Article by BR Tabatha
You've epilated, waxed or shaved your legs and are feeling silky smooth and ready for summer. Until you notice little irritated bumps. They look like spots, or little infections, but they are in fact pseudofolliculitis barbae.
That's the fancy term for ingrown hairs. Now unless you plan to stop removing your body hair all together you're more than likely going to encounter at least the occasional ingrown hair. Enter Beauty Review's resident Beauty Therapist with the answers to your ingrown hair questions.
What is an ingrown hair?
Ingrown hairs are hairs that curl back on themselves and the tip then re-enters the skin. This causes a red bump that can become infected.
What causes ingrown hairs?
Ingrown hairs are more common with curly hairs (which is why your lady garden is particularly prone to them) and regular hair removal can increase the frequency and number of ingrown hairs. Poor waxing technique, trying to remove hair that is too short and an abundance of dead skin cells can all cause ingrown hairs.
How can I get rid of ingrown hairs?
- Give your razor a rest for a few days - you'll irritate the bumps and risk opening them up.
- If you can see the bend of the ingrown hair and it's free from any overlay of skin, you can carefully and gently remove the hair with a pair of tweezers.
- If you see a loop in the hair, the hair is growing inwards. You should be able to hook a needle or tweezer point under the loop and gently pull upwards to release the hair.
- Exfoliate the area gently once a day. This will help remove dead skin cells and eventually the hair will be able to be pulled out.
- Wash using an antiseptic wash to ensure your ingrown hairs don't become infected.
How can I prevent ingrown hairs?
- Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate. Before you remove hair exfoliate to remove any dead skin cells. Aim to exfoliate twice a week to keep your skin free from the build up of dry skin and dirt.
- Ensure you have a good length of growth before waxing. Trying to remove hair too short can cause the hair to split and make it more likely to grow improperly.
- Only wax each area once. Don't keep going over the same spot.
- If you're determined to wax/epilate, don't give in to the razor in between sessions. This will interrupt the hair growth cycle.
- Shave your legs when they've been in warm water for a while and use a moisturising shaving gel or cream. Don't try and do a 'quick shave' over the sink or using minimal water. It's a recipe for ingrown hairs.
- Shave with the grain. Electric shavers can cause hair to go here, there and every where so if you're prone to ingrown hairs stick to a clean, sharp blade.
- Where breathable clothing, tight unnatural fibres, for example spandex leggings can encourage hair to grow back on itself.