Ingrown Hairs from Shaving

One of the major cons of shaving is the risk of in-growing hairs. While they can be avoided with healthy shaving practices, they are a concern for many. Read on and find your questions on shaving and ingrown hairs answered.

What are ingrown hairs?

Ingrown hairs appear as hair grows back in an abnormal fashion, typically by curling or growing into the skin. In actual fact it’s not just shaving which runs the risk of in-growth, waxing can also cause the condition, and in fact ingrown hairs can appear anywhere on the body, they’re just more common on waxed or shaved areas. Simply put, any treatment which breaks off your hair leaving a sharpened tip can cause in-growth.

Ingrown hairs can cause an infection of the hair follicle, a subcutaneous structure which forms the root of a hair and from which said hair grows. Usually as the hair curls back into the skin it causes an inflammatory response which can be painful, this can be associated with a rash, itching, a stubborn hair that won’t be removed despite shaving, and a subcutaneous infection which can appear like a spot.

Can I get rid of my ingrown hairs?

Ingrown hairs are generally quite easy to get rid of and, once removed, your skin does what it does best and repairs itself. You can remove the offending hair with tweezers, but after and before doing so you should wash the area to minimise the risk of infection. Tweezing can be quite painful though, so prevention, as it is said, is probably better than the cure.

Other treatments include exfoliation, although the effectiveness can be limited if the hair is quite well embedded into your skin. Some creams can treat ingrown hairs, these can contain alcohol (although it is better to use alcohol free ones as alcohol dehydrates the skin), and salicylic solutions which some claim are particularly effective.

Salicylic acid is an active ingredient in dermatological treatments that very effectively clears pores (which when obstructed become infected) while also exfoliating and moisturising the skin around it. Using an aftershave or toner with salicylic acid.

How can I avoid ingrown hairs?

People with curly hair tend to be the most vulnerable to ingrown hairs, however even they can benefit from some simple shaving tips that will keep your skin free of the ingrown nuisance:

  • Wash your skin before shaving, and if you can, wash with an exfoliating agent, both of these preparations ready your skin for a shave and also minimise the chance of infection. Use warm water, the warmth and moisture also soften your hair for a smoother and less jagged shave. Remember that smoothening your shave is the best way to avoid the sharp tipped hairs that grow in.
  • Using an electric razor can be a great preventative as well. The blades of an electric razor cut as opposed to scrape at hairs, meaning that again, you’re less likely to end up with jagged hairs.
  • Always shave in the same direction and always with the grain, meaning in the direction of hair growth.
  • Wash after shaving and apply a light aftershave. Use nothing too heavy or oily that would obstruct the hair follicle. Anything with salicylic acid, as mentioned a bit earlier in this article, is a great prophylactic method.

If you have a serious and persistent problem with ingrown hairs, then you should consider alternative forms of hair removal like laser or IPL treatment.

« Does Hair Grow Faster after Shaving? Prickly Hairs from Shaving »

Guide to Shaving Unwanted Hair