Ingrown hairs are perhaps one of the most common skin concerns experienced by men and women all over the world. They can occur at any given time and for no particular reason regardless of which ethnicity you are.
This uncomfortable skin condition generally occurs during the hair growth cycle, where instead of the hair piercing through the epidermis and growing outwards, the hair become trapped underneath the skin causing a host of symptoms. Symptoms of ingrown hairs include:
- Itchy Skin
- Hair which remains under the skin despite shaving
- Infection (otherwise known as folliculitis)
- Razor Bumps or Pseudofolliculitis Barbae
- Keloid Scarring
What causes ingrown hair to begin with?
Although not a hard and fast rule, ingrown hairs generally seem to occur more often in people who have curly and course hair. The reason being is that the hairs can begin to grow backwards or even sideways into the epidermis much easier than if the hair was naturally straight to begin with. If you find that ingrown hairs occur frequently, you may be interested in some treatment options which are discussed below.
Where can ingrown hairs occur?
The most common areas for ingrown hairs to occur include the bikini line, genital region and anus however can also occur on the face and neck particularly in men. If left untreated, these ingrown hairs can cause a great amount of discomfort and even embarrassment. You can find more detailed information regarding the different types of ingrown hairs on our laser hair removal FAQ.
How can I prevent and treat ingrown hairs?
There are several ways that we can effectively prevent and treat ingrown hairs. Best of all, one of them does not require much of an investment at all, just some time and consistency!
Topical creams to help reduce ingrown hairs
Over the years there have been many creams and topical lotions that have been developed in order to prevent ingrown hairs. The jury is still on out whether or not they actually do work. The real question is if you are willing to subject yourself to a lifetime of applying topical cream or lotions in the hopes of preventing ingrown hairs.
Exfoliate to prevent ingrown hairs
The simplest and cheapest way to prevent ingrown hairs is to regularly exfoliate your skin with a loofah glove or brush. By exfoliating regularly, you are essentially removing the top layer of dead skin, making it far easier for your hair to penetrate the epidermis during the growth cycle rather than becoming stuck within excess layers of skin. Exfoliation is particularly important during the summer months as we tend to perspire more, and have greater chance of bacterial infection. We also see that during the summer months, there is more rapid cell turnover of the skin therefore you will find exfoliating during summer to be far more beneficial.
Laser treatment to eliminate ingrown hairs for good.
For many people, simply exfoliating regularly is not enough to prevent ingrown hairs. The reasons for this vary including genetic factors, hormonal environment and lifestyle however we find that clients with thick, course and curly hair are more susceptible to ingrown hairs regardless of their exfoliation routine. For these clients, we always recommend laser hair removal treatment as a way to permanently destroy the hair follicle, and prevent hairs from becoming ingrown in the first place. We find this treatment particularly beneficial for those that suffer from pseudofolliculitis barbae (razor burn) and for those who have a tendency to develop keloid scarring due to the ingrown hairs. A course of laser treatments no matter the colour of your skin, can greatly improve skin irritation from ingrown hairs, but also prevent them from occurring in the first place.
I already have ingrown hairs, what can I do?
If you are already suffering from ingrown hairs there are a few of ways to treat them, some of which not being ideal yet necessary in some cases.
- Exfoliate regularly and wait until the hair hopefully penetrates the epidermis and comes to the surface of the skin
- Use a sharp and sterile object to try and pry the ingrown hair out. (Recommended to be performed by a professional)
- Have a laser hair removal treatment performed by experienced staff who specialise in this type of treatment. The laser hair removal treatment can destroy the ingrown hair from the follicle, allowing it to fall out naturally in time (which is what occurs during regular laser hair removal treatment). We also offer more information on laser hair removal.
Contact us if you are interested in learning more about how you can quickly, safely and permanently remove your hair.