You probably know this beauty problem all too well: ingrown hairs. They itch, are uncomfortable and also look unsightly. But why does hair actually grow in when you shave or epilate? Here you will find answers to all your questions about the hated ingrown hairs. We’ll also show you the best way to remove ingrown hairs and what you can do to prevent them from happening in the first place!
How do ingrown hairs develop?
Hair can basically grow in after every hair removal. It doesn’t really matter whether you shave, wax, epilate or use another hair removal method. Ingrown hairs are most common when shaving.
The razor blade manufacturer Gilette explains it like this: “After shaving, a hair that has been cut off can pull back under the skin, curl up and continue to grow under the skin’s surface.” Hair can also grow in when waxing – the thin hairs that grow back completely can sometimes do not penetrate the skin’s surface, causing inflammation under the skin.
If a hair grows in, there is usually a small pimple-like elevation. It can swell, hurt, itch, and even fester.
Where are ingrown hairs common?
Hair can theoretically grow in all over your body. Most of the time, however, it is the parts of the body where the hair is thicker where it grows in. This is, for example, the armpit and the genital area. Because armpit and pubic hair is thick and curly, it can curl and twist under the skin.
These things favor ingrown hairs
There are people who are prone to ingrown hairs, but there are also some mistakes one can make to encourage ingrown hairs. You can find out what these are here:
#1 Too tight clothes
Tight clothing presses on the skin and gives it little room to breathe. This makes it harder for small hairs to grow through the surface of the skin. Tight clothes also rub against the depilated area of skin – this can lead to irritation. After depilation, you should leave your skinny jeans in the closet for a day
Every day our skin cells die and make room for new ones. However, these skin flakes do not always fall off immediately, but remain on the skin as dead tissue until they are completely dead. These scales can prevent a hair from penetrating the skin, forcing it to remain under the skin. An ingrown hair occurs.
#3 thick and curly hair
Genetics also have something to do with whether your hair is more likely to grow in. Unfortunately you cannot change that. If you have thick and curly hair, it’s more likely to grow in. This is the case with many southern types, for example.
#4 Hair Removal
This may be obvious now…but hair removal encourages ingrown hairs. When you shave, you cut your hair at the surface of the skin, which means it can easily grow sideways. It’s no different with epilation and waxing – here, too, hairs can grow crookedly and grow in.
The only way to really avoid ingrown hairs is to not shave or to have laser hair removal permanently remove the hair. But because this is not an option for every woman, there are now tips to prevent ingrown hairs from occurring in the first place.
This is how you can prevent ingrown hairs
There are several tricks you can use to prevent ingrown hairs. These tips can help you no matter what part of your body you shave or epilate.
- Keep changing
razor blades Dull razor blades put unnecessary strain on your skin – this can encourage ingrown hairs. When you shave, if you find that the blades feel rough on your skin, change them out.
- Always use shaving gel
Sometimes it has to be done quickly – or you just don’t have any shaving gel at home. But shaving on dry skin can not only lead to ingrown hairs, but also to razor bumps and razor burn. But if you really don’t have any shaving gel at hand, you can also use a little conditioner in an emergency – but this is not a permanent solution.
- Exfoliating regularly
You can easily prevent ingrown hairs caused by dead skin cells by exfoliating regularly. This removes the flakes of skin from the surface of the skin and your hair can grow out better.
Make sure that you do not use a coarse-grained peeling and do not use a peeling too often – this can irritate your skin severely. When buying, also make sure that the peeling is also suitable for sensitive parts of the body.
- Apply lotion regularly
After hair removal, you should always apply lotion to your skin. It is best to use a body lotion without perfumes – this will prevent unnecessary irritation of the skin. You should also apply lotion to your skin regularly between shaving or waxing appointments. This keeps it supple and makes it easier for hair to break through the surface of the skin.
- Treating the skin before hair removal
Before epilation or waxing, you can place a warm cloth on the affected area of skin – this opens the pores better and smaller hairs can be removed more easily. Incidentally, many women find that hair removal is also less painful this way.
Despite all these tips and tricks, ingrown hairs can still happen. To keep your ingrown hair from becoming a big problem, here are some dos and don’ts.
The dos and don’ts for ingrown hairs
Ingrown hairs usually go away on their own. However, there are a few things that can speed up the healing process:
- You can place a warm cloth over the area, or dampen it with warm water. This softens the skin and the hair may still be able to penetrate the skin’s surface.
- You can remove flakes of skin that are preventing the hair from growing out with a peeling – but you should proceed gently here to avoid injuries.
- Creams with salicylic acid can also help against ingrown hairs. Salicylic acid kills bacteria and also has an anti-inflammatory effect.
If you notice that your hair has broken through the skin surface, you can gently pull it out with sanitized tweezers that are not sharp. Don’t tear away! You should only expose the hair—pulling it out can cause ingrown hairs to start again. If the inflamed area is already suppurating, you can carefully disinfect the area.
You should definitely not do this:
- Under no circumstances should you press wildly around the area, as this can inflame it severely – and that is painful! Just think of all the bacteria that’s on your fingers. You should only work with tweezers when you can already see the tip of the hair – otherwise you will only damage your skin.
- Don’t shave the area where your ingrown hair is or was for a while. Shaving over an ingrown hair can cause injury. And after the hair has finally grown out, you should let your skin heal.
- Oily skin creams can clog your pores and slow down the healing process. (Non-greasy creams are perfectly fine for ingrown hairs)
If the ingrown hair doesn’t grow out on its own, or if the area becomes infected, you should see a doctor—preferably a dermatologist. Untreated inflamed ingrown hairs can lead to abscesses, boils and even blood poisoning.
Ingrown hairs in the intimate area: you have to pay attention to this now
Ingrown hairs can quickly become annoying and uncomfortable, especially in the intimate area. If left untreated, they can always cause you problems.
However, because it is not an option for many women to simply not shave their lower parts, you should definitely not wear tight pants after hair removal. You can also treat small inflammations in the genital area with an ointment – but ask the pharmacy which ointment does not irritate the mucous membranes.
However, with ingrown hairs in your private parts, it’s even more important that you see a doctor if you notice any pain. Since you probably can’t see the area very well yourself, you won’t be able to see when the inflammation gets bad. So don’t wait too long in this case, otherwise the little hair can become a big problem.