After years of shaving my legs and then epilating I’ve found myself wondering how to prevent ingrown hairs.
I didn’t get them in the beginning but after a few years they started to show up. At first they appeared as some tiny black dots right above my ankles, all around. I just didn’t know what those were and in fact it was my roommate that explained all about that dots.
The truth of the matter is that hair removal methods like shaving, epilation and waxing can cause ingrown hairs for most women. It’s just the way it is and I know all about it since I’ve learned how to prevent ingrown hairs for my own benefit.
There are only two methods that won’t cause them: laser hair removal and electrolysis.
The great thing is that you can take a few simple and easy measures to prevent them!
How To Prevent Ingrown Hairs With These 7 Tips
- Tip 1.) Get a Pair of Tweezers
- Tip 2.) Exfoliate
- Tip 3.) Physical Exfoliation
- Tip 4.) DIY Exfoliation
- Tip 5.) Chemical Exfoliation
- Tip 6.) Useful Tips to Know When Shaving
- Tip 7.) Epilating Tips To Prevent hairs growing under the skin
- Bonus Tip: How ingrown hairs appear in the first place and what you need to know
Tip 1.) Get a Pair of Tweezers
Before shaving, waxing, or epilating you can take a pair of sterile tweezers and lift out the ingrown hairs. After you bring them at the surface, it’s best to leave them like that instead of plucking them with the tweezers.
You will remove them together with all the other hairs by using your preferred hair removal method.
That only works if the ingrown hairs are almost at the surface, they’re basically kept captive by a superficial skin layer.
If you are reluctant to do so, exfoliating will also bring them at the surface, it will just take a bit longer.
Nevertheless, if you have sensitive skin it might be best to stay away from this method. From my experience, sensitive skin heals over a long period of time so you might get some scars if you’re using the tweezer.
I know from my own experience that leg scars can take longer to heal than even facial scars. I’ve had both and I’ve used the same products on both but the results were totally different.
So, give a lot of thought to this first step. You can skip directly to the next step on how to prevent ingrown hairs, which is entirely safe and pleasant.
Tip 2.) Exfoliate
Exfoliation means getting rid of dead skin cells.
Dead skin cells are the main cause why we get ingrown hairs. The hairs are trapped underneath the skin. Because they cannot penetrate to the surface, they curl back under.
Since they cannot stop from growing as soon as they hit that wall of dead skin cells, they continue their growth underneath.
You should always do it before each epilation, waxing or shaving session and then daily or once every two days.
There are two exfoliation methods: physical and chemical. Physical exfoliation means removing the dead skin cell with the help of an exfoliation brush or by using gloves or body scrubs.
You can even make your own body scrub at home, there are a lot of DIY recipes and they’re really simple.
I prefer using exfoliating gloves, I’ve started with them and I’ve really gotten used to them but I realize that in the future I should be trying an exfoliation brush for body, as well.
Chemical exfoliation means buying over-the-counter products that contain alpha-hydroxy acids or salicylic acid. Obviously, these type is the most effective. If you suffer from serious ingrown hairs and you’ve had them for years then this is the type that you need to focus on for getting rid of the exiting ones and for preventing ingrown hairs in the future.
You can combine the two types because chemical exfoliation products seriously dry out the skin in order to get rid of those layers of skin that keep the hairs under. If you don’t like the look of your legs, you can remove the dried skin and then apply a moisturizer. They should look just like they way they used to.
Further down, I’ll also talk a little about body lotions and moisturizers.
Tip 3.) Physical Exfoliation
I would suggest starting with an exfoliating glove.
It’s really cheap and it gets you rid of dead skin without being too harsh . It’s also my favorite.
The Earth Therapeutics Exfoliating Hydro Gloves are great for exfoliating your skin.
This method can be used daily because it doesn’t damage the skin, it cleans it gently. After rinsing the skin with lukewarm water you can apply a body lotion. I have to because I have dry skin but you can skip it if you don’t have sensitive skin.
Another physical exfoliation option is getting exfoliation soaps that contain many oils plus oatmeal, sugar or salt. The oils should help keep the skin hydrated.
These soaps can be used on a daily basis. Facial or body scrubs are also doing a great job.
For facial exfoliation, you could also try a facial cleansing brush. It’s really amazing.
Tip 4.) DIY Exfoliation
One of the simplest recipes is to put a little kosher salt in the shower gel and then rub it on your skin.
The shower gel instantly becomes a scrub, pretty simple right?
Additionally, I’ve searched for some DIY body scrubs. Here is what I found:
- Here is a recipe for an homemade sugar scrub that is amazingly simple but really good for your skin. All you need are two basic ingredients. You can replace the sugar with sea salt or Epsom salt.
- the sugar/salt scrub is basic but there are a lot more recipes that you can try at home. Maybe you want a scrub that also acts as a moisturizer at the same time. There’s nothing more simple than these recipes here.
Tip 5.) Chemical Exfoliation
When talking about chemical exfoliation, it simply means using products that contain alpha-hydroxy acids or salicylic acid.
