Whether it’s in preparation for a pretty leg-showing dress or a big date, a lot of people choose to shave their legs, bikini area and/or underarms. Unfortunately, hair removal can result in some annoying consequences, such as bumps, razor burn and ingrown hair. These occur when “the sharp tip of the hair curls back or grows sideways into the skin,” particularly in areas where coarse hair grows. Luckily, there are lots of ways to effectively prevent and safely treat ingrown hair problems.
I know this is probably something you don’t particularly want to know about me, but I tend to have this particular issue more than a lot of people. While I do not frequently remove hair, when I do wind up shaving or waxing, my hair follicles have always tended to get annoyed with me. Fortunately, I have learned some tricks on how to fix ingrown hairs, as well as what not to do.
- Exfoliate. I use a sensitive exfoliant in order to remove dead skin cells, which helps prevent your skin from ingrown hairs. If you already have one, gently use a soft-bristle face brush (I use my Clarisonic Plus on its lowest speed) to dislodge the hair and help bring it to the surface.
- Sooth. After you shave, dab on a gel or lotion that will keep the area from getting irritated. I currently use Shaveworks The Cool Fix, but I’ve also tried Tend Skin several times and saw great results, as well. Even if it’s too late, try to treat ingrown hairs using either these or aloe vera gel, which many people I know have found great success with.
- Be patient. As I say below, it’s best to avoid tweezing the hair. Instead, lifting it out with tweezers (if possible, don’t force it) will allow it to simply grow out normally.
- Shave gently. Putting too much pressure on your skin with a razor can definitely cause razor bumps for some people, so don’t push too hard. And if you find yourself getting irritated regularly, try shaving in the direction of hair growth.
- Seek medical attention if necessary. Most ingrown hairs are easily treatable and don’t require any help from a doctor, but if you find that the hair is extremely painful or infected, see a dermatologist for treatment. She may give you antibiotics, steroid medicine, antibiotics or some other treatment, but it’s best to let her figure out what to do in the event of trouble.
- Use products with alcohol. If you do, you’ll wind up drying out the skin around the irritated follicle and could close the pore (thus trapping the hair even worse).
- Stab with tweezers. Seriously, I’ve done it; I know it is entirely too tempting to just tweeze and tweeze until you manage to get that elusive, stuck little hair. But poking your skin with sharp metal tips can not only feel painful, it could potentially leave a scar.
- Ignore skin conditions. I have some psoriasis, so I have to be extra sensitive around areas that it most affects. If you are aware (or suspect) that you have an existing skin condition, you’ll better know how to prevent hair removal issues.
Hopefully you’ll find success with some of these hints. If you happen to have any helpful tips, as well, feel free to share in the comments below!