A very common problem found in patients that come to the clinic is ingrown hairs. A lot of people suffer with this condition. In most cases ingrown hairs may resolve on their own without any treatment whatsoever, however this may not be the case for everyone. Luckily there are many solutions to prevent this from happening.
What is an ingrown hair?
An ingrown hair occurs when the tip of the hair grows inwards or in some cases sideways into the skin. This hair condition is seen primarily among people that have curly hair. It appears as a pink/red bump under the skin you may notice a small dark pin point of the underlying hair under the skin. At times you may notice the hair follicle inflamed or surrounded by pus this is due to infection.
Why does this happen? The most common areas where ingrown hairs are found are where the hair is coarse for example your bikini, underarms and male facial hair. There are many reasons why this happens. It can be caused by improper shaving – not lubricating the skin properly and shaving against the direction of the hair. Also by aggressive hair removal methods such as waxing, yes the more you wax the less coarse your hair may be however naturally your skin sheds dead skin cells due to this debris may block the hair follicle and if the hair Is too thin it cannot pass through leading to an ingrown hair being formed.
How to prevent ingrown hairs? If you rarely suffer from ingrown hairs then exfoliating your skin twice a week should do the trick. But for those who suffer with this condition the best solution would be laser hair removal. Although electrolysis can be very effective especially for those that do not have pigmented hair such as blondes, red heads etc, you need to keep in mind that it is very time consuming due to the fact that it only targets individual hair follicles at a time. Laser hair removal leads to the hair follicle being damaged therefore no more hair will grow, this will help prevent future ingrown hairs so all you need to do is exfoliate and release current ingrown hairs.
How to release current ingrown hairs? Sometimes the hair is not very deep into the skin and they can be safely pushed out causing no trauma to the skin. But for those deep ingrown hairs the solution is to pierce the skin with a sterile needle and release the hair then using clean tweezers. However if the surrounding area is irritated, broken or infected just leave the hair intact, do not pluck out, wait until the area has healed properly.