Ingrown hair is one hell of a problem which some people are prone to. Either you are waxing or shaving off your unwanted hair, these can come in any way. Before you search out ways how to treat ingrown hair, you better learn how to prevent them from coming over again.

What is an ingrown hair?

What Is An Ingrown HairBefore knowing why an ingrown hair comes, one must understand the process of normal hair growth. Our whole body is covered with hair follicles, which is a small pocket to regulate hair growth. Once the hair starts to grow from the follicle, it moves towards the skin surface, ruptures it, passes through the oil glands and becomes visible.

The hair growth process is the same throughout the body. Hairs in different areas of the body take different time to complete the growth cycle. For example, the hair on our head is much longer and, on your scalp, it takes a longer time to grow.

How an ingrown hair forms?

Sometimes after waxing or shaving unwanted hair, some hair cannot come to the skin surface as the follicle might be blocked due to sebum or dead skin cells. Or sometimes they might have grown in any other direction instead of an upward direction and are pulled back into the follicles. Once the follicles are blocked, hair does not get the way to grow outwards instead they start growing back into the follicle. This results in the formation of a bump on a skin surface which is quite painful sometimes.

Ingrown hair complications:

This small ingrown hair bump might get painful and sometimes frustrating as well. It is visible and can be seen but you cannot remove it. Sometimes it might get infected and turns into an ingrown cyst as well.

How an ingrown hair can be identified?

How To Identify An Ingrown HairAn ingrown is much similar to that of a pimple or it might sometimes simply look like blemishes that on your skin. In order to differentiate between them, try to figure out when and where these bumps appear. It is quite easier to identify and differentiate them on the face, neck arms or legs than an ingrown hair that appears on bikini line or pubic area. This is because in some sexually transmitted diseases the initial symptom can be the appearance of such red bumps in your pubic region. Hence this is very alarming and difficult to identify as well. But you can differentiate them with the help of associated symptoms that appear in STDs like flu, fever or fatigued body.

You can consult your doctor about any growth or bump on your body, as your doctor will be able to tell you whether you should be concerned or not.

How ingrown hair can be caused?

People who have thick and curly hair are more likely to have an ingrown hair. Ingrown can happened to anybody not only those with curly hairs.

Waxing

Waxing can be one of the most common reasons for developing ingrown hair. Because it makes the hair being pulled off from the root making the hair lining damaged. This hair lining guides the hair to go in the right direction. Once it is damaged, it makes the hair grow inwards into the follicles instead of growing out of it. There are a different type of waxing methods which includes

  •  Fruit Wax
  • Sugar Wax
  • Hard and soft wax

Waxing is not actually cutting the hair but ripping it from the root, but the problem with waxing is that when you ripped out the hairs from its root, the linin can become damaged. Make sure to pull the hairs in the opposite direction as this can reduce irritation, which will make you less likely to develop ingrown hairs.

Shaving

Shaving is the most common hair removal method for both men and women as it is quick, easy, painless and affordable. Shaving can also be another cause of growing hair. It cuts the hair just near from the skin and follicles making the top of the hair sharper. This sharp-edged hair top pierces the skin and moves back into the follicles, growing inwards again.

Shaving with dull razor result ingrown hairs as well. When your blade of a razor is no longer sharp then it cannot remove your hair effectively, so people re-shave the area over and overs that can cause problems for them.

How to prevent ingrown hair?

