Ask any person who shaves or waxes regularly and watch how their faces morph into absolute terror at the bare mention of ingrown hairs. These pesky little red bumps is a nightmare for anybody who experiences it. They may appear harmless at first but if they do not dissolve away on their own or if left untreated, then slowly, it can turn sensitive and cause immense pain to the affected person.
Trust us when we say that we have not exaggerated even a single bit in the above lines. If you are someone who is desperate to find remedies for this condition or you are someone for whom this term is completely foreign, then continue reading the article as we share to you all the information regarding ingrown hair and how you can effectively get rid of them and also some bonus tips and tricks.
What is ingrown hair?
According to the proper definition, ingrown hair is a condition which occurs when the tip of the hair curls back or grows sideways into the skin causing discomfort and inflammation in the process. It is considered as a benign condition and is a very common skin problem that can occur to any age group but primarily affects teenagers and adults. Ingrown hair affects men and women alike and is common in the areas of coarse hair growth.
What are the causes of ingrown hair?
Knowing about the causes of ingrown hair will help you to avoid the circumstances in the future. Although the most common cause of ingrown body hair is improper shaving techniques, however, apart from that, some other causes have been reported too like:
- Hair cut close or just below the follicular opening that can cause the sharp tip of the hair to pierce back into the skin and cause ingrown hair.
- Friction caused on the surface of the skin due to tight clothing
- The building of dead skin debris which blocks the hair follicle opening in the process.
Symptoms of ingrown hair
Most of us confuse ingrown hair with other types of allergic reactions often, therefore, knowing about the signs of an ingrown hair will help you to distinguish between the different reactions and provide treatments accordingly.
Some of the common symptoms of ingrown hair are:
- Itchiness and tenderness of the affected region.
- Red or pink coloured bumps on the skin indicating inflammation of the area.
- Visibility of curled hair at the centre of the pustules.
How to remove ingrown hair?
Ingrown hair is considered to be medically harmless but according to dermatologists, it is cosmetically disfiguring. It can lead to conditions like scarring, skin discolouration, hyperpigmentation, skin infections and in some extreme cases can also lead to keloid scar formation. Therefore, ingrown hair should be removed in the first place to avoid worsening of the condition in the future.
Some of the most effective ways to get rid of ingrown hair are:
- Remove the ingrown hair
Most dermatologists prevent removing the ingrown hair, however, if you can see the tip of the hair outside your skin, you can try to pull the hair out by the following procedures and can make the damaged follicle heal.
- Wash the area gently with soap and warm water. You can also try to exfoliate the area if it is not irritated or sensitive.
- Apply warm compresses on the area so that the hair follicles can open up.
- Use a sterilized needle or tweezers and start to gently tease the rest of the hair out. When the entire hair has come above the surface, firmly place your tweezers at the base of the hair and pull it upwards.
- Immediately after pulling the hair, wash the area with warm soapy water and put a diluted disinfectant on it.
This process is pretty challenging and therefore generally not prescribed to the affected area.
Do it only if you are confident enough that you would be able to pull it out without causing any damage to the hair follicles and blood vessels. Also, we do advise you to prevent removing the ingrown hair in this process in sensitive areas like the pubic and armpits areas or the places where you cannot see properly.
- Home remedies
Most of the ingrown hairs dissolve on its own but sometimes it can be extremely tough to get rid of them. For such conditions, you can use the following home remedies which can not only reduce the inflammation and the pain but also prevents worsening of the condition
Coconut oil and sugar scrub-
Combine sugar and coconut oil in a bowl and add an essential oil of your choice. Mix them and apply it on your affected area. Keep it for a few minutes and then rinse it off with warm water.
Baking soda and oatmeal treatment-
Mix the baking soda and oatmeal together in a bowl along with water and make a thin paste. Apply it on the affected area and let it sit for ten minutes. After the stipulated time period, wash it off.
Tree tea oil and witch hazel-
Both of the ingredients are known worldwide for their antibacterial properties. Therefore applying them together will be very beneficial in providing relief against the inflammation caused due to ingrown hair. Warm water and add a few drops of tea tree oil to it. Apply on the area and you can use the witch hazel as a toner.
Apart from the above mentioned, you can also use black tea bags, aloe vera and oil-based serums to enhance the healing process of skin suffering from ingrown hair.
If none of the above home remedies works for you, trying topical creams designed for removing ingrown hair like creams rich in benzoyl peroxide, salicylic and glycolic acid and other treatments like laser hair therapy can be a great help for you.
Preventive measures for ingrown hair
The best way to get rid of ingrown hair is to avoid them. To prevent the formation of ingrown hairs, you can use the following tips and tricks.
- We know ingrown hair can be caused due to clogging of pores, therefore use exfoliate your skin often using a mild exfoliant so that building up of dead cells does not take place.
- Choose the right razor for your shaving purposes. Use one that is sharp but smooth and can glide over your skin easily.
- Shave in the direction of your hair growth and apply lubricating shaving creams and gels on the area before shaving to soften the skin and to make the process more smooth.
- You can use an electric razor and clippers or chemical hair removers to enhance your hair removal process. However, do consult your dermatologist before abiding by this measure.
Now there you go, everything you need to know about the ways to get rid of ingrown hairs. Most ingrown hairs dissolve on its own or can be easily treated with the help of the above-mentioned remedies, however, if you notice the inflamed spots worsen as the time progresses or frequent occurrence of ingrown hair, then consult your dermatologist immediately. With early diagnosis and proper medications and treatments, it can be easily treated and resolved.