Updated: Jun 15, 2019
Ingrown hair is an unavoidable beauty crisis and plagues many of us. It is not a serious issue, but can be an irritating problem affecting many people. Ingrown hair is a curved hair follicle, which can cause the hair to re-enter the skin where the hair is cut and starts to grow back. It doesn’t grow outward through the skin as it should and instead, it grows sideways or curls back. Your skin becomes inflamed when a hair penetrate your skin as your skin reacts to it as it would to any other foreign body. They are painful, but they are stubborn when it comes to getting rid of them.
They usually appear as small tan, pink or red bumps on the skin and may sometimes appear like tiny pimples. Females frequently develop ingrown hair on the legs, pubic areas, and armpits. In males, they are common in the neck, cheeks, and chin. Symptoms of ingrown hair include embedded hair, itching, pain, tenderness, skin darkening, blister-like or pus-filled lesions, and small, solid or rounded bumps. Chronic ingrown hair can lead to permanent scarring, skin darkening, and bacterial infection.
You may get an ingrown hair when you tweeze as it can leave a hair fragment under the skin surface. You may also get it when you pull your skin stretched during shaving as it allows the removed hair to outline back into the skin without even growing out. They can also develop when the hair follicle gets clogged with debris and dead skin cells, leading the tip of the hair to grow sideways. People who have coarse or curly hair are more prone to ingrown hair. Tight clothes can also aggravate your problem of ingrown hair.
Home remedies to treat ingrown hair
In most cases, ingrown hair go away on their own as the hair eventually grows on the skin but in some cases they may not. Here are some of the affordable and painless natural preventions:
Exfoliation - Exfoliation is the best way to get rid of your ingrown hair before it becomes an extremely painful bump. Exfoliate the area to get rid of dead skin cells and reduce inflammation. It may help the ingrown hair return to the surface of the skin.
Use a Hot Compress - The moment you notice the tip of the hair, use a hot compress to open up pores and make the skin soft to help the hair come out smoothly. You can even use the steamer for this purpose and put a towel on the location for about 10-15 minutes.
Tweezers- Tweezers can be used to gently and carefully remove the tip of the ingrown hair out from under the skin. Make sure you have strong tweezers to remove the entire hair without breaking it off at the skin. Use the warm compress first to bring the hair to the surface. Remember to soak them in rubbing alcohol between uses to avoid causing infection or irritation.
Avoid Picking - Don’t scratch or pick an ingrown hair as it may cause bacteria to enter the small wound created, eventually intensifying the risk of infection. It can also lead to scarring.
Right Shaving Techniques - The ideal way to treat ingrown hair is to avoid shaving altogether and even if you have to then limit it once a week. Avoid shaving the area that is vulnerable to ingrown and exfoliate the area before you shave. Shave in the direction of hair growth and shave in a circular motion if you are using an electric razor without pressing too hard. Use a cool washcloth to the shaved area when finished and avoid shaving hair that is too short.
Apply Aloe Vera - You can get an instant relief from itchiness and inflammation by applying aloe vera on the area. Its soothing properties will help keep the skin nourished and accelerate the healing process. Rub the gel on the skin and leave it there for about 30 minutes. Do this 3-4 times every day for a week.
Acne Medication - Ingrown are similar to pimples, particularly when encompassed with pus. Apply salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide on the area several times a day for a few days.
Laser Hair Removal for Ingrown Hair
Laser treatment is a long-lasting solution to the problem and is safe for all types of skin. In this treatment, the laser emits light at a particular wavelength which targets hair follicle. The light gets converted into heat, which destroys the follicle. It can be used to treat all body parts and prevents the hair from growing back. It may require several treatments over the course of a few weeks and months, but the results are generally incredible.
Ingrown Hair is a chronic condition and can lead to scarring, skin infection, skin discoloration and rarely keloid scar formation, so make sure to visit your dermatologist. After understanding your history of skin rash, especially your hair removal or shaving habits, he can evaluate whether your excess hair is a result of treatable hormonal anomalies. He may prescribe you topical steroid creams to help reduce the inflammatory reaction of the skin, antibiotics to treat an ingrown hair infection or retinoids to get rid of dead skin cells and decrease the skin pigment changes that can take place from ingrown hair.
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