Guidance on overcoming the worst-case scenarios typical of ingrown hairs
Ingrown hairs are a problem worsened by improper shaving techniques, excessive dehydration of the skin because of lowered fluid intake, and the habit of wearing close-fitting clothes. When hair removal becomes the primary trigger for this condition, it pays to regulate one’s habits to avoid unnecessary distress. Here are five essential skin care routines that will go a long way in alleviating the distress associated with ingrowing hair shafts.
The Well-Scrubbed Loofah Routine
Scrubbing the loofah over a dry skin is dangerous. You need friction, but with proper lubrication of soap or body lotion. Assisted by the moist ambience created by warm jets of water, gently rub the wet loofah over the affected or troublesome spots in a circular motion. This exfoliates dead cells without irritating the pores.
However, you don’t want to share the same loofah with other people unless you both agree to become a breeding ground for infectious microbes.
It is advised to dispose of the loofah once it starts crumbling. Disintegration signals disposal time. Always use a firm yet resilient loofah to maximize body comfort.
Shave, Don't Shear
When you shave on a surface pockmarked with red-tinted bulbous sacs, you are treading on a minefield of pain and distress. The best precaution that one can take against ingrown hairs is to use a sharp blade with a gentle grip. The so-called close shave is a myth fostered by commercials. A closer shave shears off active layers of skin and creates war zones of inflamed razor burns. Ensure you use a shaving gel and go easy on the pressure you exert on the shaving tool.
A razor immersed in moisture attracts rust and dullness which in turn rake the skin, creating grounds for ingrown hairs. Keep the razor dry or better still, wipe it dry and apply a wee bit of rapeseed oil. This not only protects the blade surfaces from spoiling, it also lubricates the shave.
Another tip is to lather the face with cream using a brush. The singular advantage of this is that hairs lose their waviness and stand up taller to be shaved more comfortably. Switching to single razors, avoiding the double blade actually reduces the pressure on skin follicles and prevents ingrowths.
Shaving against the direction of hair growth actually slices off skin and hair nearer the roots, thereby encouraging hair ingrowths. The important lesson is to shave once over the jawline (or some other part) with a gentle razor swish (not to be repeated) and avoid the close shave.
The Glycolic Acid Peeler
Glycolic acid sourced from plants has an extremely active exfoliating effect on the skin. It works by dissolving the glue that keeps dried skin cells intact. Once these cells are dislodged, it becomes easier for the topmost layer of skin (the diseased part) to peel off, leaving a fresh patch of skin in its wake. Those that are habitual of moving outdoors can use a formulation of either titanium dioxide or zinc oxide in their sunscreen lotion to arrest excessive skin darkening.
What the Professional Dermatologist Would Recommend
Most sufferers of ingrown hairs will be familiar with needle incisions and tweeze removals, but what happens when the condition is far too chronic to be conquered through these methods? The neck is one such area which stubbornly defies conventional treatments. For many dermatologists and patients, the answer seems to lie in advanced therapy – removing hair using lasers. Extremely fine-tuned lasers are directed at targeted areas where the beam weakens the hair roots through heating. This makes the follicle inactive or incapable of growing further hair. The effect lasts for six to eight months, but is costly.
Living with ingrown hairs is like living with body odor – you know that no matter what you do, the grossness persists and slowly reduces your attractiveness in stages. But you are given ample opportunities to prevent the worst side effects.
- Firstly, avoid picking on the pustules. Don’t jab, tweeze, press, rub or twist the reddish bulbs out of their well-entrenched sockets. You’ll be doing more harm than good.
- If you are hell-bent on extracting a tightly coiled strand of hair inside the skin, do so using alcohol swabbed needles.
- Whenever you begin a hair removal routine make sure you soften the area first using steam, hot showers, bath soaks, mineral oils or moisturizers.
- Never wax or pluck hair when the underlying skin is scaly, devoid of moisture and lacking in blood circulation.