How to treat and prevent ingrown hairs

Do you suffer from ingrown hairs? Symptoms of ingrown hairs can vary from slightly itchy skin to a bump, which is often red or inflamed. Sometimes you may even see the hair follicle under the surface. Here we describe ways to prevent ingrown hairs from appearing and and treat any ingrowing hairs that may already exist.

How to prevent ingrown hairs

As the cliché goes, prevention is the best cure. Ingrown hairs can be tricky to get rid of but they are relatively easy to prevent. Follow these tips to minimise the appearance of ingrown hairs:

  • Before you shave, cleanse your face thoroughly with an anti-bacterial face wash
  • Try to shave only in the direction of hair growth. Shaving against the grain can cause hairs to develop blunt ends that don't penetrate the surface of the skin and become ingrown.
  • If you have problems with ingrown hairs, use a single blade razor. The closer you shave, the more likely you are to develop ingrown hairs.
  • Moisturise after shaving - this will help to soften hairs and minimise the risk of them becoming ingrown.
  • Exfoliate regularly. This will remove any dead skin and free hairs that are trapped just beneath the surface of the skin.
  • Get into a good routine of cleansing and moisturising your skin twice daily.

How to treat ingrown hairs

Think of ingrown hairs like spots - squeezing them can be a quick fix but it can also leave your skin irritated or even scarred.

If you persistently suffer from ingrown hairs, see a dermatologist for advice.

To remove ingrown hairs yourself, thoroughly cleanse your skin and disinfect a pair of tweezers. With two tissue-covered fingers, gently squeeze the ingrown hair like you would a spot. You should never squeeze hard enough to leave a mark on the skin.

If the hair or pus do not come out with gentle squeezing, continue to cleanse, exfoliate and moisturise the area regularly until the hair penetrates the surface or can be removed.

If pus comes out, continue to squeeze gently - the hair will usually follow. Sometimes the hair will come out on its own with gentle squeezing. In either case, remove the hair will tweezers and clean the follicle with an antibacterial wash.

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