One of the most annoying beauty blunders ever is the presence of a pesky ingrown hair. Depending on where they form it can really freak you out too. An ingrown hair in your armpit is incredibly uncomfortable, but an ingrown hair in your pubic area can freak you out and make you briefly question your life choices. That is, until you realize it’s just an ingrown hair and not some other more pressing issue (if you catch my drift).
I feel like we’re on the same page so let’s get into the heart of the matter. Here’s a ton of valuable information about how to control your ingrown hair permanently.
What Is An Ingrown Hair?
When a hair follicle cannot sprout due to clogging of skin cells, it becomes curled and starts growing underneath the skin. The skin area where this ingrowth occurs takes a reddish hue and starts becoming itchy and inflamed due to the concentration of oil under the skin which was supposed to go out of pore of the skin. This gives the ingrown hair the appearance of a pimple when a pustule forms around it.
When the condition worsens, hyperpigmentation occurs which darkens the skin around the affected skin area, While everyone is more or less susceptible to ingrown hair, people with curly and coarse hair are more susceptible to it as the hair density increases the chances of dirt clogging. In time, if left to heal naturally, the affected area turns in to a whitehead.
Clogged skin is not the only reason for ingrown hair. Many times when we shave or wax, the shortened hair may grow under the skin making room for ingrown hair.
Ingrown hair can grow anywhere including the face, neck, back, and legs although it’s a more common complaint around the crotch area. A crotch is sort of a breeding ground for ingrown hair due to sweat accumulation, little air flow, and constricting clothing. Yes, those jeggings, while cute, aren’t helping!
How To Get Rid Of Ingrown Hair
In most cases, ingrown hair heals itself if left to its own devices. However, for most of us leaving an itchy and swollen pubic area to heal on its own is uncomfortable. And, what’s more, why deal with the aftermath when there are preventative steps that can help you eliminate ingrown hair altogether?
Here are some of the most effective and fastest ways to get rid of and treat ingrown hair in case natural healing is not an option for you.
1. Apply Heat To The Affected Area
Applying heat to the affected area via a hot compress bag or a steamed towel can help unclog the affected skin area without causing irritation on ruptures. When the skin pores are unclogged the oil stored beneath ingrown hair comes out similar to what happens when a pimple is popped.
2. Exfoliate Ingrown Hair
If you thought exfoliation is meant only meant for your face, then you would be wrong. Exfoliating the skin in your leg and pubic area is just as effective in getting rid of ingrown hair in your lower body as in the upper body. You can consider using both physical exfoliator as well as salicylic acid-based chemical exfoliators like these Tingl Exfoliating Pads available on Amazon.
Not only do they help in cleaning up dirty and clogged skin follicles, but in most cases, exfoliation also helps to reset the ingrown hair outside the skin. You can check out an excellent article that we wrote exfoliating oily skin which covers many best practices for exfoliating ingrown hairs as well.
3. Don’t Aggravate The Affected Area
When you see the pimple-like formation of ingrown hair in your pelvic region or inner thighs, stop aggravating the surrounding area by removing hair by shaving or waxing. Doing this might lead to skin infections and blemishes. You might consider using a light brush as an exfoliator is your skin is too sensitive. This is especially a must if you’re dealing with ingrown hair on the neck and face.
4. Gently Tweeze Ingrown Hair
To speed up the healing process, once the hair emerges above the skin try pulling it gently with a pair of tweezers like these pointed ingrown hair tweezers on Amazon. Don’t poke a pustule before that as it might easily lead to a skin infection that might leave you with an unpleasant scar.
Only pull out the hair when you see that the swelling has reduced and dried up to a good extent. This also makes getting rid of ingrown hair bumps easier once the swelling heals up. Whatever you do, make sure you don’t squeeze the ingrown hair; it won’t pop out of the swollen area like a pimple. Squeeze it only once it has transformed and solidified into a whitehead
5. Use Retinoids
Retinoids are chemical compounds that share characteristics similar to Vitamin A and promote epithelial cell growth and they’re highly effective. Retinoids will help you clear dead skin cells and clear the dark patches of skin caused by hyperpigmentation around the affected area. A popular and highly effective topical retinoid is Differin.
6. Wear Comfy Underwear
Many physicians and medical professionals attribute tight underwear as one of the leading causes of ingrown hair growth. So instead of wearing tight underwear and shapewear, try wearing something comfy that give your skin some breathing space. Try switching to cotton underwear or underwear that has a cotton lining. Underwear made from synthetic materials like nylon and lycra don’t allow your skin to breath which causes the clogging of skin pores more frequently.
How To Prevent Ingrown Hair
As the old saying goes, prevention is better than cure. The secret to preventing ingrown hair and painful whitehead growth on your skin boils down to sticking to a couple of strict hygiene practices. Try to incorporate the following practices in your hygiene routine to avoid this problematic skin condition in the first place.
