Ingrown hairs appear as red, itchy bumps on your skin, which are uncomfortable and can be unsightly to look at. It's a common problem which arises a where the hair has grown back under the skin following hair removal by, shaving, waxing or tweezing
These hair removal methods can sometimes cause the hair to curl and grow back into the skin. In men, ingrown hairs appear on the chin, cheeks, or neck after shaving. In women, they are commonly seen on the legs, bikini area and underarms.
Many people who have thick or curly hair get a type of ingrown hair called pseudo folliculitis. Also known as "razor bumps," these are common on the beard area after you've shaved to remove hair. The hair that grows back has a sharper edge, so it can more easily poke back through your skin and get trapped under the surface.
Ingrown hairs can also be caused by a lack of exfoliation in the area or hormonal imbalance.
What is the best way to remove ingrown hair?
You need to gently open the hair follicle by applying a warm compress. Then, exfoliate the area to help lift the hair
above the skin. Once the hair has lifted you can use a needle or tweezer to gently pull the hair out. If using this method, do make sure your tweezer is sterile first to prevent infection. If the ingrown hair looks infected, you should see your doctor who may prescribe an antibiotic.
Does regular exfoliation prevent ingrown hairs?
Removing dead skin cells can help reduce the number of ingrown hairs in an area but if you over exfoliate (too much, too often) then this can also contribute to ingrown hairs as a result of the skin regenerating quickly and covering the hair follicles before they start to grow. To keep ingrown hairs at bay exfoliate before shaving or waxing and again 2/3 days later.
Which products help prevent ingrown hairs?
Creams containing Glycolic acid, Lactic acid or Salicylic acid can help. These are all skin loving acids which stimulate skin turnover, to help prevent ingrown hair. Essential oils like Tea tree or Thyme are also a good option to use as they have natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. They reduce redness and inflammation and prevent the hair becoming infected. You can find out more about these essential oils here
Should I be worried about ingrown hairs?
Ingrown hairs on face or body are not a serious medical condition and will usually self heal. Some doctors believe that ingrown hairs cause pilonidal cysts. These pockets of hair and skin debris usually happen at the base of your tailbone, between your buttocks. They can be swollen and painful and may require surgery to treat them.
How can I prevent ingrown hair?
Laser hair removal treatment is the best solution for preventing ingrown hairs as it permanently reduces unwanted hair in the area. Laser hair removal can be performed on all areas of the body, including intimate areas. A course of 8 treatments is required, with each session being performed 6-8 weeks apart. Throughout treatment you will start to notice hair grow back finer and more slowly, until it stops growing back altogether, meaning no more ingrown hairs! You can find more about laser hair removal treatment here