A woman shaving her legs while inside a bathtub

How to Prevent Ingrown Hairs

Tiny, swollen bumps, itchiness, and hyperpigmentation are words often associated with ingrown hair. This is a common occurrence for people who use hair removal methods like tweezing, shaving, and waxing. 

As practical as they may be, one misstep from these techniques can make small, painful bumps appear on your skin.

If this is a problem you encounter often, we’re here to help you find an effective solution. In this article, we’ll walk you through the causes of ingrown hairs and the best ways to prevent them. 

What Is Ingrown Hair?

Ingrown hairs are the result of a hair strand that grows and curves back into the skin after it’s been removed. This usually occurs after shaving, tweezing, or waxing. In terms of appearance, these look like small, raised, discoloured spots on your skin. 

When they start to appear on your body, you might experience any or all of the following symptoms:

  • Itchy skin 
  • Pain 
  • Small bumps filled with pus
  • Hair strands in the shape of a loop

What Causes Ingrown Hair?

While we don’t have control over it, the direction of our hair growth plays a part in having ingrown hair. While most hair follicles are straight, some may be bent or curled. The latter causes the hair strands to grow twisted to re-enter your skin.

However, hair removal methods are often the main culprit. Constant shaving or tweezing can make your hair strands thick, coarse, and curly. This, in turn, causes your hair to curl back into the skin. Your body will then see this as a foreign object and begin attacking it. 

At this point, you may experience itchiness and swelling around the affected area. If left unchecked, ingrown hairs might result in painful infections.

A man shaves his beard.

7 Effective Ways to Prevent Ingrown Hairs

If you want to keep your skin soft and smooth, then taking extra precautions are your best bet. Here is a list of practical ways on how to prevent ingrown hairs from forming on your face and on your body:

1. Avoid Removing Hair From Affected Areas

When ingrown hairs start to form, it’s best not to remove the hair in that area. Wait for the any wounds to fully heal before using any hair removal method again. Otherwise, the affected area might get more irritated, and lead to scarring or an infection. 

2. Exfoliate Your Skin

Does exfoliating prevent ingrown hairs? Yes, it does! Skin exfoliation is essential since it prevents hair follicles from clogging your skin together with dead skin cells. If not done often, this will force the hair strands to grow sideways and form ingrown hairs. 

3. Use a Lubricating Gel Before Shaving

Before you shave, you should use lubricants such as shaving cream or gel to soften your hair strands. By using these products, you avoid hair strands that have sharp edges and less prone to grow back into your skin.

4. Shave in the Direction of Your Hair Growth

Avoid shaving in the opposite direction of your hair strands. Continuing to do so increases your risk of having razor bumps and skin irritation. From now on, practice shaving in one direction.

Study your hair growth and angle your razor from its starting point. Doing this can prevent ingrown hair development.

5. Always Use Sharp Blades

Using dull razor blades causes you shave your hair multiple times and increases your risk of cutting yourself and getting an infection.

The solution here is to dispose of dull blades and replace them with sharper ones after several uses. Doing so reduces both your shaving time and the chances of ingrown hair from forming.

6. Consider Using Depilatory Creams

If you want to ditch painful hair removal methods, try using depilatory creams! These are easy to use since you only need to cover your hair with a thick layer of cream. Then, you let it sit there for a couple of minutes to weaken the hair shaft. When you scrape the cream off, your hair strands will also follow.

What’s good about depilatory creams is that they don’t cause ingrown hair. However, it’s the ingredients you should watch out for as some can cause irritation and allergic reactions. That is why you should always do a patch test before applying a massive amount of product.

A technician holds a hair removal laser on top of a client’s arm

7. Choose Laser Hair Removal

The best way to stop ingrown hair is through laser hair removal. This process uses a laser to penetrate and destroy the hair follicle. As a result, the hair stops growing and lessens the chances of ingrown hair development.

What’s even better is that this is the least painful hair removal method, and continuous treatment often stops hair growth permanently.

Prevent Ingrown Hair From Forming at Harmony Med Spa

Laser hair removal has a lot of benefits: no more frequent trips to waxing salons, hoarding of razor blades, or ingrown hair! The best part is that you can get permanent bare skin after a couple of sessions. 

At Harmony Med Spa, we offer a comprehensive list of laser hair removal services. Book an appointment now to get smooth and ingrown hair-free skin!