Ingrown hairs occur when hairs curl around and grow back into your skin instead of rising up from it or when the hair follicles are clogged so the hairs are forced to grow sideways under the skin instead of up and out. Although ingrown hairs are more common amongst those that have thick, curly hair, nearly everyone will have one at some point. If you shave, wax or pluck regularly, you’re more prone to getting ingrown hairs too as these methods of hair removal leave the tip of your hair with a pointed edge, which is more likely to grow back inward.
Ingrown hairs can be irritating as they can lead to redness, itchiness, darkening of the skin and can become raised and infected. There are many way of treating and removing ingrown hairs but there are also many things that you can do to prevent them even occurring in the first place. We’ve listed below 4 simple and effective tips on how to prevent ingrown hairs so that hopefully they can be a thing of the past!
Every day or at least every other day exfoliate the area that is prone to getting ingrown hairs, whether it’s your legs, underarms or even the bikini area. This will get rid of any dead skin cells that are trapped in your hair follicles and will help prevent ingrown hairs from occurring. It will also help tease out any existing ingrown hairs. You can use an exfoliating scrub (store-bought or homemade), exfoliating body buffer or better still you could dry brush.
Shaving Tips to Prevent Ingrown Hairs
- Always use a sharp razor as a dull one can cause chafing and can cut the hair at coarse angles or tug the hair out completely, resulting in ingrown hairs.
- Using an electric razor is less likely to cause ingrown hairs as it has a protective foil which creates a barrier between your skin and the blade which makes it difficult to cut the hair under the follicle which is what can lead to ingrown hairs.
- If you don’t use an electric shaver, choose one with a single blade or a three-blade razor over ones that have more blades as they tend to cause less irritation and are less likely to cut hair down to just below the surface of the skin which can lead to ingrown hairs.
- Wet your skin and the hairs before shaving and use a moisturizing shaving cream or gel (check out our shaving cream recommendations) as this will help to prevent ingrown hairs as it allows the razor to glide smoothly over the skin without cutting too close under the skin.
- Shave in the direction of hair growth as shaving against it can give too close a shave which means you’re more likely to get ingrown hairs as the hairs will end up cut just below the surface of the skin and may grow inwards instead of outwards.
- Rinse the blades of your razor after each stroke as more hair and dead skin cells caught between the blades means that you’re more likely to cut yourself and can clog up hair follicles therefore leading to ingrown hairs.
- Avoid using too many strokes with the razor and pressing down on the blade with too much pressure as this can lead to skin irritation and can cut the hair below the skin.
Use a moisturizer that contains glycolic acid or salicylic acid
Glycolic acid and salicylic acid both get rid of dead skin cells and keeps hair follicles unclogged. Applying a moisturizer daily that contains either of these ingredients will therefore help to prevent ingrown hairs from developing. Moisturizers will also soften the skin making it less likely for hairs to be blocked by any hardened, dead skin cells that force them to grow sideways.
Use Other Methods of Hair Removal Instead of Shaving, Waxing or Plucking
Using a depilatory cream breaks down the proteins in hair so that the hair becomes weak enough to fall loose from it’s follicle. This leaves the hair with a rounded tip therefore making it easier to grow back correctly. Depilatories also dissolve dead skin cells which might otherwise clog up hair follicles, therefore there is less chance of getting ingrown hairs.
Other methods of hair removal such as laser, electrolysis and IPL, although they can be expensive and time-consuming, they actually kill the hair follicles so the hairs won’t grow back. No hairs means no ingrown hairs!
We hope that you’ve found these tips on how to prevent ingrown hairs useful, please feel free to leave a comment below to let us know what has worked best for you or if you’d like to share any of your own tips!