Ingrown hair is one of the most annoying skin problems; it can either disappear on its own or develop into a bump and get infected. 'Pseudofolliculitis barbae' or ingrown hair occurs when the hair gets trapped in the hair follicle. This usually happens after hair removal, when the hair has sharp edges and it curls back into the skin and grows inside the skin instead of growing out. Ingrowth can occur on any part of the body that is frequently shaved. In men, it is usually seen on the face and neck and in women in the armpit areas, legs and the bikini line. It is most common in people who have thick curly hair. It is usually a harmless condition, but sometimes it can get infected and leave scars on the body.
Tips to Prevent Ingrown Hair Follicles
Below are some simple tips that will help you prevent ingrown hair follicles, make them a part of your skin care routine to get smooth skin.
Tip #1 ~ Optimum Exfoliation
Exfoliating regularly will help prevent ingrown hair, by removing dead skin that traps hair. Use a loofah and a mild body scrub each time you shower. You can also make your own exfoliator by mixing baking soda or sugar with liquid soap. If you have sensitive skin, exfoliate very gently. Scrubs containing salicylic acid or glycolic acid are particularly effective in dealing with shaving bumps.
Tip #2 ~ Safe Shaving Regimen
Knowing to shave in the precise way and the things to follow or avoid during and after shaving can go a long way in forbidding ingrown hair.
- Shave after a shower, when the hair softens, it is easier to shave.
- Use a good shaving product, apply a shaving gel on your skin a few minutes before shaving to soften the hair. Do not use any product that contains alcohol, it will dry your skin making it difficult for the ingrown hair to come out.
- Always shave in the direction of the hair growth. Hair on the face grows downwards, while on the neck it grows upwards.
- Use a new razor each time you shave, a dull blade is more likely to cause ingrowth.
- Avoid a very close shave by using a single-blade razor or an electric razor.
- Do not stretch the skin when you shave, also avoid putting too much pressure on the razor.
- Avoid continuous strokes in the same area and rinse the blade after each stroke.
- After shaving, applying an antiseptic can be very useful in preventing ingrown hair, witch-hazel may also be used.
- Also, wait till your hair grows, very small hair won't be removed properly, leading to ingrowth.
Tip #3 ~ Application of Depilatory
Use a depilatory cream to get rid of unwanted hair instead of shaving. These creams contain a chemical which dissolves the hair shaft and thus there are less chances of an ingrown hair follicle.
Tip #4 ~ Cleansing and Moisturizing
The two sectors of skin care essentials that go hand in hand in preventing ingrown hair follicles are cleansing and moisturizing. Use a mild cleanser and a moisturizer according to your skin type, when the hair follicles are moisturized, hair will grow in the right direction. Make sure your moisturizer is non comedogenic, to prevent clogging of pores.
Treatment of Ingrown Hair Follicles
Ingrown hair follicles may barely be noticeable at first, however with time they may grow to a red bump and get filled with pus. The area may also become irritated and itchy. You can use a warm compress to get the hair to the surface. To treat the infection, you can use the same topical creams that you use for acne. Application of pure aloe vera creams are also useful in treating an infection, alternately one can use tea tree oil to reduce inflammation. A mixture of cucumber and cold milk can also be used to reduce itchiness and inflammation. As far as possible, avoid tweezing and plucking of hair as it is likely to lead to scarring and can sometimes push the hair even deeper. Avoid wearing tight clothes, it will only aggravate the condition.
As with other skin problems such as dandruff and acne, rare occurrences are common. However, using the right hair removal method and taking a few precautions will help you a great deal in preventing ingrown hair. Make use of the above said tips and follow a regular skin care routine to keep your skin soft and supple.