Ingrown hairs are a common nuisance after waxing, depilation, epilation, or even shaving. But there are several things you can do to get rid of them, and over time prevent more ingrown hairs.
Eliminating Ingrown Hairs from Waxing
When you remove hair by methods that pull out the root, the hair has to grow back from the very base of the hair follicle, deep in the skin. Curly hair, or coarse hair like that on the bikini line can easily get snagged inside the follicle and not make it cleanly out. Clogged pores can also prevent the new hair from making a smooth trip through the hair shaft. The result can be whiteheads or acne-like bumps that can be painful or get infected.
Using Creams For Skin Relief
First thing to do if you have ingrown hairs is apply an anti-inflammatory product like an over-the-counter cream containing an aspirin derivative. This will help reduce pain and discomfort and reduce swelling. Before using this type of cream, it’s a good idea to apply a warm washcloth to the area for about 10 minutes. This will open up pores and help the cream penetrate better, as well as help bring any pustules to a head. Make sure you follow the directions and don’t use this type of cream any more than is recommended.
If this type of cream isn’t handy, the next best thing is an acne medication containing salicylic acid. Ideally it should have between one and two percent salicylic acid. Again follow directions on the packaging. Salicylic acid is the active ingredient in aspirin, and has been used to treat acne for years. Ingrown hairs are just a form of acne, caused by mechanical clogging of pores as opposed to pores becoming clogged by oil or dirt.
In a pinch, you can even make your own anti-inflammatory lotion by mixing one or two crushed aspirin in a quarter cup of water. Use some glycerin or lotion to thicken this and make it a easier to rub in, if desired. Apply twice a day until bumps clear up.
Another option is a to use an over-the-counter cortisone cream on ingrown hairs. This cream is best used for cases of ingrown hairs that don’t respond to other types of treatment. Used frequently the medicine in cortisone cream can actually make your skin thinner, which is called steroid atrophy. This doesn’t happen right away; only after a lot of use. But cortisone is a medicine with side effects, so don’t reach for the cortisone cream for every single ingrown hair, only for stubborn cases.
Antibacterial creams can be helpful in cases where ingrown hairs look infected. If you think an infection is severe or getting worse, check with your doctor, who can prescribe an antibiotic if needed. Your doctor may also be able to help deal with chronic or recurring cases of ingrown hairs.
Exfoliate The Area
Gently exfoliating the area with ingrown hairs will help them heal faster as well as prevent problems in the future. Use a loofah or an exfoliating scrub made for acne twice a day. Washing with an acne preventing soap or cleanser is also a good idea. These cleansers help remove natural skin oils that clog pores and trap hairs as they are growing out. Exfoliation will remove dead skin cells that also can clog pores and get tangled up in skin as it grows out.
It’s a good idea to start exfoliating the area you want to wax, several days to a week before you do the actual hair removal. Once you have bumps and irritation from ingrown hair, exfoliation will help, but must be done very gently.
Sometimes an ingrown hair grows fully out of the hair shaft and then curves back down and grows into the skin again. In these cases it’s safe to use a sterilized needle through the loop of the hair and pull it out. Be careful not to puncture the skin, the last thing you want to do is introduce bacterial to the area. Be careful about picking or scratching ingrown hairs, because this can cause scarring, hyperpigmentation, or infection. If you would like the help of a professional to wax or remove hairs from your body with sugaring, please feel free to contact us today for an appointment.