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Ingrown Hair: Prevention and Treatment
If you’re like the majority of men then you have most likely suffered from those irritating painful bumps and ingrown hairs at some point in time. Causing hours of scratching, picking and manual pronging with tweezers, a pin, or worst yet, your fingernails. The mission–to break the skin just enough so you can yank it out. The outcome–trauma to the already infected area causing more damage than good because of various types of harmful microscopic bacteria under your fingernails.
What Are Ingrown Hairs?
For those of you who are lucky enough not to know; ingrown hairs are hairs that curl back on themselves and borough back into the skin. Most often dead skin cells grow over the hair encasing it deeper into your face. Because the hair is obstructed, it’s forced to grow inwards causing more irritation as it deepens. The end result–a red painfully itchy bump on your face.
One of the main causes of ingrown hairs is not shaving properly. This creates a lot of dead skin cells caused by the skin being dry or damaged. This could because of skipping or dragging the blade across your face, razor cuts, shaving against the grain, temperature of the blade compared to your skin, using the wrong type of lather on your face.
The next cause is poor skincare. This would be the lack of cleansing oily skin with the right scrubs and soaps, or exfoliating and hydrating the skin when it’s dry and itchy. This results in bacteria or dead skin cells clogging the pore which blocks the hair follicle; trapping the hair in its place making it grow under and coil up creating the dreaded razor bump.
Here’s What You Can Do:
- Use a hot compress to warm up and soften your skin before shaving.
- If possible, avoid electric shavers as they cause the hair to move in all directions and pulling which may irritate your skin.
- Don’t shave against the grain; shave in the direction the hair is growing.
- Try and avoid multi blade razors; stick with single blade or safety razor. More the blade, more the damage. See The Wet Shave.
- Be patient; try not to apply a lot of pressure. If you have any rough missed spots, then go over the area lightly again. Also;
- Toss out all of your old used blades. Depending on how much you shave a blade should always be clean, covered and dry at all times after use. If there is moisture, there will be bacteria.
- Use the proper shaving brush with the right shaving soap, lather and razor to prevent skipping and dragging of the blade on your face.
- Use lotions or scrubs containing glycolic and salicylic acids these help clean your pores to open reducing growth of dead skin or bacteria clogging the pore. Exfoliating proves as the best form of a proactive defence.
- Avoid scratching when skin is dry and itchy.
- Let your hair grow before shaving–constant shaving tends to irritate skin. Over shaving causes the hair to curve because of a shortened growth cycle of the hair, so give time for the hair to straighten out.
- If there is a bump then use a cotton swab with alcohol on the affected area, helps remove layer of dead skin covering the hair. Avoid picking or scratching with your finger nails.
- Always sterilize your tweezers. You can use rubbing alcohol, or whiskey if that’s more accessible.
- Wait until swelling has decreased before attempting extraction, for the obvious painful reason.
- Immediately apply rubbing alcohol on area that has been extracted to clean it from any type of infection or clogging to allow the new hair to grow properly.
- Apply hydrocortisone if face is still irritated.
There are a slew of different types of shaving creams and facial scrubs that you can buy that do and don’t contain alcohol. If you would like to avoid the alcohol types of facial creams there are also many types of all-natural variations as well. Don’t be timid when taking extra care of your face. An awesome brand of men facial creams is a good company to check out is named Kiehl’s. They make some decent wallet sensitive products that you can implement into your daily shaving regime and help keep your face looking healthy, smooth, and well-groomed if that is the look you are going for. If none of the above works for you then you are pretty much limited to electrolysis, which can be good if your want rid of your God given right to grow a beard.