Ingrown hairs are also called razor bumps. They are most common in African American males. They result when shaved hair gets trapped inside of the hair follicle or curves around and grows back into the skin. They are painful for men, can cause scarring, redness and swelling.
Ingrown hairs are a fairly common problem, caused by chronic irritation to the hair shaft and follicle opening. Sometimes it is a result of frequent and close shaving or friction from tight clothing or belts. People with curly hair tend to have more ingrown hairs than those who have straight hair. This can be an issue for both men and women who shave pubic hair or for men who have curly hair on their faces. Here are a couple of tips to help prevent ingrown hairs and treat them when they occur.
1. If an ingrown hair develops along the bikini line hold a hot compress against it for 10 minutes three times a day to soften the skin and help the hair work its way out. Remember to use loosefitting underwear and clothing to avoid friction. Don’t exfoliate or wax in the area until an ingrown hair has been completely healed.
2. Prepare the skin and hair prior to shaving with warm or hot water and a gentle scrub to remove dead skin for a cleaner shave.
3. Take a hot shower first, prior to shaving, so that your pores open and the hair stands out as opposed to lying against the skin.
4. Use a sharp blade. Razor blades should be exchanged every two to five shaves depending upon how prone you are to ingrown hairs. If your hair is curly and you are at high risk for developing ingrown hairs exchange your razor every two to three shaves.
5. Use gentle pressure because too much pressure will remove excess surface skin and set your face up for an ingrown hair. Shave with a grain of the hair to cause less irritation and avoid shaving over the same area too many times because each stroke removes skin cells.
6. Do not hold the skin when shaving to avoid getting the razor to close. Use a single blade razor which will cut the hair at the level of the skin and not below.
7. When you finish use moisturizer to keep the skin smooth and soft as well as decrease the irritation caused by shaving.
8. Remember to exfoliate the skin using a gentle face scrub with glycolic or salicylic acid. You might also use a soft bristle brush and liquid cleanser on the beard to dislodge the tips of ingrown hairs, eliminate dead skin and clear the follicles.
9. If you have an ingrown hair carefully lift out the tip using tweezers being careful not to pluck the hair out. Plucking the hair will only make the hair re-grow deeper into the skin creating a greater risk for an ingrown hair.
10. Before using a moisturizer try using products containing allantoin or witch hazel to help reduce redness and swelling and reduce the risk of an ingrown hair.