Ingrown Hairs Explained
Have you ever noticed bumps appearing in areas where your body typically grows thick hair or where you recently shaved? You may have found yourself wondering if this was acne or some kind of rash, but you’ve probably met the nemesis of many men and women: ingrown hairs.
Ingrown hairs are hairs that curl back under your skin rather than growing out from it. It can appear as a small pink bump under the skin, and you might even notice a small dark part of the bump which is the actual ingrown hair.
Let’s look a little closer at what causes ingrown hairs to form, and how these can be prevented and/or treated.
What Causes Ingrown Hairs?
Pretty much anyone can get ingrown hairs, but they are more common in people who have very curly or coarse hair because this hair is more likely to bend and curl back under the skin. In some cases dead skin can clog up a hair follicle, which can cause it to grow sideways under the skin, rather than outward. Making sure you clean and exfoliate your skin can be helpful in this regard.
Shaving is also a factor in developing ingrown hairs. Many people notice ingrown hairs after they have shaved. These ingrown hairs are commonly known as “razor bumps.” In men, razor bumps are most common on their face where they shave. Women typically find them on the legs, bikini area or underarms. While shaving, the razor creates sharp edges on the hair when it cuts, so when this hair starts to grow out it’s easier to curl back and re-enter the skin. This is especially the case with dry shaving. Ingrown hairs are not medically harmful per se, but if left untreated it can lead to scarring, skin discoloration or even a skin infection.
Getting Rid of Stubborn Ingrown Hairs
Sometimes ingrown hairs will go away by themselves, but sometimes you need to take action. Retinoids, such as Retin A, can help remove dead skin cells to clean out your follicles, which will help your hair grow straight out rather than curling back in. There are also some topical treatments you can apply to the area of the ingrown hair to straighten it out and reduce inflammation.
One of the best ways to prevent ingrown hairs is to exfoliate every day. Scrub the skin in a circular motion with a wet washcloth to ease out any stubborn ingrown hairs. While shaving, wet your skin with warm water, use as few strokes of the razor as possible, and rinse the blade with every stroke. Afterwards, apply a cool washcloth to your skin to reduce irritation.
If you notice ingrown hairs on your body, don’t freak out! These are preventable and can be easily treated. If you notice a significant amount of these popping up on your skin, let one of our beauty experts know so we can recommend the right skin product or service that will help smooth things out.