Tips for preventing ingrown hairs

preventing-ingrown-hairs.1If you’ve been shaving your legs, underarms, or face for as long as you can remember, you’re probably already well aware that you either end up with soft, smooth skin or red, irritating bumps that normally signify the presence of ingrown hairs. Ingrown hairs usually occur as a result of dry shaving or clogged hair follicles, and can lead to infection when left untreated or treated improperly at home. The best way to prevent ingrown hairs is to learn more about how they are caused and take steps to reduce occurrences.

What are ingrown hairs?

Ingrown hairs look similar in appearance to pimples, and either grow as small, solid red bumps or develop into small, pus-filled lesions. After shaving, tweezing, or waxing, some of your hairs can curl up and grow back into your skin. Ingrown hairs may or may not be visible under your skin, and can feel itchy or painful. After ingrown hairs resolve themselves or after you resort to at-home treatment using your fingernails or tweezers, ingrown hairs can result in hyperpigmentation or permanent scarring.

The causes of ingrown hairs

  • Dry shaving: Shaving without the use of moisturizing soap, shaving cream, or water can result in rashes, razor bumps, and razor burns — all of which can contribute to the growth of ingrown hairs.
  • Curly hair: If you tend to have hairs that are thick, coarse, or curly, your hair could naturally grow back into your skin more frequently than those who have fine, soft, straight hair.
  • Pulling your skin tight when shaving: When you pull your skin tight while shaving, your newly cut hairs will tend to grow back into the skin before it’s even had a chance to grow out.
  • Clogged hair follicles: If you fail to wash yourself often and thoroughly, your hair follicles can become clogged with dead skin cells that prevent your hairs from growing upward and out of your skin. Bacteria can also become trapped beneath your skin and promote the development of ingrown hairs that become pus-filled lesions.

Preventing ingrown hairs

  • Exfoliate your skin regularly to prevent your hair follicles from becoming clogged and to naturally encourage the normal growth of newly-cut hairs.
  • Always use warm water and shaving cream when using a razor to avoid the consequences associated with dry shaving.
  • Wear natural, loose-fitting clothing after shaving. Putting on tight clothing immediately after shaving can cause friction and lead to irritation — promoting the occurrence of ingrown hairs.
  • Keep your razor clean at all times. Using a dirty razor could lead to bacteria buildup, as well as cause infection, irritation, and ingrown hairs. Store your razor in a cool, dry area outside of your shower and replace as often as needed before they become dull.

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