Ingrown hairs occur after shaving, when the hair curls back and grows into the skin. These red raised bumps look like pimples, often itchy and uncomfortable, and can become infected. Ingrowns are frustrating at best and inflammatory at worst. In this guide we’ll show you what products to use in treating and preventing ingrown hairs.
We’re here to help. In this epic guide for preventing and treating ingrown hairs, we walk you through what causes them, how to treat them, how to prevent them, and what products to use in your hair removal routine.
What Causes Ingrown Hairs?Ingrown hairs, also known as razor bumps, occur after shaving and are most common for people with coarse or curly hair. As our hair follicles become clogged with dead skin cells- we shed about 600,000 particles of skin every hour- they trap hairs under the epidermis, causing ingrowns.
We’ve all heard the more blades, the better. Not true. Multi-blade razors are designed to “lift and cut” the hair; the first blade lifts the hair, while the second and third blades cut the hair, usually below the epidermis. When your hair grows back, it can become trapped below the skin, resulting in ingrown hairs that become painful and inflamed.
Shaving with dull blades can cause the same problem, as they leave the end of the hair jagged, which irritates the skin as the hair grows back. We recommend using a single blade razor, for your smoothest, closest, ingrown-free shave.
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Waxing removes hair directly from the root, damaging the hair follicle, the follicle’s tube, and the root. When the tube’s lining is damaged, it can’t guide the hair when it grows back. Hair then gets caught under the skin, resulting in ingrown hairs.
A similar occurrence happens when epilating. An epilator is similar to an electric shaver. It has a rotating head of tweezers that traps hairs and pulls them from the root as it is run across the skin. This results in the same damaging effect as waxing.
How to Treat Ingrown Hairs
The first step to treating ingrowns hairs is to stop. You read that right. Stop shaving, waxing, or any hair removal methods in the area you have ingrown hairs. Don’t squeeze or pluck the hair, as it can introduce an infection.
Apply a warm compress and gently exfoliate the area. Daily exfoliation will help to remove any dead skin cells that clog the pores, allowing you to get to the root of the ingrown and properly treat it. Be gentle with your skin.
Our FULL DISCLOSURE Cream Body Polish leverages both physical (bamboo powder) and chemical (lactic acid) that works by loosening the bonds between dead skin cells.
In between shaves, you can use CHEAT SHEET Resurfacing Body Serum to further get to the root of any inflammation, speed up healing, and prevent further irritation. Hot tip: do not use CHEAT SHEET just after shaving or before going out in the sun. This high powered chemical exfoliant is best used at night.
How to Prevent Ingrown Hairs
When shaving, the best way to prevent ingrown hairs is to use a single-blade razor. A single blade is less damaging and aggressive to the skin, as it uses one blade to remove hair from the surface of the skin, not below. A single-blade razor results in a more gentle shave that produces fewer ingrowns and inflammation.
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Exfoliating helps to remove dead skin cells and lift the hair away from skin, which delivers a closer, smoother shave.
Try our bestselling FULL DISCLOSURE Cream Body Polish that leverages both physical (bamboo powder) and chemical (lactic acid) for brighter skin and a closer shave.
There should always be a hydrating barrier between your skin and the blade, like SUGARCOAT Moisturizing Shave Gel-to-Milk. Using just water or soap can cause the razor to drag against your skin.
We've been conditioned to press the razor into our skin to get the closest shave. Don't. Pressure contributes to the irritation we experience after shaving. The handle of our razor is weighted so you don’t have to apply pressure.
Shave with the grain
If your skin is extra sensitive, start by shaving with the grain (the direction in which your hair grows). Shaving against the grain seems intuitive to get the closest shave but it can cause irritation. When shaving with the grain, there's less risk of cutting hair below the skin. Make sure to rinse your razor often so there’s no gunk or hair on it.
Pay attention to your razor angle
If your skin is less sensitive, there’s less need to focus on which direction you’re shaving in. When shaving your underarms, stretch the skin taut by placing your arm high above or behind your head. Shave up and down, but also try an X pattern. Since our hair grows in multi-directions, this helps to catch every little bit. When shaving your legs, make sure the razor is at the 30-degree angle so the blade gently grazes your skin. Take short strokes and keep your touch light. To get the knees, bend your leg to tighten the skin.
Change your blade often
Once you feel like the razor is tugging at your hairs rather than cutting them quickly and sharply, it's time to change the blade.
Summer is around the corner and now is a great time to get your skin sundress ready. Start by giving your skin some time to breath. Try going a few days or longer without shaving. Then ditch that pink, plastic razor and show your skin the respect it deserves!