Every question you've ever had about ingrown hairs, answered
Can't get to the salon for your regular wax?
If lockdown has prompted you to take hair removal into your own hands for the first time since you were a teenager, you might be finding it tricky.
Ingrown hairs, especially in the bikini area, are a dose. Here's everything you need to know about them and how to deal with them.
What are ingrown hairs?
This is a hair that's been removed (shaved, plucked, waxed etc.) and grows back into the skin, causing inflammation. It usually looks like a small round bump on the skin or a blister-like pustule. The skin around it might be discoloured and it may also feel itchy or sore.
Why do I get them?
People with thick or curly hair tend to be more prone to them than others. It can also happen where a hair has been broken off roughly and the tip of the hair is uneven. Other reasons for getting ingrown hair can include dry-shaving or stretching your skin when you remove hair.
Is it bad to pick at an ingrown hair?
In most cases, yes. You could cause the hair to eventually become ingrown again or you might expose the area to bacteria, increasing chances of infection. There's also a risk that you'll end up with a permanent mark or scarring.
Will it go away on its own?
Probably. Most of them time, the hair will clear itself up and won't need any treatment.
Can I keep shaving the area?
Best not to. As annoying as this might be, going back in with the razor will just anger the skin and potentially do more damage.
How can I treat it?
Massage the area with a warm compress to help release the hair through the skin. If you suffer with persistent, sore ingrown hairs, your doctor can prescribe steroids or retinoids that you apply topically or an oral antibiotic.
How do I avoid getting ingrown hairs in the first place?
Regular exfoliating and moisturising will help keep skin happy, reducing your chance of getting ingrown hairs. Take care when you're shaving too - use sharp, new razors and shaving gel, shave in the direction the hair is growing rather than against the grain and soothe your skin after hair removal with a cool, wet facecloth and some balm or moisturiser.