With the arrival of warmer temps, it’s time to break out your favorite shorts, dresses, and skirts. Of course, this means smooth legs are a must.
Ingrown hairs are a common skin condition, particularly in people whose hair has the tendency to curl back or grow sideways in the hair follicle. These tiny round bumps, some of which have a visible hair trapped inside them, often look like acne and can be both painful and unsightly.
To minimize the development of ingrown hairs:
- Shave in the direction of the hair growth. Avoid shaving over the same area multiple times or shaving the hair too close to the skin.
- When using a razor blade, make sure the skin is wet before shaving and use a moisturizing shaving cream, gel, or foam while shaving. Keeping skin moisturized and exfoliated not only makes it easier to shave, but it can help remove dead skin and hairs that may clog the hair follicles, as well as promote hair growth in the right direction.
- Over the counter products containing benzoyl peroxide, as well as exfoliating ingredients such as glycolic acid and salicylic acid, can help in the treatment and prevention of ingrown hairs.
- If possible, shave less often. Use of hair-removing creams or clippers instead of blade razors can sometimes help decrease the occurrence of ingrown hairs.
If you have an ingrown hair, coaxing hair out of the “bump” at home by poking or tweezing should be avoided. This can potentially introduce new bacteria into the follicle and worsen the problem.
Even though it’s a bit of an inconvenience, it’s best to wait until razor bumps have resolved before going back to shaving or engaging in further hair removal. Wearing pants for a few days is better than giving yourself a nasty infection!
If you have an ingrown hair that becomes infected, see a board-certified dermatologist. A dermatologist can also recommend a regimen of anti-bacterial washes and creams as well as topical retinoids that can help treat the area and prevent future ingrown hairs.