Summer season is upon us which means revealing clothes, rising temperatures, and for many – hair removal time. A sleek, hairless body is the beach ideal for many folks. We are not here to argue with that, but rather address a nasty dark side of hair removal, the ingrown hair.
With a little education, background, and preparation, ingrown hairs can be prevented or treated quickly. Those red bumps will quickly ruin the bikini or board short body you have been working so hard for. And even if you don’t care about rocking a six-pack with your shirt off, we don’t know anyone who wants to be covered in swollen lumps.
Ingrown Hair Treatment from Doctor
When you hear about the Mayo Clinic, you think serious terminal illnesses, but they address ingrown hairs on their website too.
Here is what the medical experts suggest for ingrown hair treatment:
- Stop shaving, waxing, or tweezing for one to six months.
- If you don’t want to let your hair grown back in, consider laser treatment that eliminates hair growth completely. No hair, no ingrowns.
- Apply retinoids to the affected area, like Renova or Retina A, to clear off dead skin cells.
- Use a steroid cream, OTC or prescription, to reduce inflammation.
- Take an antibiotic either topically or orally to control infection.
Bonus Mayo advice: ingrown hairs can worsen as they grow back, but should improve with time.
How to Remove Ingrown Hair at Home
The circumstances surrounding a little skin bump don’t often require medical intervention. You may prefer to learn how to remove an ingrown hair in the privacy of your own bathroom. Suggested series of events include:
Take a warm shower or bath to open pores and soften skin.
If you are sensitive or the area is super ouchy, apply a topical anesthetic or analgesic to numb pain.
Sterilize a pair of tweezers with alcohol, iodine, or by boiling in water.
Use the sterile tweezers to pull the hair out. Leave the follicle in if you can, otherwise the new hair might repeat the process.
Dab an antibacterial ointment to stave off infection.
How To Pull an Ingrown Hair Out
If you feel compelled to remove the offensive hair completely, you can, although it is not recommended. Follow the steps above, but pull the hair straight upwards. Make certain you get the entire hair by looking for a small bulb on the end, that’s the keratin root.
If you have that, then you’ve plucked the whole hair. Leaving fragments can irritate the follicle even further.
How to Prevent Ingrown Hairs
Better than performing weird extractions on yourself is prevention. Here is how to prevent ingrown hairs from happening in the first place:
Exfoliate regularly. The method doesn’t matter besides your personal preference. The following are fan favorites for full body exfoliations:
Loofah. This bath buddy can be made from the luffa plant or synthetically with plastic. The rough surface will polish off skin cells gently every time you shower.
Face or body scrub. These cleansers contain tiny particles that scrub dead skin off while washing. You can find some with synthetic micro-beads or natural exfoliants like sand, sugar, or apricot pits.
Retinol. Cleansers with this chemical profile encourage the turn over skin cells.
Moisturize. The more you moisturize, the less dead skin cells there will be. Plus, dry skin cracks easier leaving microscope openings for germs to get in the skin and cause infection. It’s critical to use a moisturizing lotion or cream after exfoliating since the process can be drying.
Hair Removing Products that Minimize Ingrown
If letting your hair grow wild doesn’t appeal to you, you have options. Here are some dermatologist recommended hair removing products that minimize the risk of ingrown hairs.
Depilatories. A cream or gel that dissolves the hair shaft with chemicals. The process destroys the structural integrity of the follicle and hair falls out. It doesn’t cut the hair like shaving and it is gentler than waxing.
Switch to an electric razor. Blades creates a clean, sharp cut that leaves desirably smooth skin underneath, but increased likelihood of ingrown hairs. An electric version doesn’t get as close to the skin’s surface, making it less likely the hair will turn inward.
Trim instead of remove. You can do this with an electric razor or scissors. It’s a happy medium between being bald and looking like a wild beast.
Hair laser removal. This choice is best for those that struggle with chronic or deep set ingrown hairs. It removes the follicle forever so it can’t grow back.
How To Prevent Outbreaks
On top of switching approaches to hair removal and exfoliating, there are a few other habits to try adding to your hygiene routine.
Switch to cotton. Breathable fabrics can aid in preventing outbreaks of ingrown hairs and acne. If you are a fitness fanatic, try to find moisture-wicking clothes that aren’t too tight to avoid bacteria overgrowth.
Shower. While this might seem common sense, the point to drive home here is that bacteria overgrowth can cause outbreaks. You don’t have to go crazy, but cleaning after a workout or a day spent outside is a good game plan.
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