I hope you’re enjoying this skin series! In this installment, we’re going to explore some other products that can cause us to be worried about our skin: ingrown hairs, skin bumps and rough skin. If you’ve experienced either or both ingrown hairs and bumpy skin, you can be comforted by three facts – they can be prevented, they can be treated, and often you can handle both with the same treatment and prevention. That means no more (or at least a lot fewer) ingrown hairs and bumpy skin for you.
What is ingrown hair?
Basically speaking, it is a hair that grows underneath the skin only. A quick Internet search can yield somewhat gross, but somehow satisfying videos of ingrown hairs being pulled out from under the skin that can at times be several inches long – all secretly thriving beneath the surface of our skin!
How and why does it happen?
Ingrown hairs occur most often in areas where hair is removed, whether that is from waxing or shaving. People with thick or curly hair seem to experience them more frequently than those with fine, thin hair. Sometimes when the hair is shortened from shaving or waxing and then begins growing back, the skin above it closes, and the hair is trapped beneath it. It continues to grow until it either is manually removed or it eventually disappears or comes out on its own.
How do we treat them?
If you find an ingrown hair, try to avoid squeezing it or picking at it, as that could cause it to become infected. Exfoliating and moisturizing the area will help make it easier for the hair to come out on its own, but if you must remove them, do so gently with clean hands and sanitized tweezers. Of course, clean the area afterward. Another tip is to not pluck the hair until the skin has healed, because if you do, you could potentially be setting yourself up for yet another ingrown hair. Pulling the hair out from inside the skin, but leaving it attached to your body until the skin heals decreases the likelihood of the same exact problem in the same exact spot over and over.
How can we prevent ingrown hairs?
One of the best ways to avoid ingrown hairs is by being sure to exfoliate the areas where we practice hair removal. Whether using a physical or chemical exfoliant (retinoids, salicylic or glycolic acid), decreasing the building up of dead skin cells in and around the hair follicles helps increase the chances that the hair will make it through to the surface of the skin, as there will be less resistance from the thick layers of dead skin. Moisturizing to keep skin soft also helps a lot! These are the same treatments that help diminish rough, bumpy skin (like on the backs of your arms), so while you’re treating the areas prone to ingrown hairs, you can also take care of these problem spots.
My favorite products for this:
If you suffer from these issues, worry not – I have recommendations for you! “Fur” is a beauty brand that focuses entirely in this department, and creates products that are high-quality and safe for all areas, including intimate regions. I recommend their Ingrown Concentrate and their Stubble Cream. For the physical exfoliation, try a Korean exfoliating glove from Amazon to use daily in the shower, or the C & the Moon Malibu Made Body Scrub, which is natural, food-grade, with brown sugar and vanilla scents. To keep your skin moisturized and soft without clogging your pores, try the Josie Maran Whipped Argan Oil for the body.
While ingrown hairs can be ugly, painful and annoying, it’s great news that they are treatable and preventable, and even better that the steps we take to avoid them have extra benefits, like softer, smoother skin. It’s definitely worth the investment of time and money for great products to help keep our skin healthier and to avoid these issues. Stay tuned for more of my tips and products on skincare!