What Are Ingrown Hairs?
Ingrown hairs are simply hairs that have curled around and grown back into your skin, instead of growing out and away.
Ingrown hair can irritate the skin, producing raised, red bumps that resemble a small pimple. The skin around an ingrown hair can form a painful, raised sore.
Affected skin can be itchy and uncomfortable. Symptoms and discomfort typically increase with a greater number of ingrown hairs.
The good news is there are several steps one can take to protect their skin from ingrown hairs after epilation (hair removal).
Risk of Ingrown Hairs
One of the first factors to consider in order to protect your skin is your risk factor. Typically, African-American males in their teens and twenties are more susceptible to skin irritation from ingrown hair, however anyone with tight, curly hair is susceptible to skin irritation – especially after a hair removal treatment.
The risk of ingrown hairs can be reduced by keeping your skin hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids, preferably water, and liberally apply hydrating lotions to any areas where you have received a hair removal treatment. Be sure to avoid using petroleum jellies and other substances that might clog the pores of your skin and aggravate the problem.
Before any hair removal procedure, thoroughly exfoliate the skin.
Skin exfoliation is the removal of dead skin cells from the outer layer of your skin. This will lessen the likelihood of clogged skin pores and ingrown hairs, and will leave the skin softer and smoother for a better hair removal experience. Smoother skin will also provide better results from your hair removal treatment. Skin can be exfoliated manually (loofah’s dry-brushing) or chemically (products with salicylic acid, like Tend Skin or face washes).
Remove Hair In The Direction Of Growth
Always choose a hair removal method that lifts and removes the hair follicle from the skin in the natural direction of its growth. Body sugaring is one of the best solutions to protect your skin because the sugaring paste is applied against the direction of hair growth, and then the hair is gently removed in the natural direction of growth.
When hair is removed against the natural direction of growth, it is much more likely to break and grow back into the skin.
After epilation, treat your skin with a cool compress, keeping the affected area clean and moisturized. Be sure to use a soft washcloth and apply creams that will not irritate or clog skin pores.
Beware Itchy Skin
If you experience a feeling of itchy skin after epilation, this could be a subtle reaction that will dissipate after a few hours.
As tempting as it may be, don’t cause problems by scratching the affected area! This can irritate the skin and exacerbate the symptoms if you are developing ingrown hairs. An anti-inflammatory cream is usually sufficient to handle any temporary skin discomfort. Of course, if the problem worsens, always consider seeing a healthcare professional.
Smooth, hair-free skin can be enjoyed by most anyone by following these simple guidelines to ensure your skin is healthy, hydrated and clean.