Ingrown hairs, what are they?
An ingrown hair is a hair which grows underneath the skin and fails to produce a follicle that penetrates the skin. Ingrown hairs can form in two different ways.
- As hair is growing out of the follicle, it grows into the side wall of the follicle instead of penetrating through the skin surface.
- A layer of skin grows over the hair follicle opening resulting in the hair becoming trapped within the hair follicle.
It is common for ingrown hairs to develop after performing a hair removal process on a given area. The hair removal process causes inflammation and irritation of the skin.
What causes them to develop?
Ingrown hairs can develop for a number of reasons, the most common reasons for the development of ingrown hairs are:
- Hair Removal Methods – Waxing, shaving, epilating, plucking, hair removal creams, etc. can all increase the likeliness of ingrown hair development.
- Wearing tight clothing can sometimes increase the chances of ingrown hairs to develop.
- People with thick, coarse, and curly hair may be more prone to ingrown hair development.
What do they look like?
What are ingrown hairs and what do ingrown hairs look like? Ingrown hairs can often be mistaken for small spots on the skin. Occasionally, you may see the hair growing below the skin. If an ingrown hair becomes infected, a pustule can form which, if left untreated can lead to scarring or dark pigmentation of the skin.
Ingrown hairs can become inflamed, sore and irritated if not removed properly and they can lead to permanent scarring of the skin tissue.
Which areas of the body are they commonly found?
Ingrown hairs can develop anywhere on the body but are most commonly found developing in the following areas:
- Facial (especially surrounding the beard area)
- Lower legs
- Bikini linE
How can you prevent them?
The following recommendations may help reduce the likeliness of ingrown hairs forming.
- Use a moisturising solution that contains Salicylic Acid. The acid content can help gradually dissolve dead skin cells thus preventing overgrowth of the hair follicle.
- Exfoliating the skin can help to prevent ingrown hairs, however, over-exfoliating the skin can also contribute to ingrown hair development. Find the perfect balance.
- Apply a moisturiser daily to keep the skin well hydrated and help prevent ingrown hairs from forming.
- Avoid wearing any tight clothing on the affected area for long periods of time.
- Lightly exfoliate the area 3-4 times a week using a high quality exfoliating agent.
- Be gentle with your skin, lightly exfoliate affected areas but don’t overdo it.
Does laser hair removal help reduce ingrown hairs?
Laser hair removal is definitely the best solution to reducing the occurrence of ingrown hairs in problem areas. Especially if you have coarse or curly hair and you find you have recurring ingrown hairs.
Because laser hair removal destroys the hair follicles at the source, the hair itself doesn’t get a chance to become ingrown. Over time hairs become thinner and lighter decreasing the likelihood of this happening again.
Whilst Laser Hair Removal is not an overnight solution to this condition, over time it significantly reduces ingrown hairs and prevents them from forming in the first place.
How Would you normally treat them?
To treat an ingrown hair it is important that you follow recommended guidelines and procedures. Using the correct method will help avoid any permanent scarring, infections, and/or tissue damage to the skin surrounding the ingrown hair.
- It is important not to pull, pick, or tug on the skin. Doing so can cause additional irritation and possibly result in infection.
- Cleanse the area of skin affected with a cleansing lotion and ensure that your hands and tweezers are cleaned thoroughly before proceeding.
- Before proceeding, apply a hot flannel or towel to the skin for a few minutes to soften the top layer of skin before treatment.
- If using a pair tweezers to remove the hair, be sure to disinfect the tips of the tweezers first to help prevent the chances of causing an infection.
- Using a pair of tweezers, locate and remove the ingrown hair slowly from the follicle.
- After successfully removing the ingrown hair, apply an antiseptic lotion to the surrounding area to help prevent infection.
- If you are unable to remove the hair, using tweezers, it is recommended that you regularly exfoliate the area until the hair has reached the surface.
- if you are attempting to treat an ingrown hair on the face, avoid wearing makeup on the are for at least 24 hours.
You may experience a particular area of the body becoming continually affected by ingrown hairs. This can lead to long-term scarring and/or cause dark pigmentation of the skin.
Men’s Necks and Ingrown Hairs
Ingrown hairs often cause of great discomfort for many men who regularly shave. Shaving of the neck area can often become irritated and inflamed, often resulting in ingrown hairs. Laser hair removal is the best treatment proven to reduce the inflammation in this area. Laser hair removal quickly reduces the amount of hair on the front of the neck by destroying the hair follicles, the cause of ingrown hairs. With laser hair removal you can expect to see results fairly quickly, usually within the first two or three treatments.
We have a dedicated team of leading experts in laser hair removal and skin conditions. If you suffer from ingrown hairs and would like to discuss potential treatment, why not get in touch?