You’d think that a painful waxing session or an emergency dash with the razor would leave you with super-smooth legs, for a few days at least. But ingrown hair tends to have a knack for (literally!) being bumps in the way of those silky skin dreams. A common problem faced by so many of us, ingrown hair can lead to redness, inflammation and annoying stubble, which definitely doesn’t help us look or feel so great. We’re sure you’ve been struggling with it for years, so we give you the lowdown on why and how to prevent this fuzzy problem. Read on to banish it for good!
1. What Exactly Happens?
An ingrown hair is basically a tiny hair that curls back into the skin instead of rising above it, and then it grows under a layer of skin. These can cause irritation, angry bumps, darkened skin around the follicle and, in extreme cases, even scarring.
2. Why Does This Happen?
This commonly happens when hair is unevenly broken due to improper waxing or shaving or when dead skin clogs up the hair follicles. You can get them anywhere where hair grows - yes, even on your armpits and bikini region. Yikes! They’re most likely to occur if you shave/wax too often or have curly or coarse hair.
3. How Do You Treat Them?
The best way to deal with ingrown hair is to make it a point to exfoliate like a boss. Use a good body scrub like The Body Shop Strawberry Body Polish
to gently exfoliate away dead skin and excess oil in the follicles. You can also use a warm towel to loosen up the skin around trapped ingrown hair.
Tea tree oil
is also a great idea thanks to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Add a few drops into two tablespoons of water, and apply on the affected areas for 10 minutes after your shower. Do this daily to treat those pesky undergrowths.
If they’re a common occurrence for you, don’t forget to use an oil-free sunscreen like Neutrogena’s Ultra Sheer Dry Touch Sunblock SPF 50
before stepping out to avoid discolouration of the affected areas.
4. Home Remedies That Will Work!
: Not only is baking soda super soothing thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, it also helps reduce redness caused by hair ingrowths. Just add a tablespoon of it to a cup of water, dip a cotton ball in it and apply on the affected areas. Wash it off with cool water after 5 minutes, and make sure to repeat this 2 to 3 times a day.
: As sweet on your skin as it is on your palate, sugar makes for a super exfoliator - and you’re bound to always have some in your kitchen. Make your own scrub by mixing a cup of sugar with half a cup of olive oil and adding a few drops of your fave essential oil to the mix. Massage the scrub onto the affected areas in a circular motion for a few minutes and wash off for smoother, ingrowth-free skin.
5. Remember, No Matter What You Do…
Don’t ever scratch or pick on a bumpy ingrowth. We know how tempting it can be, but please keep those fingers in check. Hair ingrowths are totally harmless, but scratching them can lead to inflammation, infection or scarring.
6. Prevention Is Key
Keep these tips in mind to banish them for good.
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- Shower before a waxing/shaving session, to soften the hair follicles so they come out easily.
- If you shave, remember to shave in the direction of your hair growth, and not against it.
- Make sure your beautician stretches your skin before waxing the area so your hair comes off properly.
- Check the label of the products you use. Cleansers and soaps with a high alcohol content can be very drying and harsh on your skin.
- Moisturize your skin often.
- Exfoliating regularly can reduce the risk of hair getting trapped under the skin and will get rid of follicle-clogging dead skin.