Ingrown hairs can be frustrating. Not only can they be painful, but they can also be unsightly. You want your skin to be smooth and supple, it can feel like your efforts are in vain if you get ingrown hairs or hair that is stuck under the skin. Luckily, there are things you can do in your daily routine to avoid ingrown hairs after waxing, shaving or anytime.
Why do ingrown hairs occur? Once you understand why, we will give you tips on how to both treat and prevent ingrown hairs.
What Are Ingrown Hairs?
Ingrown hairs occur when the hair is trapped under the skin causing red bumps that may become painful and infected.
When a hair breaks off, the dead skin cells build up and the hair is no longer in line with the opening of the pore, forcing the hair to grow beneath the surface of the skin.
Ingrown hairs occur for a variety of reasons. Ingrown hairs can occur naturally or can be caused by hair removal or friction.
When ingrown hairs show up naturally, it is usually due to coarse hair that is stuck under the surface of the skin, such as when more than one hair is trying to grow out of a follicle or if the hair is very curly and curls back into the skin.
Hair removal can also be a cause. Shaving can be the culprit for many people. Removing the hair by cutting it off at the surface can cause the hair to slide under the surface and become stuck. Many people will switch to waxing for relief.
However, it’s important when waxing to be sure the hair is removed by the root. If the hair breaks when being waxed, the hair will snap under the skin and will become ingrown. Using high-quality wax will solve the issue. Applying the wax in the direction of hair growth and removing the wax close to the body against the direction of hair growth will help to not break the hair.
Even when tweezing your hair on the face or body, it is important to pull slowly but firmly to avoid breaking the hair. Laser can also cause ingrown hair temporarily.
Friction can cause ingrown hair as well, such as running, spin class, swimming or clothes that fit too tightly.
When the hair is exposed to friction it can break off causing the hair to snap back under the skin, getting stuck which will result in red bumps that might become infected.
Ingrown hairs can occur anywhere on your body, but they are more likely to happen when the hair is coarser or in areas where hair removal is frequent.
The areas where ingrown hairs are most common are the face, underarms, and bikini area.
Also, improper trimming can create a sharp tip on the hair, causing it to curl back into the skin and get stuck.
Below are some common symptoms of ingrown hair:
- Bumpy surface to the skin
- Skin discoloration
- Inflammation of the skin
- Infected hair follicle
- Pain in the affected area
Which Hair Removal Methods Cause Ingrown Hairs?
Can waxing cause ingrown hairs? Sometimes, yes. If the wax is of poor quality that could break the hair or if the wax is removed improperly.
Shaving can also cause ingrown hairs. Shaving too closely to the skin can create a sharp tip to the hair and cause the hair to curl back into the skin.
Laser hair removal can also cause ingrown after a session. The hair will release from the body but may be stuck under the skin causing red bumps and irritation. Once the sessions have been completed the risk of ingrown hairs is eliminated, however laser is costly and time consuming.
How to solve the ingrown hair problem?
Fortunately, you can drastically reduce the possibility of getting ingrown hairs and eliminate the ones you have with these simple ways.
Sometimes an ingrown hair requires intervention if it’s not coming out on its own, if it’s infected you may need to see a doctor. Below are some methods to speed up the healing process of ingrown hairs after waxing or from any cause.
Press a warm washcloth on the ingrown hair to help open your follicles and draw out the hair. But avoid squeezing or scratching ingrown hairs.
This is useful if an ingrown hair becomes inflamed. Adding a cool compress can help soothe inflammation and help the area heal faster.
Use a gentle chemical exfoliator like salicylic acid to treat ingrown hair. Removing the dead skin cells will help the hair to release.
Antiseptic helps prevent and fight infection and speeds up the healing process especially after the hair has been eliminated.
Preventing ingrown hairs
Exfoliating with a physical exfoliator can help remove dead skin. Use a scrub, dry brush loofah or mitt to exfoliate the area. Exfoliate for a day or two before waxing or shaving. Additionally, exfoliate a few days after waxing or any hair removal to prevent the hair from getting stuck under the skin.
Regularly moisturizing and hydrating your skin can help prevent ingrown hair. Regardless of when you wax, try to moisturize it after every shower.
Proper Cleansing + Prepping
Use a purifying lotion before waxing to remove impurities from the surface. Following it with a nourishing oil will create a protective barrier over your skin before waxing. Then, reapply the nourishing oil after waxing to keep the skin smooth and soft.
Avoid Tight Clothing
Avoid tight fitting clothes for 24 hours after waxing or any hair removal.
Clothing that fits too tight can cause irritation and may even cause ingrown hairs.
What is your preferred method for ingrown hair prevention? Tell us in the comments below!