Ingrown hair is the most common problem we usually face while removing our unwanted body hair. They are not painful and itchy but also make your skin look dull and dirty especially if there is any accumulation of pus.
There is no way that we stop removing our body hair but it does not mean that you will have to keep suffering from ingrown hair after each hair removal session. Because, in this article, we will provide you with an answer to how to prevent ingrown hair on your legs and your whole body just by taking some extra measures.
What are Ingrown Hairs?
Ingrown hairs are those hairs that grow back into your skin instead of coming out. When you remove your hair, some hair is not completely pulled out from the roots. They break halfway and start curling back into your skin. This is what leads to ingrown hair.
They usually appear as small red bumps on your skin and are quite painful and itchy. Moreover, these ingrown hairs can occur in any area of your body if your hair removal technique is not right.
They are mostly caused by waxing, tweezing, and shaving. Therefore, our main focus in this article is the prevention of ingrown hair caused by shaving.
How Shaving Causes Ingrown Hairs?
When you shave, the razors cut your hair just above the surface of the skin while the part inside the skin remains untouched. This makes a sharp edge of the rest of the hair strand which can easily pierce your skin, curl inside, and lead to ingrown hair.
Additionally, it is a common practice that we pull our skin while shaving. Pulling the skin also gives your hair a chance to go back into the skin. These penetrated hairs act as a foreign body and your skin reacts against them. This causes pain, redness, irritation, and inflammation in that area.
How to Prevent Ingrown Hairs After Shaving?
Ready to know how to prevent ingrown hairs on the face and other body parts? Let’s get started.
Shave With the Grain
There has been a lot of debate on whether you should shave in the same direction as hair growth or in the opposite direction. If you want to prevent ingrown hair, the right answer to this is shaving in the direction same as that of your hair growth.
When you are shaving against your natural hair growth direction, it results in a closer shave. The closer shave not only irritates your skin but also cuts your hair too close to your skin. This sounds good at first but having sharp hair edges too close to your skin might give them a chance to curl and grow into the skin instead of growing out.
Use the Right Razor
The risk of ingrown hair can also increase if you are not using the right razors. For instance, when you are shaving with a razor with blunt edges, this razor produces more friction and pulls your hair, and this pulling force causes them to break and penetrate your skin.
In addition to this, when you are using a multi-blade razor, these blades pull your skin and sometimes cut your hair slightly below your skin. In this way, the remaining hair strand stays in and leads to the formation of ingrown hair. So, use a single-blade razor instead.
Use Shaving Cream or Gel
Dry shaving can cause cuts, nicks, and inflammation. When you dry shave, your skin easily gets irritated and swells. This inflammation of the skin clogs your hair follicles which can be a reason for the formation of ingrown hairs.
Hence, it is always advised to use a shaving gel or cream to make sure that your blade glides steadily on your skin and decreases the risk of ingrown hairs. This shaving cream also keeps your skin moisturized and soft while shaving.
Soften Your Hair
Another tip to answer your “How to avoid ingrown hair?” is to set e pre-shaving preparation routine. It only comes with two easy steps, exfoliation and cleansing your skin. Exfoliation and cleansing help you get rid of all the dust, dirt, and dead cells which allows the razor to glide over your skin easily.
An additional step is to moisturize your skin before shaving as it softens your hair resulting in a smooth shaving experience.
Learn the Correct Shaving Technique
Your shaving technique plays an important role in preventing ingrown hair. All the factors we have discussed until now come under shaving technique but some additional points that determine the technique are the shaving angle and the pressure.
Applying more pressure than required and shaving at the wrong angle increases the risk of ingrown hair. So, before shaving, learn to adjust the right pressure for shaving and shave at the right angle. These angles may vary according to the type of your razor. For example, for using a safety razor, the right shaving angle is 30°.
Exfoliate after Shaving
Your skin gets exposed to dust and dirt every single day. This dust clogs your pores and causes acne, pimples, and ingrown hair. So, when you are done shaving, make sure you exfoliate your skin.
Exfoliation cleans your skin and gets rid of dust, dust, bacteria, and dead cells from your skin, and prevents your hair from entrapping inside the skin.
Moisturize Your Skin After Shaving
Shaving and exfoliation make your skin dry. Dry skin has a weak barrier which means more dead cells and these dead cells accumulate above your skin thus entrapping hair inside the skin and leading to ingrown hair.