How To Get Rid Of And Prevent Ingrown Hairs How To Prevent Ingrown Hairs As if waxing or shaving wasn’t already enough of a chore, getting an ingrown hair after you have spent all that time getting your hair removed is just the icing on the cake. Ingrown hairs are painful, uncomfortable, unsightly, and they can take forever to heal.  While some people are more prone than others, when it comes to ingrown hairs it is definitely better to prevent them rather than to treat them. If you tend to get ingrown hairs and you are tired of dealing with them, keep reading to find out not only what causes them and how to treat them, but also how to prevent them from happening in the first place.  Table Of Contents [show]  What Is An Ingrown Hair What Are Ingrown Hairs? To understand what an ingrown hair is it is important first to understand what the process behind hair growth is. Humans are born with approximately 5 000 000 hair follicles all around their bodies, and we have hair almost everywhere that there is skin on our bodies except the soles of our feet and the palms of our hands.  How hairs grow normally:  A hair follicle is a tiny pocket or cavity that regulates hair growth and houses individual hair strands. Your hair begins to grow at the root of the follicle. As it gets longer, it gets pushed to the surface of your skin through a lining that guides the hair in the direction it needs to go. When it is about to reach the surface, it passes through oil glands and other important structures that help it break the surface and become visible. The hair growth process is the same throughout your body, but hairs take different times to complete the growth cycle in different areas of your body. For example, because this process is slower and takes a longer time to happen on your scalp, the hair on your head is much longer than anywhere else on your body.  How An Ingrown Hair Forms Ingrown hairs happen when a new hair strand that is growing back after being removed (by shaving, waxing, etc.) cannot break to the surface because the hair follicle is clogged up with sebum or dead skin cells. Sometimes, ingrown hairs can also happen because the hair strand grows sideways instead of upwards, which can make it curl back into the hair follicle.  When a hair follicle is clogged and the hair strand cannot get to the surface, it must find a way to keep growing, so it grows back into the follicle or the skin next to it, creating a visible and sometimes painful bump. Ingrown hairs are very common side effects of hair removal and tend to happen more often on people with thick, coarse hair.  Ingrown Hair Complications Sometimes minor ingrown hairs sit just under the surface of your skin, which can be frustrating because you can see them, but it is hard to remove them. Usually, ingrown hairs look like a small, red bump that can be a little painful or itchy. However, some ingrown hairs develop into ingrown hair cysts or pustules, which happens when the initial bump becomes infected.  A pustule is a large pus-filled lump that looks like a big pimple, but in this case, it is caused by an infected hair that reverted to the hair follicle and became infected. Pustules occur when the ingrown hair gets infected because the hair strand wasn’t able to find its way back to the surface. When a hair gets stuck in the hair follicle or grows back in it, your body treats it as a foreign object, so it starts an inflammatory process to try to get rid of it.  While pustules and ingrown hairs can happen anywhere on the body, there are some areas more prone to developing them than others. These areas include common hair removal areas such as the legs, bikini line, face, underarms and neck. People who have curly or coarse hair are also more likely to develop ingrown hairs because the weight and thickness of the hair strand can make it curl back into the skin.  Sometimes recurrent cases or ingrown hairs or several infected ingrown hairs happening at the same time can be referred to as folliculitis. Folliculitis is the infection or inflammation of hair follicles and it tends to occur in places where there is a lot of friction, such as places where you wear very tight clothes. Typically, folliculitis looks like a cluster of bumps or even like a rash that can be red, yellow or white that feels itchy or tender and it can be a one-time occurrence, or it can be chronic.  How To Identify An Ingrown Hair How To Identify One Sometimes you see a red bump in your face or your leg and you may wonder if it is a pimple or an ingrown hair. Because ingrown hairs and blemishes can look very similar, you can figure out which one it is simply by paying attention to where and when these bumps are showing up.  If you are a man and you feel like you get pimples on your face or neck every couple of days, it may be wise to stop shaving for a few days to evaluate the area. If you are not breaking out when you are not shaving maybe these bumps are actually ingrown hairs.  If the ingrown hair hasn’t become a cyst, it can be easier to identify which is which; ingrown hairs, especially in the beard area tend to be smaller red bumps while zits tend to be bigger and have a white or yellowish head.  Ingrown hairs in other places such as bikini line area can be harder to identify and can be very alarming. Because some STDs such as herpes or HPV can develop pimple-like bumps on your pubic region, it can be easy to mistake an ingrown hair for an STD. While there is no sure-fire way other than going to the doctor to decipher if your growth is actually an ingrown hair rather than an STD they do have different symptoms.  STDs like genital herpes are usually accompanied by flu-like symptoms such as tiredness, fever, and general body aches, while with an ingrown hair, unless seriously infected, you will only feel pain and discomfort in the affected area. Also, differently from ingrown hairs, STDs that develop into rashes or bumps are usually in clusters instead of single bumps.  Your doctor will be able to tell you with certainty whether you should be concerned or not about any growth or bump anywhere on your body.  What Causes Ingrown Hairs Shaving Some people are more likely than others to develop ingrown hairs; this happens because thick or curly hairs sometimes tend to bend and re-enter the skin or hair follicle it came out of. But ingrown hairs can happen to anybody, not only those with coarse or curly hair. Here are some of the most common causes of ingrown hairs.  Waxing Some people think that you can’t get ingrown hairs if you wax, but sadly that is not the case. Waxing is one of the most common hair removal methods; typically, a strip of melted warm wax is spread over the area where hairs want to be removed and it is then ripped either by hand or with a piece of cloth.  Nowadays there are many different types of wax and methods for waxing including fruit wax, sugar wax, hard and soft wax, and even chocolate wax. All of these methods claim to be beneficial for sensitive skin and to have many properties thought to make your wax last longer and your skin stay softer. However, none of them make you less likely to get ingrown hairs after you wax.  The myth that waxing doesn’t cause ingrown hairs stems from the fact that waxing is not actually cutting the hair but ripping it from the root. While this is true, some dermatologists believe that waxing may be even worse in terms of getting ingrown hairs than shaving.  