How to Prevent and Treat Ingrown Hair – An ingrown hair is a hair that grows back into the skin instead of rising up from the surface. This can cause irritation, redness, and sometimes infection. Ingrown hairs are common in areas where the skin is shaved, such as the face, legs, and pubic area. They are more likely to occur in people with curly or coarse hair.
Ingrown Hair Prevention
- Exfoliate your skin regularly to remove dead skin cells that can clog pores and hair follicles. This can be done using a gentle scrub, a loofah, or a chemical exfoliant, such as an alpha-hydroxy acid or beta-hydroxy acid product.
- Avoid shaving with a dull razor, as this can cause irritation and increase the risk of ingrown hairs.
- Use a sharp razor and shave in the direction of hair growth to minimize irritation and prevent ingrown hairs.
- Avoid using too much pressure when shaving, as this can cause the hair to be cut at an angle, increasing the risk of ingrown hairs.
- Use a moisturizing shaving cream or gel to soften the hair and reduce friction.
- Rinse the blade often while shaving to remove excess hair and shaving cream.
- After shaving, rinse your skin with cool water to close the pores and reduce irritation.
- Apply a moisturizer or skin care product containing salicylic acid or glycolic acid to help exfoliate the skin and prevent ingrown hairs.
- Avoid tight clothing, especially in the areas where you are prone to ingrown hairs, as this can cause irritation and increase the risk of ingrown hairs.
- If you are prone to ingrown hairs, avoid hair removal methods that cut the hair below the surface of the skin, such as waxing or tweezing, as these can increase the risk of ingrown hairs.
Ingrown Hair Treatment
If an ingrown hair becomes infected, it may need to be treated with antibiotics. You can also try the following self-care measures to help relieve symptoms and prevent further ingrown hairs:
- Gently clean the infected area with soap and warm water.
- Use a soft toothbrush or a washcloth to gently exfoliate the skin around the ingrown hair. This can help to remove dead skin cells and unclog the hair follicle.
- Apply a warm compress to the affected area for a few minutes several times a day. This can help to soften the skin and allow the hair to grow out of the follicle.
- Avoid shaving or waxing the affected area until the ingrown hair has resolved.
- Avoid using irritating products, such as perfumed soaps or alcohol-based toners, on the affected area.
- If the ingrown hair is painful or uncomfortable, you can take over-the-counter pain medication, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
- If the ingrown hair does not improve within a few days, or if it becomes infected, see a doctor or dermatologist for further treatment. They may prescribe antibiotics or other medications to help clear the infection and prevent future ingrown hairs.