These should be used less frequently because they can irritate the skin but they are extremely efficient exfoliation methods.
Each product comes with its own set of instructions so it’s very possible that some products should be used daily or twice a day, especially for a period of time until most of the ingrown hairs are gone.
One of the best products from this category at the moment is PFB Vanish.
Tip 6.) Ingrown Hairs Tips When Shaving
You might wonder why I want to talk about shaving when I should be talking about how to prevent ingrown hairs.
For men, the right way to shave is with the grain. They should shave in the direction of the hair growth in order to avoid getting ingrown hairs and razor burns.
Women can shave their legs in the opposite direction. Another thing that might cause hairs to grow under the skin is shaving with a dull blade.
It’s best to change your razor or the cartridge frequently. It’s also a good shaving tip that saves you from nicks.
Don’t forget about exfoliation. It’s just as important as it’s in the case of waxing and epilation.
Tip 7.) Epilating Tips To Prevent Ingrown Hairs
There is the belief that the type of epilator that one uses can influence the number of ingrown hairs it might get.
I’m not entirely convinced that there is a relation between the epilator model and the number of ingrown hairs that are going to occur.
An example would be that if you get a device with many tweezers, like one with 72 tweezers, the number of passes needed is reduced and, being that powerful, it removes all hairs from the root instead of cutting the short thin ones.
Or getting an epilator with ceramic tweezers that are strong and hypoallergenic.
Those are some few tips on how to prevent ingrown hairs but you may still get them, no matter what you do.
The idea is to keep everything under control and to have as little of them as possible.
All of the above tips may also be great for fighting infections and irritation.
To Better Prevent Ingrown Hairs First Understand How They Appear
Understanding what ingrown hairs are is easy. The name practically suggests its meaning.
The hair simply decides that it’s not going to grow to the surface of the skin. Instead, it’s going to curl back inside its follicle and grow under the skin.
The other situation is when it grows sideways into the skin. It is as unpleasant as it sounds. It’s not aesthetically pretty at all because red bumps appear. They are also called razor bumps. If you look at it closely you can see the hair underneath the skin.
The common affected places are: face, legs, and bikini area.
I use an epilator. Obviously, I’ve had my fair share of ingrown hairs during all these years. I’ve always been fortunate because there are no red bumps and no irritation. In my case, they are simply small black dots that can’t be seen from a distance, only when you get closer to the legs. Legs are the only area of the body where I have them.
So you might think that it’s not actually a big deal, it causes me no discomfort at all. And all that is true but for me the problem is more of a psychological nature.
The skin is not irritated but my brain is. There are some nasty side-effects of hair growing under the skin, like becoming infected, causing itching and scratching which can leave scars, or permanently darkening the skin.
That it’s valid for both men and women. The fortunate cases happen when the hairs go away on their own without you doing anything.
What’s The Bottom Line?
- Exfoliation remains the most effective weapon. It’s also cheap, you can do a body scrub all by yourself at home. It’s also incredibly relaxing.
- There are two types: physical exfoliation and chemical exfoliation. Stick to the physical one if your ingrown hairs are nothing serious and they’re not threatening your skin’s health.
- When shaving, don’t use a dull blade.
- When epilating choose the right epilator for you and keep things under control.
Last but not Least: How to Choose a Good Body Lotion
For most of my life, I’ve had dry skin that got worse as I started getting older. My skin needs permanent daily care, no matter the season. It’s really tiring and it costs a lot to maintain a normal look that other people just have it naturally.
Well, considering all this, I thought that the most important thing when choosing a body lotion or a moisturizer was to have natural ingredients and to be able to perfectly hydrate my skin.
That was until someone left me a comment and told me all about non-comedogenic body lotions. Comedogenic lotions and creams can block the pores and that can lead to even more ingrown hairs or acne or blackheads.
I never took that aspect into consideration so I did a little research and came to this article.
It was very helpful because it talks about various non-comedogenic oils and I became interested in using a body oil as opposed to a body lotion. It was time for a switch and this article was perfect!
I was already using argan oil to hydrate my face without even knowing that it has a 0 comedogenic rating while coconut oil is a level 4. It means that if you suffer from blackheads or acne (just like me) it’s best to use argan oil instead of coconut oil.
Argan oil also has a natural SPF 30, it reduces inflammation, it’s a great skin cleanser due to its disinfectant and anti-fungal properties , heals scars, and smells great. These are just a few benefits that make it so great! The downside is that it’s quite pricey.
Other great oils are: hemp seed oil, shea butter, sunflower seed oil, jojoba oil, neem oil, and sweet almond oil.
Nevertheless, if until now you haven’t had any problems with your current lotion there’s no point in trying something different.
For the moment that’s all I know on how to prevent ingrown hairs, I hope it will be helpful somehow.
If you know more, just leave a comment and tell me all about it, I’m always eager to know more since I’m already obsessed with everything regarding my skin 🙂