Ingrown Hairs

Ingrown hairs…ughhhh!!! A dirty, hairy word we all despise. If you have ever done any waxing or DIY fuzz patrol then you have likely had the pesky experience of an ingrown hair.

An ingrown hair or Pseudofolliculitis occurs when the hair curves into the side wall of the follicle instead of growing straight out of the follicle opening. So those of you with thick, curly hair are more susceptible to ingrowns because the hair has a tendency to not grow straight through the surface. Also, skin can heal over the top of the opening which restricts the hair from surfacing and forces it to grow back beneath the skin.

How do you prevent ingrown hairs?

Give the skin on your body the same TLC you grace your face with. Three days after your wax or when all redness subsides, start a daily exfoliation routine and make the loofah or hand mitts your best friend for life! Wet the loofah or hand mitts and add a dab of cleanser and gently scrub the area. This will exfoliate the thin layer of skin away and set that hair free preventing an infection. Do not scrub too hard.

For a gentler exfoliation, you can opt for a washcloth. I have found cleansers containing salicylic acid work the best. This acid clears out the junk or oil and makes room for the hair to grow freely upward and outward. For those who find ingrown hairs rare, exfoliation two to three times a week is enough. But frequent ingrown hair victims should exfoliate daily and also add a little No Bump or alcohol on the area after showering.

Picking, prodding and poking, ohhh so hard to resist, but you can end up permanently scarring your skin. Picking is likely to irritate the skin or cause an infection. Don’t let those nasty little ingrowns fool you. Not only are the pesky, but very generous in spreading themselves around. When you push down on the red bump or ingrown you force the sebum and/or pus downward to neighboring follicles spreading the infection to other follicles nearby.

If you get one of those dreaded tender bumps soak it with warm compresses for about ten minutes a few times a day. This will help bring the hair to the surface. If you fall off the bandwagon (nobody’s perfect) and pick, remember to blot the area with an antiseptic to prevent infection. No Bump or simply rubbing alcohol dabbed directly on the bump should help clear up the problem. Don’t get carried away with the No Bump or alcohol as they can dry out the skin if over used.

The Nitty Gritty on Loofahs

Loofah products are appealing to some people because they are organic and effective. They are the only plant source that has the perfect texture for gently exfoliating the skin.

Now, let’s get down to the nitty gritty! Not everything natural is safe.  Deep in the crevices of your loofah can lurk that oh-so-dreadful bacteria if not given the proper care. So if you choose to use one, here are a few tips on keeping your loofah cootie free.

  • Rinse your loofah after each use and don’t forget to ring out the excess moisture
  • Store it in a clean, dry environment away from the shower or tub (do not keep your loofah in the shower). The moist heat is the perfect breeding ground for all things that want to lurk in your loofah.
  • Let it dry completely between uses
  • Replace your loofah every few weeks or monthly
  • Don’t share your loofah with anyone

If you are a total germaphobe you can take the cleansing process a step further by soaking the loofah in white vinegar and water for a couple of hours. Then set it out to dry.

Does a loofah sound like too much trouble? For a more low maintenance routine, opt for hand mitts or a mesh shower sponge. After each use, rinse them out and hang them to dry. Throw them in the washer or dishwasher once a week and replace every month. Sometimes a loofah can be too rough for sensitive skin types and a mesh shower sponge or simply a washcloth work best.

Remember, being consistent with your routine is your best tactic in the war against ingrown hairs. Now, get ready, get set, GLOW!