The problem with waxing is that when the hair is ripped out from its root, the lining that guides it out of the hair follicle can become damaged or disrupted. That means that when a new hair grows out of that same root, it doesn’t have the lining that guides it all the way out, making it more likely to turn back on itself and become an ingrown hair.  The technique you or your esthetician uses for waxing also plays a crucial role at the time of developing ingrown hairs. Experts recommend that you apply wax in the direction that your hair grows to make sure all the hairs will adhere better to the strip, and then pulling the strip in the opposite direction. Pulling in the opposite direction can reduce irritation, which will make you less likely to develop ingrown hairs.  Shaving Shaving is by far the most common hair removal method both for men and women, mostly because it is quick, easy, painless, and affordable. But shaving and ingrown hairs are so closely related that some people refer to ingrown hairs as “razor bumps.” There are many reasons why ingrown hairs occur when you are shaving, including a dull razor, not using shaving cream or gel, and not preparing your skin pre and post-shave.  When you shave, you are using a sharp razor that cuts each hair so close to the level of the hair follicle and the skin that the hairs are not visible until they start growing back again. Because shaving is not ripping from the hair from its root, but actually slicing it, the top of the hair can become very sharp and pointy, which makes it easier for the hair to pierce the skin and revert back into the follicle when it is growing back.  On the other hand, shaving with a dull razor might actually be even worse for getting ingrown hairs. When the blade of a razor is no longer sharp it will not accomplish its mission (slicing your hairs) as effectively as it once did, so people tend to re-shave the area over and over until the hairs are gone, seriously irritating their skin in the process.  When your skin is irritated the small bumps that form on the surface don’t allow the hair to come out of the follicle, causing it to bend back and becoming ingrown. A dull razor is also most likely an old razor, which increases your chances of infection because it can deposit dead skin cells and other debris into your pores.  We often hear about multiple-blade razors in TV commercials claiming to be better in providing a smooth finish, but multiple blades might actually make you more prone to developing ingrown hairs. The idea behind a multiple-bladed razor is that as you shave, one razor lifts up the hair as the other ones come right behind it to slice it.  The problem with this method is that while you can get one of the closest shaves possible, the razor actually cuts the hair from beneath the skin, making it more likely to grow back inwards. On the other hand, single bladed razors gave only one blade that gently cuts the hair at a better angle without pulling it, reducing your risk for ingrown hairs and irritation.  Hair Removal Creams Hair removal creams, also known as depilatory creams have been around for a while and are very popular in the hair removal category because they provide that similar smooth and velvety texture that waxing offers, without the painful ripping and tearing of waxing strips.  Hair removal creams contain a strong alkaline solution that dissolves the keratin and other protein bonds on the hairs it was placed on. This solution makes the hair strand so thin and weak that when you wipe the cream away, the hair comes out of the follicle painlessly.  These creams typically take 10-15 minutes to work, longer if the hairs are very thick or dark. Once the process is done you just wipe off the excess cream and hairs with a warm towel. Fans of hair removal creams love them because they are fast and relatively hands-off; you can apply the cream and do something else around the house while you wait.  Hair removal creams are thought to be a good alternative for people who are prone to getting ingrown hairs; because the cream is not cutting or slicing the hairs leaving them with a pointy end, it is less likely that they will bend and pierce the skin to become ingrown.  The downside to hair removal creams is that they contain very strong chemicals that can cause irritation and even allergic reactions in people with very sensitive skin. These strong chemicals become apparent as you apply the cream from the very strong and unpleasant odor they emit. Gentle creams for sensitive skin do exist and some people claim extraordinary results, but we recommend that you test the cream on a patch of skin to make sure you will not react badly to it.  Tweezing Tweezing is a very popular hair removal method, particularly for small areas such as the eyebrows, and it can also be very useful for removing a pesky little hair or two that can show up at random places for time to time. Tweezing is similar to waxing in that when you pluck out a hair you are manually removing it from the root rather than cutting it, but with the difference that here you do it one by one.  In theory, tweezing shouldn’t cause any ingrown hairs because it is pulling the hair out from the root rather than cutting it at skin level, and you are minimizing the chances of inflammation and skin trauma that can happen during waxing because you are gentler.  However, tweezers tend sometimes cutting the hair halfway through instead of removing them all the way. When this happens, the hair that was partially pulled from the root and cut instead of pulled out can recede back into the skin or follicle causing it to become ingrown. Tweezing also increases your risk of infection because it can spread bacteria from one hair follicle to the other if you don’t clean it properly.  How To Prevent Ingrown HairsIngrown hairs can be very difficult to deal with after they happen because it can take a while to heal. sometimes you even need to go to the doctor to get it removed. Here are some simples’ steps that can reduce your chance of getting an ingrown hair.

Exfoliation

Exfoliation can be one of the preventive measures in controlling them in growth. Through this process, dead skin cells are removed by different techniques. There are two basic types of exfoliations,

  •  Physical exfoliation
  •  Chemical exfoliation

Physical exfoliation

Physical exfoliation involves the removal of dead cells via rubbing a scrub over the skin. Once you are done with the scrubbing process, you can wipe off all the particles from the skin and apply a mild moisturizer on the skin.

Chemical exfoliation

While on the other hand chemical exfoliation remains similar to the physical one. It only contains natural ingredients that are chemically processed. They contain less toxic minerals and acids and are mild in action.

Modern Epilators

Epilators are very convenient and effective hair removal devices and It can be really helpful to get rid of ingrown hair.See our reviews on Modern Epilators and find out which one is the right for you.

Homemade Exfoliators

Apart from that home-made exfoliation masks can also be beneficial and can be made according to every skin type.

Conclusion

Ingrown hairs can be annoying, and this pesky little hair can be very painful if they get infected. It is always a good idea to prevent them before they get worse.