How to Treat Razor Burn and Banish Ingrown Hairs
If you suffer from ingrown hairs, you’re not alone. A lot of folks, both men and women experience ingrown hairs on different parts of the body. A lot of us don’t realize we have ingrown hairs until it’s fully inflamed. Read on to find out more about this common problem among shavers, and learn some ways to treat them now and prevent them in the future.
WHAT’S AN INGROWN HAIR?
Ingrown hairs are a benign skin disorder, and are typically seen in adults with darker skin. They commonly occur on shaved areas such as the face, neck on men, and armpit, legs, and pubic region on women.
When the tip of the newly grown hair curls back or grows sideways in the skin, it gets stuck in underlying skin as it grows, causing small unsightly bumps that resemble acne, or bug bites. The bump discolorations range from a dark brown to a pink rash like appearance.
Generally, ingrown hairs are harmless, but it may become irritated to the point of inflammation and eventually lead to scarring.
WHY DO I GET INGROWN HAIRS?
Shaving for the most part. A sharp tip is created on the hair follicle after it’s cut off. Improper shaving techniques are the major cause of ingrown hairs. Although it does occur without shaving, due to an accumulation of dead skin cells blocking the hair follicle opening (causing the hair to grow sideways).
WHAT ARE SIGNS THAT I HAVE INGROWN HAIR?
You’ll feel the area itchy and a touch tender at or around the ingrown hair. Often you’ll see a red or pink bump with a sliver. Take stock after a few days after shaving your skin, and examine the areas you’ve shaved. If it’s infected you’ll see a whitehead (popularly termed pus from the word pustules).
ARE INGROWN HAIRS AND RAZOR BUMPS THE SAME THING?
They are similar, but not exactly the same. Razor bumps are red bumps that appear on the beard area (lower face and neck) and may flare with repeat shaving. Razor bumps are commonly experienced by men with darker skin. The bumps can appear as flesh-colored. Some people suffer a chronically and can easily see the irritation right after shaving. Pus can occur in this case as well especially if there is bacteria on the skin.
WHAT IS THE TREATMENT FOR INGROWN HAIR AND RAZOR BUMPS?
One of the best and easiest ways is to through proper hair and skin hygiene. This also means taking proper steps before and after shaving. But, if you’re currently suffering from acute or chronic ingrown hairs: try the following remedies:
- Mild exfoliators such as a scrub, moistened washcloth, or a soft-bristled toothbrush with a mild soap to wash the beard or hair for several minutes via a circular motion to help dislodge stubborn tips.
- Leave very short 1-2 mm stubble with shaving to help reduce the tendency of shaving too closely. These shaving techniques can avoid creating a sharp tip when shaving and prevent hair from reentering the skin by leaving slightly longer stubble.
- Carefully use a sterile needle and alcohol wipe to dislodge stubborn ingrown hairs or use tweezers to gently tease the hair out of the skin. However, this is usually not recommended in that these procedures may be too aggressive and cause further damage to the skin.
HOW CAN I PREVENT FUTURE INGROWN HAIRS AND RAZOR BUMPS?
- Hydrate and soften both the skin and the hair before shaving. This can result in a duller, rounded tip to the hair, which decreases the likelihood for hairs to reenter the skin.
- Do not shave against the direction or grain of the hair growth.
- Avoid shaving too closely to the skin.
- When using electric razors, some shaving techniques may help prevent ingrown hair. Keep the head of the electric razor slightly off the surface of the skin and shave in a slow, circular motion. Pressing the razor too close to the skin or pulling the skin taut can result in too close of a shave.
- Consider going au natural and grow a beard. (In extreme cases)
OTHER AGGRESSIVE SOLUTIONS FOR PROBLEMATIC INGROWN HAIR AND RAZOR BUMPS:
If nothing seems to work, it’s recommended to visit a dermatologist who can prescribe some topical creams and antibiotics. Dermatologists can medically remove the ingrown hair by making a small incision and pulling it out. This doesn’t sound like fun, but it can offer you some immediate relief to the affected areas, and allow a quick healing of the treated areas.
Another great source would be a cosmetic medical doctor. Usually these facilities offer laser hair removal, as well as topical creams. Cosmetic doctors are a great source because a lot of their offices offer invasive hair removal procedures, so these guys are accustomed to having clientele who have similar and exact skin ailments. Cosmetic medical doctors can prescribe skin-lightening solution to reduce the dark pigmentations left by the ingrown hairs.