If you often wax or shave, you probably have noticed some irritated bumps that show up shortly after in the shaved areas. They are known as ingrown hairs. No serious skin conditions will result from them but they can be quite irritating. This is not to mention that they are prone to staph infections and scarring.
Treatment is not always necessary. It however helps hasten the recovery process as well as prevent complications associated with the skin problem. You can choose from a number of treatment options which include use of ingrown hair medicine, removal needle, tweezers, exfoliating brush or natural remedies.
Ingrown hair medicine
Ingrown hair is not a disease but a condition. For this reason, there is no specific ingrown hair medicine that can be ordered over the counter or prescribed by a doctor. Available medications aim to improve the condition rather than cure it. They include:
Medications that reduce swelling
The most common medications used against ingrown hairs work by reducing inflammation. They usually come in form of creams that contain steroids. 1% hydrocortisone cream is the popular choice, which also works for other inflammatory skin conditions such as acne and eczema. Mild forms of these medications are available over the counter. Stronger ones are prescribed by a doctor.
These are medications that get rid of dead skin cells to prevent clogging of skin pores. Immediately after shaving, it is recommended that you apply a cream or ointment that carries salicylic acid. The same should not be used when ingrown hairs have already formed.
Retinoids are the popular choice for already formed ingrown hairs. These are forms of vitamin A that excel in removing dead skin. Apart from reducing swelling and preventing clogging, retinoids also prevent hyperpigmentation. This is a condition where the skin areas surrounding an ingrown hair become dark and lead to scarring. Retinoids require a medical prescription.
Antibiotics are used to fight bacterial infections. Often, staph bacteria which live on the skin can invade ingrown hairs through cracks on the skin. Such cracks can, for example, form after repeated scratching. Minor infections respond effectively to antibiotics in form of ointments. If severe, oral antibiotics will be prescribed. You will most likely be recommended to use antibiotics for how to treat an ingrown pubic hair or one in the armpit.
These are forms of acids that work by semi-permanently removing hair completely. They interfere with the structure of hair, mainly keratin. They are excellent solutions for how to prevent ingrown hairs on bikini area. Don’t use chemical depilatories on cracked or broken skin. In fact, consult a dermatologist before making use of them. Among other reasons, it might be that it is not an ingrown hair you are dealing with.
Ingrown hair removal tools; tweezers or needle
The fastest way to remove ingrown hairs is by physically releasing the ingrown hair. This can be done with the help of removal tools, mainly a needle or tweezers.
A needle will straighten the hair but will not remove it entirely from the follicle. For complete removal, you will need to use tweezers.
How to use ingrown hair removal needle
- Start by warm compressing on the affected area. This will draw the ingrown hair closer to the surface.
- Dampen a wash cloth with warm water and rub the affected area. This will get rid of dead skin cells.
- Dip the tip of a sharp needle in rubbing alcohol. You can also wipe it with a cotton ball soaked in the alcohol. This should sanitize the needle. You can also rub the ingrown hair with the cotton ball soaked in alcohol.
- Locate the ingrown hair you are about to tug out. You will see it as a dark spot in the center of the inflamed area. If the hair is not visible, continue warm compressing and exfoliating.
- Gently prick the ingrown hair bump and slide the needle beneath the loop of the ingrown hair. This should allow you to gently pull out the hair.
- Apply antibacterial ointment afterwards.
How to use ingrown hair tweezers
As mentioned earlier, tweezers come with the advantage of the fact that you can use them on very short hair and also to completely pluck out ingrown hairs. Below are the steps:
- Start by warm compressing and exfoliating till the ingrown hair is visible.
- Use rubbing alcohol to disinfect the tip of the tweezers.
- Slide the sanitized tip underneath the point at which the ingrown hair has formed a loop.
- Gently pull it to the surface.
If you wish to have the ingrown hair entirely removed, don’t do it so immediately after pulling it out of the skin. Allow a few days for the affected follicle to heal. You can then use the tweezers to pluck the ingrown hair out of follicle.
Ingrown hair brush
An ingrown hair brush is a preventative tool rather than a removal tool. It works by teasing recently shaved hair. It also lifts hair that has become trapped.
There are different brands of ingrown hair brushes, most of which are available in leading stores. All come with specific manual instructions and when best to use. Generally, the best time to use the brush is when showering. This is because the skin is soft then and thus you avoid the issue of skin sensitivity.
Note that the brush is not to be used on other skin conditions not related to ingrown hairs. In fact, avoid using the brush on ingrown hairs that have already formed. This is because it may cause skin damage on irritated areas.
When using an ingrown hair brush, it is recommended that you brush along the grain or basically along the direction of your hair growth. Go for a soft-bristled brush, especially if you have sensitive skin. It may also help if you can first go through reviews for the most recommended brand before purchase.
Ingrown hair removal natural remedies
Other than medications and removal tools, natural remedies also do well in improving ingrown hairs and their symptoms. Below are some you can try:
This is by far the most known ingrown hair removal method. It involves compressing a piece of cloth soaked in hot water on the affected area for 5 minutes. For deep and ingrown hair cyst removal, let the warm compress remain for 15 minutes. This may require that you repeat soaking the piece of cloth to retain its warmth. The treatment draws the trapped hair closer to surface.
Tea tree oil
If you have ever heard of this home remedy, it probably was something to do with reducing inflammation or preventing bacterial infections. It is quite effective when used against ingrown hairs. You can for example apply it directly with a cotton ball after popping an ingrown hair.
This is one of the most ancient home remedies popularly used to treat various skin conditions. It prevents infection and also soothes irritated skin. You can use it immediately after releasing an ingrown hair. It will help reduce pain and prevent infection. To use it, just massage the gel directly to the affected area.
Sugar is used as an exfoliating remedy. It is quite effective and mild compared to salt and acids. To use it, mix white sugar with olive oil in ratio of one portion to half portion. Use some of the mixture to scrub the affected area.
Honey works on a wide variety of skin conditions. It is mostly known to soothe skin irritation but also excels in preventing infection. Manuka honey is most beneficial if you can access it. If not, use raw honey. To use it, apply directly to affected areas. The good thing about using honey is that it is very mild. You can even use it for ingrown hair on nipple, eyebrows or genitals.
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