Ingrown hair is a very annoying and unattractive problem for one and all. Some people just tend to get them all the time and try to pull the hair out, digging in the skin, which just makes the problem worse.
Ingrown hair, also known by its medical name Pseudofolliculitis Barbae, is a hair that, instead of growing out from the skin, grows back in. The follicle can get infected by the hair and it causes redness and irritation. If the hair does not come out and the inflammation progresses, it may require a small cut in the skin by a surgeon in order to clean the follicle and the affected area.
There is, however, a regimen that can be applied for several weeks in order to prevent ingrown hair or razor bumps, as it is sometimes called. Salicylic acid seems to be helpful with this problem. It is an ingredient in some dermatological products that exfoliates, moisturizes and cleans the pores, helping the hair to get out of the skin. It also prevents infection and is to be used every day after shaving.
Products used for shaving should be non-acnegenic, lubricant and formulated for sensitive skin. Standard shaving foam dries the skin. Products that contain alcohol may seem like a logic choice because alcohol is an antiseptic, but the truth is that it actually dries the skin and makes the pores close.
Exfoliating the skin is essential for preventing razor bumps. Face scrubs should contain salicylic and glycolic acid. A soft brush along with a liquid cleanser or gel can serve as a scrub and it will help dislodge the tips of ingrown hair.
Shaving technique and tools are very important in preventing ingrown hair. As much as everybody loves a clean, close shave much more that a five-o’clock-shadow, it is important to shave loosely, without applying too much pressure to the skin and without pulling it. The motion should be with the grain, not against it. Razors must be clean and changed regularly, as they carry bacteria that can cause infection of the follicles.
A single-blade dispensable razor is probably the best choice. An electric razor is also an option.
The best time for shaving is after a shower or a bath. The pores will be open and the skin will be clean and soft.
In case there are already some ingrown hairs, they should be carefully pulled out from the skin with tweezers, but they must not be plucked out, because it will only make the hair grow inwards, this time even deeper. The skin in that place should be disinfected, and the best products for that purpose are the ones containing buffered fatty alcohol. They will remove the bacteria but with less stinging.
There are some topical anti-inflammatory products that can be applied to the razor bumps as well. If applied for several days, they will remove the swelling, and the bumps will subside, making room for the ingrown hair to reach the surface by itself.