7. Use An Electric-Shaver
The problem with using straight-razors to shave body hair is that the cuts can be uneven and bumpy if the razor is not sharp enough. A good solution lies in electric shavers. While they don’t provide a shave close to the skin like electric razors, these devices provide an even shave every time, significantly reducing the risk of ingrown hair growth.
8. Use Depilatory Creams
A depilatory cream like Neomen Hair Removal Cream is an easier solution if you want to bypass shaving totally. These creams are a bit expensive but they provide a hassle-free hair removal solution for women. These creams work by dissolving hair growth beneath the skin's surface, loosening hairs from the root. This leaves zero chance for ingrown hair growth. Unlike waxing which operates under similar functionalities, it’s neither a painful experience nor an irritating one as post-skin irritation doesn’t happen when you use these creams.
9. Use Quality Products
If you’re still intent on sticking with shaving body hairs the old fashioned way, it’s imperative that you find a good shaving cream suitable for your skin. People often blame dull razors for ingrown hair growth, but the fact stands that if the skin has not been moisturized and softened sufficiently, even the sharpest razor will give a bumpy shave, leading to ingrown hair growth.
Since skin types vary greatly from person to person, you might want to do your own research and consult with a doctor to find the right shaving product for you. The general rule of thumb here is to avoid choosing anything that has an alcohol-based formula. On a similar note, try to avoid alcohol-based cosmetics as much as possible; the alcoholic reaction of the formulas of these products clog up the skin pores.
Men’s aftershaves are often good choices for women as well. Aftershaves reduce skin irritation that comes from a fresh shave as well as preventing skin clogging for a few hours when the skin pores have been freshly exposed to air. There are similar facial and body products for women as well. Avoid choosing multiblade razors for shaving body hair. When shaving, make sure you’re doing it properly as shaving in the wrong direction is the easiest way to cut the hair unevenly, eventually leading top ingrown hair growth.
10. Use A Shower Scrub
If dry-brushing seems like a hassle to you, you might want to consider investing in a good shower scrub or body exfoliator like this Vive Shower Brush available on Amazon. They’re less irritating than a dry-brush (except the face of course!), and often contain salt, sugar or other natural exfoliators to help open of clogged skin pores.
11. Use A Good Shampoo
Yes, you read that right! While it's not very common, ingrown hair growth can happen on your scalp also. To prevent ingrown hair growth on your scalp, consider washing your hair with a ketoconazole shampoo like Nizoral Shampoo or treating it using tea-tree oil. Both these products have salicylic as well as antiseptic properties, making them essential additions to your scalp care routine.
12. Wear Looser Garments
Wearing tight clothing might make you feel hip, young and hot but its also an open invitation to a plethora of skin complications. When you’re wearing tights, the dirt produced by the continuous rubbing of skin and clothing can pass out with sweat, clogging up the skin pores. Considering making room in your wardrobe for some comfortable clothing instead of fashionable ones.
13. Get Laser Hair Removal
This is an option only if you have a lot of cash to spare as laser procedures for the skin can be quite expensive. However, the results are permanent and you don’t have to worry about skin problems caused by body hair ever again, including ingrown hair growth.
Home Remedies For Ingrown Hair
Other than over the counter-drugs and cosmetics like moisturizers, there are some basic home remedies you can try out if you prefer natural treatment over chemical ones. You can try out some of the following traditional home remedies for treating ingrown hair growth.
14. Use Tea Tree Oil
Consider applying tea tree oil in the affected area. This natural compound is very effective at killing bacteria which reduces swelling of the affected area significantly.
15. Exfoliate With Brown Sugar
Olive oil, honey, and natural brown sugar make for a kickass natural compound based exfoliator. The mixture has a paste form and should be applied to the affected area in a circular manner.
16. Reduce Inflammation With Baking Soda
Baking soda has been an age-old solution to this problem for hundreds of years. It can immediately bring a noticeable reduction in the swelling of the affected area. All you have to do is mix a tablespoon of baking soda with a cup of water (around 150ml or so) and apply the mixture on the affected area with a cotton swab.
17. Use Aloe Vera For Prevention
Use of aloe vera to prevent ingrown hair growth and skin irritation is also another age-old home remedy for ingrown hair.
18. Use Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar and witch hazels are also very effective in treating ingrown hair when applied together
When To See A Doctor
If you have ingrown hair growth once in a while you can just let it heal or use one of the above-mentioned methods to get rid of it. But if it's occurring on a frequent basis then you should check in with a doctor as soon as possible as frequent occurrences of ingrown hair growth can lead to serious skin problems which you definitely DON’T want around your pelvic area. If you notice a cyst formation after squeezing the ingrown hair growth, check in with your doctor immediately. This is important to remember as cysts are the result of bacterial infection in the affected area and don’t heal on their own. In general, maintaining a good hygiene and a little bit of skin care is all you need to keep this infuriating skin problem at bay.
There you go, now that you have all the necessary facts straight, you should have an easier time treating and preventing ingrown growth since now you have all the basics down pat.
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