Ingrown hairs can be unsightly, irritating, itchy, and painful. They are a common issue and often the result of shaving improperly. It is perfectly normal to notice an occasional ingrown hair, but when this is a frequent problem, then you may want to start looking for a solution.
Find out how to get rid of ingrown hairs by learning more about why they appear, how to treat them, and how to prevent them.
What is the Cause of Ingrown Hairs?
There could be multiple causes of ingrown hairs and also certain conditions can increase the chances that you will have ingrown hairs. As with any medical issue, you need to understand the cause in order to find the right treatment. Here is a look at the most common causes of ingrown hairs:
Ingrown hairs are hairs that have ended up curling around and have grown back into your skin. Sometimes, dead skin cells can cause a hair follicle to clog. This can force the hair to grow incorrectly – growing in the skin instead of upward and outward. Curly hair that is cut too closely to the skin can also result in ingrown hairs.
Even though ingrown hairs are not a major medical concern, they can be irritating and cause embarrassment. They are itchy, uncomfortable, and avoidable. Ingrown hairs are most common for people with curly hair or when shaving areas of the body that have curly hair. For example, you are more likely to end up with ingrown hairs around your armpits and pubic area than you are on top of your head.
People with thicker hair may be more likely to have ingrown hairs. There is also some evidence to suggest that certain sex hormones can lead to an increase in hair growth, which may result in additional ingrown hairs.
Having thick or curly hair can also result in a type of ingrown hair called pseudofolliculitis. This is more commonly referred to as razor bumps. Razor bumps is a collection of small bumps that appear after shaving or removing hair. Some people even notice these bumps after waxing. Dealing with razor bumps can be a little more complicated than dealing with a few ingrown hairs.
How Should You Get Rid of Ingrown Hairs?
If you are tired of ingrown hairs, then there are a few steps that you can take to attempt to get rid of them. In some cases, ingrown hairs may go away on their own. As the hair grows back out, it will eventually pass. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
When you have ingrown hairs on your legs or other parts of your body that are irritating you, you can seek treatment. There are ways to deal with ingrown hairs on your own, but your doctor or a dermatologist could offer an easier solution. This may involve the use of a prescription medication, such as:
- Steroid medications
- Retinal A creams
Steroid medications are often applied directly to the skin. They help by reducing swelling and irritation so that the hair can grow back out of your skin. Retinal A creams work by removing dead skin cells and preventing a change in skin pigment as the result of ingrown hairs. Antibiotics are sometimes used to treat infections of ingrown hairs.
Other than professional treatment, you can attempt to deal with the problem on your own. There is really only one treatment that is known to work – let your hair grow back out. Let your hair grow and then make sure that you use proper shaving techniques to prevent future ingrown hairs. This can be an inefficient treatment, but it is the only solution that almost always works.
If you have razor bumps, then you should definitely let your hair grow back out until the razor bumps begin to settle. This is a problem that can become much worse if you continue to ignore the razor bumps. Allow your skin to heal before attempting to shave again.
Is it Possible to Prevent Ingrown Hairs from Growing?
Ingrown hairs are often the result of your grooming habits. In order to prevent ingrown hairs, you may need to make some changes to the way you care for your skin or shave your body.
If you constantly have to deal with ingrown hairs on your legs, then you should consider switching the way that you remove hair. Instead of shaving, you may want to try waxing or using a cream that naturally removes hair. Shaving can irritate your skin and push hair back down into your skin. This can result in ingrown hairs. If this is a common problem for your, then shaving is not the best option.
Some people find that waxing or using creams irritates their skin. If shaving is your only option, then here a few tips for limiting the chances of developing ingrown hairs while shaving:
- Apply warm water to your skin before shaving
- Apply a lubricating gel to your skin
- Use a sharp, single-bladed razor
- Dispose of razors after several uses or after the first sign of an ingrown hair
- Rinse your blade with water after every stroke
- Shave in the same direction that the hair grows
- Hold electric razors slightly above your skin
- Apply a cold washcloth to your skin after shaving to reduce irritation
Use these suggestions to deal with your ingrown hairs. You can also try using hair removal creams to dissolve the hair. Some people choose to use laser or electric currents to permanently remove hair follicles.
Ingrown hairs are a common issue, but you can prevent them by changing the way that you care for your skin. If you regularly notice ingrown hairs after shaving, consider switching to waxing or using creams. If you plan on continuing to shave, then pay attention to the shaving tips provided.
The only natural way to treat ingrown hairs to allow the hair to grow back out. This may be inconvenient, but it should not take long for your hair to grow. After your hair has grown back out, give your skin time to heal. Otherwise, you may end up dealing with the same issue again.