An ingrown hair is something that we have all experienced at some stage in our life, and if you haven’t, then you are super lucky! In most cases, ingrown hairs are harmless and can be resolved in a matter of minutes, but if they are not treated correctly, then they can become incredibly painful, meaning that a trip to your GP is the only solution. However, there are ways that you can prevent ingrown hairs and ensure that your chosen method of hair removal leaves your skin smooth and irritation-free every time! And as your experts in all things beauty, we thought it was only fair to put these tips together into a helpful guide on how to treat ingrown hairs to ensure that you never encounter them again.
Ways To Treat & Prevent Ingrown Hairs
At our beauty clinic in Milton Keynes, one of the most common reasons as to why clients approach our team interested in professional hair removal is because of ingrown hairs. Although in the past, there were no methods of hair removal that did not run the risk of ingrown hairs, this is no longer the case. Not only are there many products that will help to keep your skin free from irritation but laser hair removal also offers a solution to all of your hair removal needs, while running no risk of ingrown hairs. With this in mind, if you are regularly experiencing ingrown hairs and want to say goodbye to the problem for good, our guide will run through the following:
First things first, before taking a closer look at how to treat and prevent ingrown hairs, it’s essential to spend time understanding what they are and why they appear. So, on your body is around five million hair follicles – yes, you heard right, five million! These are tiny tunnel-shaped structures on the outer layer of your skin and each of which is the home of one single hair strand. The hair starts to grow at the base of the hair follicle, travels through the skin before reaching the surface and here is where it becomes visible.
Now, every time that you remove hair, whether this may be through shaving, waxing or any other removal method, the hair follicle will still remain in full working order, which means that the hair will naturally begin growing again. The only way that you can prevent this is if you opt for laser hair removal, but we will go into this in more detail later in our article! Almost all of the hair will have no problem in regrowing and will grow upwards towards the upper layer of skin and then break through the surface. However, the problem comes when this is disturbed, and instead of growing out of the follicle, the hair grows towards the surface and then turns back on itself, re-entering the skin – this is called an ingrown hair.
The problem with ingrown hairs is that they quickly begin to irritate the skin, causing inflammation and a bump on the skin. These bumps are typically filled with pus and become incredibly itchy, which can then lead to a bacterial infection. Ingrown hairs can occur on any area of the body but are far more common on areas that you regularly shave, such as the legs and underarms.
If you do begin to experience any of the signs above, such as swelling, redness or itching, then you may need to try treating the ingrown hair. In most cases, the ingrown hair will clear up on its own, but if you notice that the hair does not break through the skin, then we suggest using the following steps:
1. Stop Hair Removal For A While
Firstly, if you ever notice an ingrown hair, then it is vital to stop removing hair from that particular area until it has cleared up. Although it may be frustrating having to leave the hair to grow, attempting to wax, shave or pluck an area with an ingrown hair will do nothing but make it far worse. The area will already be super sensitive, so using hair removal methods on top will cause more irritation, increasing the likelihood of an infection. Skin infections caused by ingrown hairs usually come in the form of a cyst, which is a large bump which spreads from the skin’s surface to deep inside the layers. These cysts are sore to the touch and are considerably harder to treat than typical ingrown hairs, so it is essential to take the right steps to prevent them from forming.
2. Use A Warm Compress
Before you attempt to treat ingrown hairs, you will need to prepare your skin. We would always recommend doing this by applying a warm compress over the treatment area as this will help to open the hair follicle. Just like you would warm your face to open the pores and remove any build-up of dirt to prevent breakouts, opening the follicle will make it easier to remove the hair embedded inside.
3. Carefully Pull Out The Hair
Now is the trickier part, removing the hair itself. It is essential to take your time with this as the skin will be incredibly sensitive, so you do not want to cause any more irritation. By applying a warm compress, you would have opened the hair follicle, and you should now be able to see the hair just above the skin. You will see that the hair is in a loop so using thoroughly sterilised tweezers or a needle, gently pull the hair so that the side that has grown inwards is now outside of the skin. Leave the hair as it is and do not remove it until the surrounding skin has healed and you no longer have a bump, swelling or redness.
4. Gently Exfoliate The Surrounding Skin
If you have applied a warm compress and tried to pull the hair but still have no luck, then stop and use the exfoliation method. Do not continue to dig into the skin in the hope that you can pull out the hair as this will do more harm than good. Instead, using a wet washcloth, very gently exfoliate the treatment area in circular motions. This should encourage the hair to return to the surface without having to break the skin.
