Ingrown hairs rank just as high on the list of annoying skincare issues as stubble and razor burn. They always seem to appear right before your trip to the beach after you’ve been counting down all week and look forward to finally getting to wear your new bikini. Pick that ingrown hair, and you could risk a serious infection. There are ways to treat it properly. Hint: They Don’t involve jabbing it with tweezers. Furthermore, you can also do things to cut down the risk of getting ingrown hairs.
(Related: Ways To Prevent And Treat Razor Burn Without Giving Up Shaving)
Check out these tips on how to deal with ingrown hairs:
How To Prevent Ingrown Hairs
One of the ways to cut down getting ingrown hairs is to stop removing your body hair. This option isn’t for everyone, so if you’re going to continue to shave and/or wax, there are things you can do to decrease your chances of getting ingrown hairs:
1. Wash your skin with warm water before shaving.
Don’t hop in the shower and start shaving. Wash your skin with warm water and soap, and wait some time for your hair follicles to open up from the heat. It will make shaving easier and help cut down on razor burn.
2. Apply your shaving cream, then wait a few minutes before you begin removing hair.
The Mayo Clinic recommends you allow your shaving cream or gel to soak in for a few minutes to soften the hair before you pick up your razor and start shaving.
3. Use a sharp razor.
There are times when you can get away with being cheap with beauty products, but then there are other times when you can’t. Don’t be chintzy, and try to make your razor blades last as long as possible. It will take so much longer to shave, the razor won’t do a good job, and you’re more likely to get razor burn and ingrown hairs.
4. Shave in the direction hair grows.
Don’t go against the grain when you’re shaving because that can leave your skin irritated. What other shaving tips do you need to know? Ensure you’re not pressing too hard with your razor or pulling your skin. Make sure you are rinsing the blade after every stroke.
5. Try a different hair removal method.
If you find you’re getting ingrown hairs from waxing, try switching to shaving or vice versa. You can also try a depilatory cream. Just remember to do a patch test first in case it irritates your skin.
6. Remember your post-hair removal treatments.
After your shave or wax, WebMD suggests you apply a cool washcloth to the area to reduce inflammation. To keep ingrown hairs at bay, try exfoliating once or twice a week. You can use a store-bought scrub or DIY your own.
How To Prevent Ingrown Hairs
A lot of ingrown hairs don’t require treatment. When an ingrown hair just doesn’t seem to be going away by itself, or you want to speed up the healing process, here’s what to do:
1. Stop removing hair in that area.
That means no waxing, shaving, or plucking. Nothing. You have to give the area a chance to heal.
2. Gently exfoliate the area.
Use a washcloth and a face scrub and gently apply them to the area in a circular motion. This will help get rid of dead skin cells and encourage the ingrown hairs to pop back up.
3. Do not try to dig out the hair.
It’s tempting but leave that sucker alone until it’s ready to come out. Picking it can increase your risk of scarring. If the hair has started to grow above the skin, you can use a sterile needle to very gently try to tug the rest of the hair out from under your skin.
4. If the ingrown hair or the area surrounding it looks infected or it is painful, go to your doctor.
If the area starts swelling, feels hot to the touch, or is painful, you should consult your doctor immediately. He or she can treat the area if it is infected by prescribing antibiotics and cleaning out the lesion.