So, when you are done shaving, you need to moisturize your skin so that the protective skin barrier remains strong. Furthermore, moisturizing the skin makes it soft enough for the hair to come out of the skin easily. To buy some of the best moisturizers, click 10 Best Lotions to Use After Hair Removal.
Avoid Frequent Shaving
Shaving frequently also increases the chances of ingrown hairs so instead of shaving daily, reduce it two twice or thrice a week. This not only prevents ingrown hair but also gives your skin enough time to heal properly.
Proper healing means your skin’s protective barrier is maintained thus less dead cells and less ingrown hairs.
Avoid Pulling Your Skin
Pulling your skin while shaving can also be a reason that you have so much ingrown hair. It is important to hold your skin taut while shaving but make sure that you are not pulling it a lot.
Pulling the skin cuts your hair too short and these short hairs not only irritate your skin but can also grow back and now we all know what happens when hair grows back into the skin.
Use Serums for Preventing Ingrown Hair
If you are still suffering from ingrown hair after following all those tips, you can try some ingrown hair-preventing serums. These serums prevent ingrown hair by softening your hair, getting rid of dirt, and moisturizing your skin.
The ingrown hair-preventing serums contain salicylic acid as their main ingredient to prevent ingrown hair and fruit extracts, vitamins, etc. for nourishing your skin.
Try Electric Shavers
You are more at risk of getting ingrown hairs if you are using a normal razor. Electric shavers are usually easy to use, quick, and give you a better shave. These shavers usually come with blade covers to avoid cutting your skin or getting too close to it.
So, if you are not getting used to normal razors, you can buy electric razors for a better experience and treatment of ingrown hair.
Consider Trimming Only
No matter what you do, ingrown hair might be inevitable for some people. You can keep a long beard if you want to avoid them but if you hate beard, then go for trimming only. Trimming keeps your hair long enough that they do not pose any risk of developing ingrown hair.
Moreover, it also gives you a clean look while preventing an unnecessary problem from occurring.
How to Treat Ingrown Hairs?
Until now, we have discussed ways to prevent ingrown hair. But what if they are already present? You can try these to minimize the pain, irritation, and symptoms till you get proper treatment.
Shaving the area that already has ingrown hair present can cause further skin irritation and also increase the chances of infection in that area. So, if you find any ingrown hairs on your body, do not shave, pluck, or wax that area without getting rid of ingrown hairs.
Apply Warm Compresses
When you apply warm compresses on that area with ingrown hair, it reduces inflammation and soothes your skin for the time being. These warm compressions also open the pores so that if there is any pus in that area, it can drain easily.
It also allows you to get to the ingrown hair and remove it using a sterile needle.
You can use anti-inflammatory medicines to reduce the inflammation and also anti-biotics to make sure the area does not get infected with bacteria. Additionally, retinoids can also help.
These were some at-home tips to treat your ingrown hair but if the problem worsens, it is still best to go to a professional for a proper treatment.
A Better Alternative: IPL Hair Removal
Shaving is quick and easy but as long as you know the right way. Otherwise, it causes cuts, nicks, and even ingrown hair which are very painful and irritating. So, we are here with a better alternative that can give you better results at the convenience of your home.
You can try out the Ulike Sapphire Air3 IPL hair removal device for removing all your unwanted hair and preventing ingrown hair. The IPL technology reaches your hair follicles and destroys them giving you smooth skin for at least 6 months. The following are its main features:
- It has ice-cooling technology to soothe your skin and give you pain-free hair removal
- This device has three modes so that you can use it on all your body parts safely
- It costs $379 and comes with unlimited flashes. It is cost-effective in the long run as the device can work well for years to a whole lifetime.
Ingrown hair occurs when your hair breaks midway and curls into your skin leading to the formation of bumps, redness, and painful sensation. These ingrown hair are mostly caused by improper waxing, shaving, or plucking.
To prevent these painful hairs from occurring, you need to use the right shaving razor, learn the right technique, and also take steps for pre and post-shaving care. You can also stop shaving and try some other hair removal methods. IPL is one of them which is painless, more effective, and has no chance of causing ingrown hair. Want a detailed comparison of shaving and IPL? Click, Shaving vs IPL.