Ingrown Hair Treatment and Prevention
Don’t you just hate it when an ingrown hair appears? If you’ve ever shaved or waxed, you’ll know the pain of getting an ingrown hair. They can be uncomfortable, especially when covered by friction-causing fabric, and are irritating for the individual affected.
What is an ingrown hair?
Ingrown hairs are hairs that have grown back into the skin, producing raised red spots that can become infected if not treated properly. The chance of infection is increased if the inflamed area is scratched. They tend to appear in places where shaving is common practice, for example, the armpits, legs, pubic areas, and the beard areas. If bacteria enter the hair follicle, then pus can form, creating the appearance of a pimple in that area.
Most of the time they will go away on their own, but they can become itchy and inflamed in some instances. They occur because the hair follicle has become filled up with a build-up of dead skin cells, forcing the hair to grow sideways and therefore back into the follicle.
Ingrown hair prevention
One of the best ways to prevent ingrown hairs from appearing is by eliminating the need for shaving. This is also one of the most effective treatments for when you have a build-up of spots or ingrown hairs in the areas that you shave regularly. Not shaving means that the area has a chance to recover. However, if you need to shave, there are some ways that can help you to avoid ingrown hair.
Ingrown hair prevention includes making sure to use both warm water and a shaving gel when shaving the area, shaving in the direction of hair growth, and rinsing the razor you are using after every stroke. Another way to prevent any ingrown hairs is to use a different method of hair removal. For instance, laser hair removal helps to get rid of unwanted hair easily without causing any ingrown hairs and will last a lot longer than if you were to shave.
Ingrown hair treatment
Most of the time you won’t need to do anything to treat an ingrown hair, they will usually clear up after a few days, especially if you stop shaving that area for that period of time. However, there are methods for ingrown hair removal and treatment.
You can apply a warm compress to the affected area in order to reduce swelling and inflammation, as well as using a toothbrush in circular motions over the ingrown hair to gently exfoliate and get rid of any dead skin cells.
Another method is to remove the ingrown hair by using tweezers that have been sterilized, once the hair has emerged above the skin. Make sure not to break the skin though, as that could cause an infection. Once you have done this, you can apply creams such as a steroid cream in order to reduce the inflammation and swelling in that area. Or you can use a retinoid cream for a similar purpose. However, if you decide to use retinoid based creams, make sure to see your doctor, and stay clear of them if you are pregnant or trying to conceive.
One of the natural remedies for the redness is tea tree oil. Make sure to dilute it with water, and apply it to the affected area with a cotton pad. It will help to reduce the swelling, and can even kill any bacteria that may be present.
What to do if it becomes infected?
If it has become infected, whether through introducing bacteria through scratching or through contact with dirty clothes, the ingrown hair bumps will be swollen, sore and filled with pus. Make sure to see your doctor, who can prescribe you an antibiotic ointment or wash for use on that area. He may also prescribe you oral antibiotics if the infection is very bad. Both of these, if taken their full course, will help to reduce inflammation and return the hair follicle to normal.
There is no need to suffer in silence, especially if you happen to get an ingrown hair in the pubic area. Make sure to follow the tips above the next time you get one and seek medical help if needed.
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