Let's just say it like it is: Ingrown hairs are the worst. And try as we might, the annoying, painful, and rather unattractive problem are far too common of an occurrence. Between shaving, waxing, and other various forms of hair removal, the opportunity for ingrown hairs to keep creeping up are endless. To stop these nasty buggers in their tracks, we chatted with Dr. S. Manjula Jegasothy of the Miami Skin Institute for her expert tips.
What causes them: According to Dr. Jegasothy, ingrown hairs are caused by shaved short hair re-growing through the skin, curling back around, and growing back into the hair follicles from which they came, thus causing the tiny bum to appear!
What to do:
"If your hair is straight, then moisturizing the hair extremely well before shaving with a product such as Dr. Carver's Pillowy Shave Lather, will hydrate the hair shaft and ensure a smooth, even shave of the hair shaft, preventing uneven ends to curl inwards," she says.
Waxing can't guarantee you won't ever see an ingrown hair again, but it will definitely keep your chances to a minimum. If you completely remove the hair shaft at the "root" such as with waxing, the new hair will re-grow with a tapered end, says Dr. Jegasothy. The new hair is much less likely to curl inward and cause a bump!
4. Treat it
If you do manage to find yourself facing an ingrown hair, Dr. Jegasothy says the best method of treatment is to exfoliate the skin around the follicle with a salicylic acid wash such as Garnier Clean + Invigorating Daily Scrub ($5.99, Target) and apply an acne medicine to the area to reduce inflammation.
5. See a pro
In the very unlikely case your ingrown hair becomes a bigger issue, don't be afraid to seek a professional opinion. If there are more than five to ten ingrown hairs in a given body area, if they are swollen or painful, are more than half a quarter inch, are pussy, or have a line of redness originating at the source, see your dermatologist for some antibiotics!
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