Ingrown hairs. Not a particularly glamoruous topic to be talking about, but something I unfortunately have a lot of experience with. Before I had IPL hair removal, I was very prone to ingrown hairs, and got them from pretty much every hair removal method that I attempted. I would consider myself an expert in how to prevent and treat ingrown hairs, but I must give the caveat that I’m not actually a beauty therapist, merely someone with a lot of trial and error experience. I’m passing on my tips on how to prevent and treat ingrown hairs, to spare you from the pain of experiencing them yourselves.
What is an ingrown hair?
Ingrown hairs are hairs that have curled around and grown back into your skin instead of rising up from it (WebMD). It produces a red bump – these are often referred to as razor bumps, although you can get them from waxing, tweezing, or even from tight clothing. Pretty much anyone can get ingrown hairs, but people with coarse or curly hair are more likely to experience it, especially after shaving. Lucky me – I have very coarse hair – a beauty therapist once exclaimed that ‘you don’t usually see hair this thick on Europeans!’. It’s nice for my luscious locks but I don’t appreciate quite as much on my body.
Ingrown Hair Prevention
Choose your method of hair removal carefully. For me, shaving is just a recipe for ingrown hairs everywhere, whereas for others waxing is a disaster.
After hair removal, exfoliation is key! Dead skin can clog hair follicles which causes the hair to grow under the skin, as opposed to upwards and out. I’m currently a massive fan of my Salux Cloth (more about that in a post here). Exfoliating gloves like these Ecotools ones are a good option, and are widely available both in stores and on iherb.com. A good body scrub is also important, the one I’m currently using is the delicious smelling Giovanni Hot Chocolate Sugar Scrub which I bought from iherb also
In addition to physical exfoliation, there are products that you can apply to keep ingrown hairs at bay. Bump Eraiser Triple Action Lotion is a 3 in 1 ingrown hair treatment, and these are the three actions that it takes:
- 1. Use PRIOR to hair removal to ease and reduce the discomfort of hair removal.
- 2. Use AFTER hair removal as the enzymes weaken the papilla and hair follicle, retarding hair growth.
- 3. Ensures ingrown hairs do not become a problem.
Ingrown hair treatment.
Okay, so the above steps have failed you, and you have the misfortune of an ingrown hair. First, rue the society which expects us to remove our body hair – yelling fuck the patriarchy probably isn’t an overreaction. Then, we have some steps to take. Continue with the exfoliation, and you may even want to step it up a notch. I have a mitt which is more scrubby on one side than the other, so use something like that.
In terms of spot treating ingrown hairs, Bump eRaiser Medi Paste is amazing. I first tried this when I got a sample sachet after getting a wax, and I became a dedicated customer and fan. I have sung it’s praises to so many people and they have bought it too. Really, they should be giving me a commission or something. It’s a spot treatment with Salicylic Acid and Tea Tree Oil that prevents infection which reducing redness and swelling.
Sometimes, desperate times lead to desperate measures, and that can include whipping out the tweezers to attack an ingrown hair. I don’t really recommend this, as it can lead to scarring and making matters worse, but I don’t really practice what I preach either. If the tip of the hair is visible above the skin, here is what I do. Take a warm shower, or hold a warm wet face cloth to the area with the ingrown hair to allow the skin to soften and the pores to loosen up a bit (they don’t really open and close). Sanitise your tweezers with isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) and swipe your skin with it too. You don’t want to introduce more bacteria to the area. Gently grab the end of the hair with your tweezers and pull – if it resists, and you have to dig, stop and leave it. If it comes out, apply something like Bump eRaiser Medi Paste to the area to treat the inflamation. It’s kind of gross but also really satisfying to me!
If you are in Auckland, New Zealand, I highly recommend the team at Off Wax and Laser for great waxing – their skilled staff and special wax meant I got significicantly fewer ingrown hairs, and they also stock Bump eRaiser and a number of other waxing aftercare products. Worldwide stockist information for Bump eRaiser is available on their website. Or if, like me, you want more of a permanent solution to your hair removal, Off Wax and Laser do that too! If you’d like to read more about that I have a post about my laser hair removal experience.
I hope these tips help you to live a life free of ingrown hairs! As I write this, I’m scheduled for my first ever leg wax tomorrow and I have my salux cloth at the ready for exfoliation before and after, to try and prevent ingrown hair. Let me know in the comments if you have any top tips for ingrown hair prevention and treatment, I’m sure people would love to know!
I’ve linked up with a bunch of other beauty bloggers on the Fabulous and Fun Life Monday Makeup Madness linkup! Head over there and see some other great beauty posts.