clothing that is too tight, as well as repeated rubbing on depilated or shaved areas, can also encourage the development of ingrown hairs by creating irritation on the skin.
4. The hair removal method
Nevertheless, the main cause of ingrown hairs remains waxing and shaving, especially when not done properly.
Thus, hair removal weakens the hairs that cross the skin with more difficulty while shaving, especially done with a razor with several blades or against the direction of hair growth, increases the chances of seeing ingrown hairs.
How to Prevent Ingrown Hairs
Fortunately, there are several techniques to prevent the appearance of ingrown hairs.
It is recommended to exfoliate the skin regularly in order to remove dead cells. Ideally, the areas to be shaved or depilated are exfoliated at least one day before waxing.
2. Take good care of your skin
In order to prevent ingrown hairs, it is also essential to take good care of your skin and to moisturize it properly with the help of creams.
After waxing or shaving, antiseptic products are also used to prevent infections and germs.
There are also post-depilatory products, which slow hair regrowth and help remove ingrown hairs.
3. Avoid friction and tight clothing
Since friction or tight clothing can cause ingrown hairs, avoid wearing tight-fitting clothing that will rub against the skin, especially right after waxing or shaving.
4. Adopt good shaving and waxing technique
Good techniques and habits when shaving and waxing are essential to prevent the appearance of ingrown hairs.
- When shaving, we spend as few times as possible in the same place as the razor.
- And if you have to pass it a few times, it’s probably a sign that it’s time to replace the razor blade. Moreover, it is recommended to change the blades frequently.
- Avoid shaving against the direction of hair growth and never dry shave. It is very important to wet the skin before shaving and to apply a shaving gel or cream.
- During shaving, care is taken to rinse the razor blade between each shaving motion.
- To prevent ingrown hairs, razors with a single blade are also preferred, as razors with multiple blades promote the growth of ingrown hairs.
Depilatory creams are also a good alternative to a razor and create fewer ingrown hairs.
If despite all these precautions the ingrown hairs persist, it is then recommended to let the hairs grow or to use a permanent hair removal technique such as laser hair removal or electrolysis.
How to Get Rid of Ingrown Hairs
- Very often, the ingrown hairs will go away without you needing to do anything.
- The discomfort and redness can be relieved by applying a mild topical cream or warm water compresses to the area where the ingrown hairs are located.
- The hot water compresses will also help the ingrown hair to rise to the surface of the skin if it is not yet visible.
- In extreme cases, a large lump or cyst can form under the skin. It is then recommended to consult a doctor or a dermatologist in order to have the hair removed.
How do you draw out an ingrown hair?
If the hair is visible on the surface of the skin or if the head of the hair starts to come out of the skin, it can be removed with a sterilized needle or tweezers.
Before you start, it is important to clean the area around the hair with soap. You can also apply a compress of hot water for a few minutes to dilate the pores and soften the skin.
However, it is best not to pull the hair out completely. Once the hair comes out of the skin, the area is disinfected with an antiseptic lotion.
How do you remove the hairs under the skin?
The most important thing is not to try to get the hair out by digging or pinching the skin, especially if the hair is not easily accessible.
This will worsen the redness and irritation in addition to increasing the risk of infection and leaving scars and brown marks on the skin.
How to Avoid Ingrown Hairs and Have Soft Skin
For ladies especially, shaving is part of life; it is a fast, inexpensive, and effective hair removal method. On the other hand, it can have some inconveniences, including dry skin and ingrown hairs.
These tips are meant to help you to optimize your shave and keep your skin healthy.
1. Use a good blade and maintain it well
A dull razor that has had its day can be dangerous and it can attack the skin.
It is recommended that you change the blade after 3 shaves, but honestly, it all depends on how you use it and how you maintain your razor.
When you feel like you have to iron 2-3 times in the same spot to remove the hair properly, you are probably due for a new blade.
To maximize the life of your blade, remember to rinse it well after each use to remove any leftover shaving gel and soap. If possible, wipe it off on a towel and store your razor so that your blade can continue to dry.
Finally, know that putting your razor in a damp and wet corner of your shower is a bad idea!
2. Wait until the end of your shower to shave
The warm water in your shower or bath will allow the pores of your skin to open and the hairs to soften, making shaving easier.
So remember to save this step of your routine for the end!
3. Avoid and manage ingrown hairs
Ingrown hairs hurt, are less aesthetic, and take time to heal. Unfortunately, there is no magic formula to make them go away and some people are particularly affected by this problem.
However, you can reduce the chances of getting them by exfoliating weekly with a glove or scrub (try our homemade scrub recipes to save money).
This will remove the dead skin cells that are on the surface of your armpits, legs, bikini area, etc.
But be careful: you must allow 24 hours to pass after waxing or shaving before exfoliating. Otherwise, you risk causing irritation.
Also try to shave with the grain of the grain, even if that may seem counterintuitive; the shave will be a little less close, but if it can save you some ingrown hairs, it’s worth it!
To relieve discomfort and decrease swelling, you can also apply hot water compresses to ingrown hairs.
There are also several products on the market that help reduce them, such as Bikini Zone Cream, which I find effective and for which I have only heard good reviews from around me.
4. Let your skin rest a bit after shaving
After shaving, the skin is naturally raw, so we take the time to let it rest when possible.
Thus, we wait before putting on deodorant and if we wear a bikini, we avoid very tight underwear that does not breathe.
5. Don’t neglect hydration
We cannot say it enough: hydrating after a shave is the key to having healthy skin and avoiding redness. Even in the shower, use a shaving gel or just conditioner!
And above all, don’t forget this: waxing is a choice, so there is no stress if you prefer not to!