5. Apply An Anti-Inflammatory Product
Regardless of whether you have been able to pull the hair to the surface or not, you would always benefit from applying a little anti-inflammatory cream or solution afterwards to soothe the area and prevent any possible discomfort. There are many different products now available that are designed specifically for ingrown hairs, helping to treat them while also preventing problems in the future. The Bump Fix Razor Bump & Ingrown Hair Solution by Jack Black is a great product that is made with ingredients to calm inflammation such as green tea extract and camomile. After you have used it to soothe the skin, it can also be used to tackle clogged pores and follicles.
6. If You Have No Luck, Visit The Doctor
If you have tried leaving the ingrown hairs to resolve themselves and also attempted to treat them, but the area only seems to be getting worse, then the only other option is to visit the doctor. The NHS website recommends booking an appointment with your GP if the area is painful, hot, red and swollen, or if you begin to feel unwell and have a very high temperature.
Ingrown hairs are super frustrating and can be painful; however, there are many different ways that you can prevent them from occurring. Whether you want to switch your method of hair removal or need some extra tips on how to prepare your skin, here is our advice on how to prevent ingrown hairs:
Opt For Laser Hair Removal
By far the most effective way that you can ensure that you never have to worry about ingrown hairs again is to book in for laser hair removal. Back at the start of our article, we mentioned that we would tell you a little more about the treatment and now is the time!
As laser hair removal is designed to target and destroy the hair follicles, it means that once you have completed your sessions, the hair growth will be significantly impeded. The follicles are permanently damaged from the root, which means that it cannot produce hair and therefore, ingrown hairs become impossible. It is the only hair removal method that runs no risk of ingrown hairs, meaning that if you regularly suffer from painful ingrown hairs, scheduling a set of sessions is the perfect solution. You can have laser hair removal on many areas of the body from the legs, underarms, and bikini line to even the face. Once you have completed your course, which typically involves a set of six sessions, all you will need to do is schedule annual top-up sessions to maintain your results.
If you are interested in laser hair removal in Milton Keynes or the surrounding areas, then why not book in at our reputable beauty clinic. With many years of experience, our trained laser consultants can book you in for a consultation to discuss your requirement and put together a tailored treatment plan.
Exfoliate Your Skin Regularly
The reason why hairs begin to grow inwards is because they become trapped in dead skin cells, so if you were to regularly exfoliate and remove these, you lower the likelihood of having ingrown hairs. However, although it can be tempting to use harsh scrubs or chemicals, it is essential only to gently exfoliate. Through using a gentle exfoliant a few times a week instead of a stronger alternative every couple of weeks, it will become far easier to manage dry skin. You will be able to remove dead skin cells before they have a chance to build-up, not only reducing ingrown hairs but also preventing breakouts. If you’re in need of a new exfoliator, then take a look at Glamour Magazine for 11 of the best picks for this year!
Keep Your Skin Hydrated
Once you have exfoliated, this should always be paired with a hydrating moisturiser that will keep your skin nourished. Although exfoliators are essential in removing dead skin cells, they can also strip the protective layer from the surface of your skin, which means that reapplying the moisture will be vital in replenishing your skin. Together this will not only keep your skin smooth but also glowy, achieving a youthful appearance and reducing signs of ageing.
If You Stick To Shaving, Use Best Practices
If you want to stick with shaving while you save up for your laser hair removal sessions, then it will be vital to use best practices to prevent ingrown hairs in the meantime. Believe it or not, there are correct and incorrect ways to shave and can be the difference between ingrown hairs and no ingrown hairs. Our top tips are:
- Never shave dry skin, always prepare your skin with shaving cream or gel before starting.
- Always ensure that you use a sharp razor as old, blunt ones will force you to go over your skin several times, causing irritation.
- Although it may not feel familiar, if you regularly experience ingrown hairs, try shaving in the direction that your hair grows. The reason for this is that when you shave against the hair direction, they are cut at a sharp angle which increases the likelihood of ingrowing hairs.
- After each shaving stroke, be sure to rinse your razor under water to remove any hair that is clogging the blake.
- Once you have shaved an area, pop on a post-shave product which will soothe the skin and dissolve built-up skin cells.
If you book in for our laser hair removal in Aylesbury or any of the surrounding areas, you will be asked to shave the treatment area no sooner than 24 hours before each session. This is to ensure that the hair underneath the surface is targeted and the light energy reaches the follicle, making your results more successful.
Say Goodbye To Ingrown Hairs For Good!
There is nothing more frustrating than noticing an ingrown hair when you have taken all of the preventative measures before shaving, waxing or tweezing. However, ingrown hairs shouldn’t be something that you have to continue dealing with. Laser hair removal offers a long-term solution to all of your hair removal needs while keeping your skin free from irritation. If you are interested in laser hair removal, then our beauty clinic in Aylesbury is now taking bookings for next year, which is the perfect time to begin your sessions. Through starting your course in the winter, you can enjoy optimum results by your next summer holiday.