Getting an ingrown hair is pretty far down on the list of things you want to happen to you. They're painful, stubborn, and more than a little gross. That said, what's the best way to handle them? And are there mistakes to avoid when dealing with ingrown hairs? Well, there are a few things you should keep in mind if you've got ingrown hairs, to help speed the healing process and avoid infection. Plus, there might be a few things you can add to your routine to reduce their frequency.
Let's start with the basics: First off, what exactly is an ingrown hair? Well, according to WebMD, it's when the hair follicle curls up and grows back into the skin, creating a painful raised bump, similar to a pimple or cyst. They're often caused by shaving, as the process can sharpen the end of the hair, making it easier for it to pierce the skin. They can also be caused by dead skin clogging the hair follicle, and it's worth noting that they're more common for people with thick and/or curly hair.
So, with all that in mind, let's take a look at a few things you should avoid while you're dealing with ingrown hairs.
1. Picking The Ingrown Hair
Tempting as it may be, it's best if you let the ingrown hair run its natural course — picking at it with your fingernails will increase your risk of infection and scarring, according to Into The Gloss. If you absolutely must, use sterilized tweezers for the job.
2. Skipping Shaving Cream
Tugging at the skin when you shave irritates it more, according to The Huffington Post, which makes it more prone to ingrown hairs. Make sure to use something with a rich lather to keep things as irritation-free as possible.
3. Never Changing Your Razor
Ditto your razor — The Huffington Post suggests you make sure you change it when necessary. You're going to want to minimize irritation as much as possible, and a dull razor head isn't going to help you.
4. Pulling Your Skin Taught When Shaving
According to Mayoclinic, pulling your skin taught when shaving can "allows the cut hair to draw back into the skin and re-enter the skin without first growing out." Yeowch.
5. Skipping Exfoliation
Kiehl's Creme de Corps Soy Milk & Honey Body Polish, $11, Bloomingdales
Since dead skin can clog the hair follicle, you're going to want to make sure to keep that dead skin in check. Regular exfoliation will also help your shaving process as well. Into The Gloss recommends "exfoliating once or twice a week."
6. Being Overzealous With the Hair Removal
Regrettably, ingrown hairs are generally most common in the pubic region, Healthline reports — because, as noted above, coarse and curly hair causes ingrown hairs more easily. If you're experiencing a ton of ingrown hairs in your bikini area, or anywhere really, it might be best to take a temporary vacation from waxing, etc in order to give yourself time to heal.
7. Haphazard Tweezing
Birds of a Feather Mini Slant Tweezers, $16, Sephora
Be careful when tweezing hairs, as the process can sometimes leave a portion of the hair trapped under your skin, according to Mayoclinic.
8. Wearing Tight Clothes
YES, tight clothes can actually cause ingrown hairs. Kind of terrifying, right? Approach shapewear, restrictive undies, and extremely tight skinny jeans with caution.
9. Not VisitingThe Doctor
If you think your ingrown hair may be infected, take a hop, skip, and a jump to the doctor. You may need antibiotics, according to Mayoclinic, and it's always better to be safe than sorry.
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