Ingrown hairs occur when the hair, typically on a man’s face or a woman's leg following shaving, grows into the skin rather than through the hair follicle. It can be an irritating and unattractive problem that, left untreated, can lead to a more serious infection. To prevent ingrown hairs, it is important to first take good care of the skin, making sure that hair follicles are clear and dead skin cells are removed. It is also important to use the proper razor and shave correctly to prevent ingrown hairs.
Exfoliating regularly is one of the best ways to prevent ingrown hairs. This removes the outer layer of dead skin and clears the hair follicles, allowing hair to grow straight out rather than into the skin. It also keeps the skin smooth, reducing the chances of a razor pushing dead skin into the hair follicles and causing them to become clogged. While all-natural products are popular, some experts say synthetic exfoliators are actually the best for use on the face, because the particles in all-natural products are typically jagged and not uniform, causing microscopic tears in the skin.
Using the correct razor is another important step in trying to prevent ingrown hairs. While many prefer the closer shave of five-blade razors, experts suggest that a single-blade razor is best. This kind of razor allows more of the hair to stick out, which makes it less likely that it will grow into the skin. Despite this, many men have a difficult time maintaining the clean-shaven look while using a single-blade razor.
Outside of good skincare and using the right equipment, shaving properly is the most effective way to prevent ingrown hairs. It is important to shave in the direction that the hair grows rather than against it. Shaving against the grain can cause irritation and actually push the hair back into the skin. Pulling the skin taut when shaving also is not a good idea. Doing so can cause small stubble to be cut and then pushed into the skin, causing an ingrown hair.
To prevent ingrown hairs, it is also necessary to give the skin a break from shaving and to allow the hair to grow. Shaving very short stubble is one of the leading causes of ingrown hairs, which is why men report a much smoother shave after waiting a few days. Doing this is not always possible, especially in a professional environment. Despite this, even forgoing shaving during the course of a weekend can be an effective way to prevent ingrown hairs.
Ingrown hairs are considered the bane of many men’s existence. While there are some ways to treat ingrown hairs, including pulling the hair through the skin and applying special astringents and lotions, the best treatment is prevention. Taking care of one’s skin, using the proper razor and shaving correctly are the best ways to prevent ingrown hairs.