Ingrown hairs are an inevitable part of life for those who shave regularly. An ingrown hair is the result of hair that has been cut or shaved so short that the remaining hair recedes below the surface of the skin. As this hair continues to grow, it becomes lodged under the surface of the skin. The resulting condition may produce a swollen red bump of the surface of the skin that is usually painful to the touch.
There are numerous treatments for ingrown hairs, such as extraction with tweezers or the application of a topical solution, usually containing glycolic acid. Most ingrown hairs can be easily extracted with tweezers, although this treatment may result in possible infection. If extracting an ingrown hair with tweezers, it is a good idea to wash your hands first and sanitize the tweezers with rubbing alcohol in order to prevent the risk of infection.
Prevention of ingrown hairs can usually be achieved by making changes in one’s shaving routine. Those with curly hair are especially prone to ingrown hairs, as well as those with thick or coarse hair. If you have curly hair or coarse hair, the best way to avoid this condition is by shaving the hair in the direction in which the hair grows, rather than in the opposite direction. This, of course, will result in a shave that is not as close, but it will certainly prevent ingrown hairs since the cut hairs won’t recede below the surface of the skin.
There are also a variety of home remedies which can be used to treat ingrown hairs. One popular remedy is applying unscented stick deodorant to the shaved area. Unscented stick deodorant contains aluminum oxide, which absorbs excess moisture from the skin and helps to reduce redness and irritation caused by shaving. There are many store-bought products that are designed to treat ingrown hairs as well, such as Tend Skin. This liquid is applied to the skin after shaving and is quite effective at treating ingrown hairs and razor bumps.
Although ingrown hairs are a minor condition which rarely develops into a more dangerous condition, one should be careful not to damage the skin by squeezing or picking at the inflamed area. In most cases, an ingrown hair will go away on its own without any treatment within a few days.