October 23 2016
Ingrown hairs often happen due to shaving, and while it can be easy to think this will make them a problem mostly for men, women suffer from them just as often. Every time you shave your underarms, legs, bikini line or other areas, you are at risk of ingrown hairs. But the good news is that there are some good ingrown hair treatments to help deal with the condition if you find yourself suffering from it.
Every hair grows from something called the follicle and normally up through the skin and out into the world. An ingrown hair is one that gets a bit mixed up and for one reason or another, does a U-turn and grows back into the skin. This causes a small, raised bump and can easily become infected, leading to soreness, redness and even some pus escaping from it.
There are several reasons why ingrown hairs occur. The most common two are because of shaving or due to dead skin. During shaving, if the hairs are cut the wrong way, the end becomes sharp and tends to grow back into the skin. In the other situation, dead skin cells block the pores and stop the hairs growing normally.
Symptoms of ingrown hairs include a lump or bump on the skin where the hair has grown back into the skin. It can often be itchy and tender, with inflammation and redness around it. A bit like an acne spot, it can be filled with pus due to an infection.
Sometimes ingrown hairs can be mistaken for other conditions so if you are not sure whether you are suffering from ingrown hairs or something more serious, always get in touch with a medical professional.
The good news is that if you do find yourself suffering from ingrown hairs, there are some treatments and systems to use to clear them. Never itch at ingrown hairs as this will either make them infected or make the infection worse. It can also cause scarring.
Before dealing with the hair, clear out the infection using an anti-inflammatory or antibiotic cream – your local chemist will advise you what will work. Apply this until the redness has gone down, and any pus has left the lump.
The key to treating ingrown hairs is to use the right products, and there are some good ones available. Exfoliating the skin before you deal with the hair is a good way to ensure all that dead skin is removed and won’t cause a problem.
A warm compress is then used to soften the skin and make it easier to get in at the hair. A face cloth heated under the tap and pressed on the skin will do. Once the skin is softer use sterilised tweezers to gently pull out the end of the hair from the skin. You can then pull the hair loose but don’t dig too deep for it.
Once you have used ingrown hair treatment to clear the problem, there are some steps to take to reduce the chance it reoccurs. These include the use of a very sharp razor when shaving – wet your skin with warm water beforehand and use a gel to help make shaving easier on the skin. Always shave in the direction of the hairs.
For some, waxing can be a better option. Ingrown hairs can still occur, but there is a smaller percentage of people who experience them with waxing. So, if you can manage it and are prone to ingrown hairs, it may be worth trying.