Hair normally grows out through the hair follicle. If the hair curls back, growing in the opposite direction, it becomes ingrown hair. When hair is embedded under the skin, it can cause a minor skin irritation. But sometimes, a boil may form at the site causing pain.
Ingrown hair is common in men who shave and in people with curly hair. This type of hair can grow on the face, neck, armpits, groin area, legs and other areas of the body. If you have ingrown facial hair, here are some suggestions on how to remove and avoid them.
- Exfoliate. Gently scrub the area of the ingrown hair twice a day. Exfoliating helps take away dirt, oils, and dead skin cells in the area which may be keeping your hair from growing out through the follicle. When buying an exfoliating product, choose one that is suitable for your skin type. Avoid using rough exfoliating gloves which can cause your skin to break. Remember that the skin on the face is more sensitive and thinner compared to the skin on other parts of the body.
- Use acne medication. Apply a very thin amount of pimple medication with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. This can help reduce the swelling in the area. Together with exfoliation, this assists the hair in growing outwards instead of back in. In case you notice an adverse reaction to the pimple medication, stop the treatment immediately.
- Apply hot compress. Dip a clean washcloth in warm water and wring out the excess. Place this over the irritated area where swelling is present. The heat reduces the swelling and softens the area. Warm compress also helps the hair rise up making it possible for you to remove the ingrown hair.
- Remove the ingrown hair. Clean the area of the ingrown hair with a mild anti-bacterial soap and warm water. Using a pair of sanitized tweezers; try to pull out the ingrown hair if part of it has broken the surface of the skin. Never dig it out. You can also attempt to remove the ingrown hair during exfoliation. Try to nudge the hair out with your fingertips. Be careful though because you don’t want the area to bleed. If a scab forms, it will be more difficult to remove the ingrown hair.
- Consult a dermatologist. In the event that infection sets in, it is best to see your dermatologist. She can give you the proper medical advice to treat the infected area.
- Avoid getting ingrown hair. When shaving, follow the direction where you hair grows out. Use other forms of hair removal like laser treatments or electrolysis. If you notice that you get more ingrown hair when you use an electric shaver, switch to a regular shaver instead. Do not shave too often. Wait until the hair has grown out before your next shave. Only use non-comedogenic facial products since these types of products do not clog your pores.
- There are two types of tweezers: one with flat ends and the other with pointed-tips. If used with utmost care, the pointed tweezers causes less damage to your skin.
- Apply an anti-septic solution to the area once the ingrown hair has been removed to avoid infection.
People who shave the hair on their faces and other parts of their body are more prone to ingrown hair. It is important to deal with ingrown hair properly. Although this type of hair growth is considered a minor irritation, infection may set in without the proper care.