They can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes! Ingrown hairs can tempt even the most disciplined of us to pick, when we know its naughty! (As fun as if might be at the time it will make matters worse!)
Whether you get the odd one of really suffer with them… most of us have experienced them. And as with many skin concerns, prevention is key.
Ingrown hairs can appear on the skin for a number of reasons…
- When hair is cut, and the hair grows back in at an improper angle – The process of cutting the end of the hair shaft through shaving can force hair back into its follicle, or even cause hair to double over on itself, re-entering the same follicle and growing inward instead of exiting the surface. The hair shaft can also grow and enter another follicle.
- When the hair is removed, through waxing or tweezing – The follicle opening remains hair free until the new hair begins to grow through. In the meantime the follicle can become blocked with dead skin, and ingredients such as mineral oil found in some products.
- Very dry skin, deodorants and even tight clothing can all lead to blocked follicles meaning the hair is not able to get through the top of the follicle as normal.
The body recognises this ingrown hair as a foreign body (similar to a splinter), and triggers an inflammatory response that includes redness, itchiness and a raised area that resembles a pimple that can fill with puss. Occasionally it is appropriate to extract an ingrown hair using a hygienic and specific technique best left to us professionals. (Genuinely a real perk of the job!) But NEVER when they appear inflamed.
To help prevent ingrown hairs, start by exfoliating with physical and chemical exfoliants on a regular basis. A good scrub before your hair removal will ensure that the result is as smooth as possible. As your re-growth comes through we recommend exfoliation 2-3 times a week depending on the type of exfoliant you are using.
Physical exfoliants help remove dulling skin cells, prep the skin’s surface, and lift hairs. Chemical exfoliants including lactic acid and salicylic acid will help remove dead skin cells, lift ingrown hairs above the skin line, and soften and smooth the skin.
Some of our favourites are…
- Lycon Ingrown-X-It Solution – amazing for waxed areas such as legs, bikini line and underarms, it exfoliates, decongests and helps minimise the appearance and discomfort of ingrown hairs. At the same time, it soothes angry looking red spots and moisturises. With salicylic acid, lactic acid, allantoin and Arnica. We often use this in our Lycon waxing treatments.
- Dermalogica Thermafoliant Body Scrub – Dual action body scrub containing lactic acid, grapefruit peel and papain revitalises and hydrates the skin. (We love this as a nourishing hand scrub too!)
- Dermalogica Body Hydrating Cream – A real salon favourite! Cane sugar, hydroxy acids and indulgent essential oils of aromatic orange, French lavender and Indonesian patchouli keeps your skin smooth, soft and smelling fabulous! It absorbs easily for immediate, glowing hydration.
The key is regular exfoliation and moisturising using high quality products. When choosing to have waxing services we cannot recommend Lycon highly enough. With top notch ingredients and advanced application and removal methods there is no better waxing system to tackle unwanted hair growth. Click here for a reminder of our intimate waxing options.
Happy exfoliating! (And please… no picking… we can tell when you have!)
Helen & Amy