Ingrown hairs are no fun for anyone: they are bumpy, itchy, and sometimes they can become painful and inflamed. Not only are they irritating to feel under your skin, but they can be unsightly to look at. The localized bumps cause many women to feel embarrassed. While they are only an occasional problem for some, for others they are a chronic, recurring dilemma.
If you have ingrown hairs, you may even feel the need to change the way you dress to cover them up. Ingrown hairs in the bikini area are particularly trying; the skin there is extra sensitive, and the appearance of red bumps can look especially unpleasant. How many times have you found yourself feeling embarrassed to be seen in a swimsuit because of your ingrown hairs? Learning what causes ingrown hairs is the first step in preventing them however, and with a little diligence, you may be able to get rid of them altogether.
Ingrown Hair Symptoms
Recognizing ingrown hairs is pretty easy. If, after you shave or use another method to remove your hair, you find “razor bumps,” red, irritated, or darkened skin, or embedded hairs, then you have ingrown hairs. Itching and pain are common, and sometimes you’ll have small blisters with pus in them.
What Causes Ingrown Hairs?
Ingrown hair causes are pretty easy to pin down. In the majority of cases, they are the direct result of something you do yourself. When you shave or pull out your hair with tweezers, wax, or use electrolysis, sometimes the new hair grows into the skin when it emerges, instead of coming up out of the follicle and the skin like it should. This is why ingrown hairs are often called “razor bumps.” Knowing the cause is the first step to preventing ingrown hairs.
Who gets ingrown hairs? Pretty much anybody can get them, but they are most common wherever there is coiled hair. If you naturally have coiled hair all over your body, you are more likely to get ingrown hairs. This is one reason that men often have more trouble with them than women. But in the bikini area and under the arms, where hair is usually tightly coiled, ingrown hairs can be common on anyone.
So now you know which areas are likely to be problem areas on your body. And now that you know that removing hair is what causes ingrown hairs, you have a starting point for avoiding ingrown hairs in the future.
Ingrown Hair Prevention
Ready to learn how to prevent ingrown hairs? One way you can make a difference over time is to take care of your skin. Consider investing in an exfoliating scrub which you can use on a daily basis to remove the dead skin cells that gather in the upper layers of your skin. You can also purchase creams and ointments to manage ingrown hairs. Some of these are available over the counter, while others are prescribed. You probably don’t need to get a prescription medication for your ingrown hairs unless your problem is chronic and causing you to suffer from inflammations and severe infections. Don’t scratch your ingrown hairs. This will cause infections to grow and spread, and will only further irritate the skin.
Best Shaving Techniques for Ingrown Hairs
Ingrown hairs in the public area and under the arms are usually the result of shaving improperly. You can purchase ingrown hair shaving cream to help prepare the bikini line for shaving. Women often skip out of purchasing shaving cream because they think that it is a product geared at men, but shaving cream can be very helpful if soap doesn’t provide you with enough lather to protect your skin. Never, ever shave dry skin, even if you’re in a hurry. Nothing will chafe your skin faster than that.
What type of razor are you using to shave? You might think more blades is better, but simple razors with only a couple of blades are far more effective for women who struggle with ingrown hairs. You might even consider using a single blade razor. Don’t shave too closely. You might think that would be more efficient, but it can cause the blades to irritate your skin, which can lead to razor bumps and ingrown hairs. You may have been taught to pull at your skin when you shave, but this is often a bad tactic.
Lots of us learned to shave improperly. You might have been told to shave against the grain, and intuitively, it might sound more effectual, but it’s not. You want to check the direction your hairs are growing, and then shave with the grain. Now ask yourself how many passes you usually make with your razor. One? Two? Three or more? One or two passes is really all it takes if you’re shaving correctly and you’ve probably prepared the area. The more times you pass the razor over your skin, the more you’ll irritate it.
Learning proper ingrown hair shaving techniques can take some time and effort (and expense), but it’s well worth it. Don’t expect instant results when you treat ingrown hairs. Ingrown hair treatment takes some time, because your skin needs a while to recover from the harsh techniques you were using on it before. Once your skin becomes healthier and less irritated, you should start to notice fewer bumps and less razor burn. You’ll probably always get some ingrown hairs and razor bumps, but not nearly to the degree you did before you learned the best ingrown hair prevention techniques.
Ingrown Hair Removal
Once you have ingrown hairs, getting rid of them can be a challenge, which is why we’ll focus on prevention in this article. But if you are trying to get rid of the hairs you do have, you have several options. One is to use an exfoliating scrub twice a day on the area where you have the ingrown hairs. Acne medication like benzoyl peroxide may help as well. Another tactic is to apply a warm compress for a few minutes each day to soften up the skin.
You may be able to remove the ingrown hair using a pair of tweezers, but only try this if the hair is at or close to the surface of the skin, and only after using a warm compress to soften the skin. Otherwise, you’ll only injure and further irritate the skin, and probably still not get the hair out. This may cause infection in the area, which will only make things worse. Ingrown hair prevention really is the best tactic for getting rid of ingrown hairs. It may take a while for you to notice a lasting difference, but good habits over a long time period can lead to dramatic improvements in your skin!
Cynthia is a U.S. writer who has been writing online for more than a year. She enjoys writing and sharing the latest hair fashions including caring for hair, and giving hair style tutorials; tips for having great skin and a healthy body just to name a few things. Offering a little advice for getting through tough days is another subject she enjoys adding her 2 cents on. She has lots of hands-on experience with hair care, lifestyle tips and hair styles.