You know you are prone to ingrown hair when no matter what technique of hair removal (shaving, waxing, creams…) you use, you will always get some (or a lot) afterwards.
Ingrown hair can happen anywhere. But their favourite areas are your legs, upper arms and bikini area.
That’s because the hair in these parts tends to be curlier and thicker and instead of rising up to the skin’s surface, the hair curls back in underneath.
So how do you stop getting ingrown hair and wear the clothes you so want to? Read on…
1. Use a body scrub every alternate day.
Scrubbing your skin is most important. And you should never skip this step!
By scrubbing your skin, you are removing all the dead skin cells from the top, so that the hair that is curled up under the skin can come closer to the skin’s surface, making it easier to remove.
Always make sure you don’t rub too hard that your skin gets all red and sore. Instead do it gently but firmly, in circular motion. Doing it regularly for 2-3 minutes is good enough.
Important: Start scrubbing your skin 2 days after you have removed your hair. This is when your skin closes over the hair follicles and your new hair can get trapped underneath. By scrubbing, you set your hair free, so it doesn’t curl inside.
2. Treat your ingrown hair just like a pimple.
The products used to treat pimples also work wonders on ingrown hair. That’s because they unclog pores, kill bacteria and remove the top layer of your skin so that the ingrown hair can reach the surface (where you can pull it out).
Use an acne treatment containing salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide or Retin-A. Retin-A is great because it also prevents any darkening of skin caused by the ingrown hair.
Just always use a moisturizer (without fail!) immediately after applying acne treatment as it can make your skin very dry, and dry skin also leads to ingrown hair!
Tip: Aspirin contains salicylic acid, which acts as an excellent exfoliator. Just crush a few aspirins and add a few drops of water to make a paste. Apply this mixture on the ingrown hair and let it dry for 10-15 minutes. Wash it off with warm water. Do this often enough and your ingrowths will hurry to the surface.
3. Use truckloads of moisturizer. At least twice a day.
Dry skin is an ingrown hair’s worst enemy.
When your skin is dry, the hair is unable to push its way out and therefore curls back underneath your skin, leading to ingrowths.
When you moisturize your skin, you make it softer, so that the growing hair can easily push through it, instead of digging back in. Aha!
So always use tons of lotion over your ingrown hair. Moisturizer also helps heal the skin and reduce marks caused by past ingrowths.
Tip: Moisturize within 3 minutes of stepping out of the shower when your skin is still slightly damp. The moisturizer will penetrate better and be more effective.
Stuff I love: Look for lotions that contain cocoa or shea butter, aloe gel or Vitamin E. These ingredients are known to soothe and heal scars. My personal favourites are Palmer’s Cocoa Butter and Bio Oil. They really make my skin super soft and fades away the marks too.
4. A hot compress helps bring the hair to the surface.
Take a cloth and soak it in hot water. Place it over the ingrowth. When it cools down, repeat. Do this a couple of times for a few days. This softens the hair and helps it come up to the surface.
5. Get the ingrown hair out!
No matter how tempting, please DON’T pick an ingrowth unless the tip of the hair comes to the surface. Otherwise you are just going to scar the area and cause pus to form. It’s just not worth the hassle.
Once the hair hits the surface, there are 2 ways to extract it.
One way is by using sterilised tweezers. Grip the hair and pull gently.
The other way is by using your nails. Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly. You don’t want bacteria to enter and cause pus. Now gently dig both your thumbnails into the skin surrounding the ingrowth. It will just pop up. Now take the tweezers and pull gently.
Immediately after extracting the ingrowth, apply your acne medicine over it.
5. Keep ingrowths away for good.
If you wax, scrub you skin everyday for 3 days before your waxing appointment. Don’t scrub (or moisturize) on the day of your waxing treatment. Wax on bare skin so that the wax can grip your hair properly.
Tip: Immediately after your waxing job, apply a gentle toner (like rosewater) and follow it with aloe gel to soothe and heal your skin.
If you shave, always make sure you use a new razor blade. Blunt blades lead to load of ingrowths. It may be a bit more expensive to change the blade every single time, but it’s totally worth it.
Tip: Scrub your skin BEFORE you shave so that you get a closer and smoother shave. And don’t forget to scrub every other day after that so that the hair doesn’t curl back.
Just follow this method for a few months and you will see a big difference! Ingrown hair will majorly reduce and even older scars and marks will fade. Your skin tone and colour will also improve and patchy skin will be so much less. Woo hoo!