Are they pimples? Or are they ingrown hairs?
It’s safe to say we’ve all encountered ingrown hairs in our lives at some point or another. Some of us experience them on a constant basis which can be the cause of frustration and even embarrassment.
These ingrown hairs can appear in all parts of the body including the legs, chest, buttocks, bikini line for women and most commonly on the neck for guys.
In this blog we’re going to show you how to spot the difference and why you should get on top of these ingrown hairs before they start to cause other skin problems you don’t want to deal with!
What’s the difference between ingrown hairs and pimples?
Looks can be deceiving; Pimples or acne can really mask themselves as ingrown hairs and vice versa. Typically they both will form pustules and some red inflammation surrounding the affected area. If left untreated they can also both lead to more serious complications such as hyper pigmentation and or long term scarring.
Acne or pimples in general can be caused by a few different factors which can include:
- Diet excessive in saturated fat
- Sudden dietary changes
- Insufficient water intake
- Gut health and bacteria balance
- Hormonal fluctuations
- Disruption in the sebaceous glands (too much oil production/oil flow/enzyme balance)
- Genetic predisposition
On the other hand, ingrown hairs have only 1 cause and that is: a trapped hair trying to push through the skin and is becoming stuck within the outer layers of the skin barrier. This condition is most commonly seen on clients with thick, course hair or very curly hair. As the hair is not straight, instead of pushing straight out of the outer skin layer, the hair burrows under, becoming trapped which then causes the immune system to send inflammation and healing signals to the area = Pimple / Acne like symptoms.
Can’t I just leave them alone and they go away by themselves?
There are many problems with ignoring ingrown hairs and waiting for them to go away.
- They can become very painful particularly in sensitive areas such as around the genitals and buttocks
- As the hair continues to grow, it can continue to burrow deeper inside the layers of the skin making it harder to eventually penetrate through the outer layer of the skin
- The swelling and inflammation caused by the ingrown hair can leave certain skin types with permanent hyper pigmentation spots in those affected areas
- On sensitive areas especially around the neck in guys for example, these ingrown hairs can cause painful irritation particularly when shaving regularly. This constant irritation causes itchiness, pain and discomfort
What are some things we can do to minimize the chances of developing ingrown hairs and avoiding scarring or hyper pigmentation?
There are 2 key things that we can all do to avoid developing ingrown hairs in the first place. They include:
- Exfoliate on a regular basis
Exfoliating helps your skin to shed and remove the dead layer of skin which sits on the top of the outer layer. By removing this extra layer not only will you see cosmetic benefits to your skin, but you will also make it easier for the hair to penetrate the skin layers as there are less layers to penetrate.
- Use a quality moisturiser
Using a quality moisturiser each day not only will help nourish your skin and deliver active ingredients to help keep your skin strong, youthful and healthy; it will also make your skin much softer and penetrable. This means the hair will have a much easier time trying to push through.
Is there a treatment for ingrown hairs?
Fortunately, there is a safe and effective treatment for ingrown hairs. The best way to eliminate these all together is to undergo a course of laser hair removal treatment. By using a laser to destroy the hair follicle, you are eliminating the very reason that ingrown hairs exist In the first place.
Laser hair removal is a quick and easy option and can be used on any part of the body to treat unwanted hair. With modern advances in laser technology it is also now possible to treat dark skin types as up until recent times was not an option. If you do find yourself with a painful ingrown hair situation, one zap is all it takes to eliminate the issue right away.
Take home message
Moisturise Moisturise Moisturise! By keeping on top of this regularly you will ensure your skin is soft and hydrated allowing hairs to come through naturally.
Get on top of your ingrown hair situation quickly as you don’t want to risk allowing them to form pigmentation spots or scarring.
Lastly, there’s no need to put up with ingrown hairs any longer. If you find yourself continually breaking out with them, then seriously consider undergoing a course of laser hair removal.