Ingrown Hairs: Who, What, Where, Why and How?
Pick. Pick. Pick.
That’s the sound of an ingrown hair being fidgeted with. Inflammation from ingrown hairs makes the skin irritation almost unbearable. They tend to start as a slow, mildly annoying itch. Ingrown hairs can go away on their own, sometimes, with no treatment necessary. More often, they don’t, and that mild itch turns into major discomfort! So what is a person to do?
Everyone will get an ingrown hair at least once in their lifetime.
From teen years on, anybody is susceptible to getting one. Improper hair removal techniques or a need for exfoliation often causes an ingrown hair, but, they can also be caused by something as benign as wearing tight synthetic clothing. Typically, a person with thick, coarse and/or curly hair has an increased risk of getting an ingrown hair.
There are 2 types of ingrown hairs.
Debris, such as dead skin cells, can cause a hair to never leave the follicle and become stuck in it. This often lead to trans follicular penetration. Once this happens, the sharp hair tip (usually from a broken hair, or shaving too closely) punctures the follicle wall and tries to grow in at an unnatural angle. Extrafollicular penetration occurs when hairs manage to exit the shaft only to curl back around and re-penetrate the skin. Both of these can lead to intense irritation and sometimes even infection.
Ingrown hairs can happen on almost any part of the body!
While any part of the body that has a hair shaft can get an ingrown hair, they are most common in the bikini, underarms, and men’s faces. Oftentimes, hair in these areas is thick and coarse. Ingrown hairs also commonly appear on the upper thigh. This is believed to be caused by friction from clothing.
The good news about ingrown hair!
Ingrown hairs don’t have to be a mainstay in your life. Many people – including AP brand ambassador, Marie Digby- believed that ingrown hairs were just par-the-course. But, that is simply not true! There are steps you can take to reduce and alleviate ingrown hairs altogether.
3 Steps for skin free of ingrown hair!
Firstly, ensure your hair removal technique is above reproach. Sugaring removes the hair from the root, as well as clears any debris that might still be in the hair shaft. If you shave, ensure to shave in the direction of the hair growth, with a fresh razor ensuring not to drag the skin. Waxing and tweezing are not recommended due to the high instance of hair breakage. If you do wax or tweeze, ensure to follow strict at-home protocol.
Secondly, make sure you follow a Full Circle™ methodology at home. Soften skin cells, exfoliate with a gentle, non-comedogenic exfoliant, purify with a treatment mask and then moisturize. Following these steps at home will give your follicle the best opportunity to stay clear of impurities, thus allowing the hair to travel freely through the hair shaft.
Thirdly, keep irritation to a minimum. If you are experiencing ingrown hairs, try to keep clothing from rubbing on the skin in that area in an effort to reduce friction. Wear breathable cotton garments whenever possible. Delicate areas like the bikini can suffer irritation from manual exfoliation, so make sure to scrub gently, or do a salt compress instead.
And, above all, DON’T PICK!!! Picking is a surefire way to make a simple ingrown hair into an infection or worse. If you seem to get ingrown hairs at an extremely high rate regardless of the steps taken to prevent them, be sure to see your dermatologist for further treatment.
As always, stay smooth, everyone!
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