How To Avoid Ingrown Hairs When Shaving

Shaving causes the hair to grow at a sharp angle from the skin. When this happens, it can either become trapped or cut below the surface of the epidermis (skin). If not removed, the hair will form a hard knot on top of a pore and begin to curl back into the skin. This is known as ingrown hair.

In some cases, people will develop pockets of pus called inflamed papules. These pustules result from trapped hairs and bacteria on top of a swollen hair follicle. To prevent these from becoming infected, it is important to treat them as soon as possible. Unchecked ingrown hairs can continue to form until they eventually become cysts.

How To Avoid Ingrown Hairs When Shaving

Shaving is a necessary evil for many of us. It can make a hairy situation worse, causing ingrown hairs and irritation. These can be mitigated by taking some precautions when shaving:

Wash your face.

Keep your face clean! Wash it with some facial soap before you start shaving. This will remove excess oil from your skin and hair.

Prep the brush and razor.

Fill a small bowl with hot water and add some salt (1/4 cup). Soak the tip of your shaving brush in it for about 5 minutes to soften the bristles. The same goes for your wet shaving razor. This will ensure that you get the best shave possible without causing unnecessary irritation or redness.

Exfoliate skin.

Use a shaving brush to apply your shaving cream. This not only helps your razor move smoothly over the skin but also exfoliates the skin and lifts hair follicles for a closer shave. Opt for a shaving brush made from badger hair, as this is softer than other types of hair and produces less lather.

Apply shaving cream.

Try using shaving cream as opposed to shaving soap. Creams are more easily absorbed into the skin and don't have as thick of a lather, which means your razor will be able to cut hair at just the right angle.

Use a sharp razor.

Switch up your razors! After a few uses, the sharpness of a razor begins to fade. If you're not getting a close shave, it's probably time for a new one.

Moisturize your skin.

Moisturize with an aftershave balm to lock in moisture and prevent irritation and redness (ingrown hairs). Even if you've used high-quality shaving cream or soap, your skin will still be susceptible to drying out. This shouldn't be done immediately after shaving, as your skin is more sensitive when it's damp.

Keep it clean.

Use an ingrown hair treatment! If you've already got any redness or irritation on your face, you can further prevent ingrown hairs by applying some exfoliating lotion or cream to the area. This will help eliminate any trapped dirt and lift hair follicles to avoid getting ingrown.

What are the signs of ingrown hair?

The most recognizable sign of ingrown hair is a small red bump that occurs due to the skin getting caught on the sharp edge of a recently shaved strand of hair. These pimples often form in areas where there is frequently tight clothing and friction, such as the underarms, thighs, and bikini line. If left untreated, they can quickly turn into bumps that are more painful to touch or pop.

If you have thick or curly hair, it is more likely to become ingrown because the sharp edge of the hair will more easily curl back into your skin.

People who shave too closely are also more susceptible to developing issues with ingrown hairs. As the hair is being cut below the skin's surface, it has a sharper edge that can curl back more easily.

What are some common remedies for ingrown hairs?

Prevention is key! Be sure not to shave too closely or against the grain of your hair follicles. Electric razors are a good option, as their blades don't come into contact with your skin at all. Shave in the direction of hair growth and leave the shaving foam on your face for about three minutes before you start to shave.

If you've already got ingrown hair, there are several ways to treat it. Since it is a bacterial infection, you need to treat the area with an antibiotic to prevent further inflammation. You can do this by either applying some medication on top of the pimple or directly inside of it with a Q-tip. This will reduce redness and swelling in most cases.

If that fails, apply some benzoyl peroxide onto the area, a common ingredient in many over-the-counter acne treatments. This will help reduce inflammation and kill any bacteria causing it.

If you begin to notice a recurring issue with ingrown hairs, there are some things you can do to prevent them from forming again. Exfoliate your skin with a body scrub or loofah in the shower to get rid of dead skin cells. These can accumulate under the surface and irritate hair follicles.

Another option is to use an ingrown hair treatment, which is cream that contains salicylic acid. This ingredient helps clear away dead skin cells so hairs can grow through the skin's surface more easily. It can also help reduce inflammation and kill bacteria that may be causing pimples to form.

It's important to note that not all ingrown hairs will respond to treatment, especially if they've already become infected with pimples or cysts. In this case, it is best left alone since popping the pimple can cause the infection to spread even further. Scarring is also more likely in these situations, so it is best to let professionals care about the problem.

To prevent picking up infections while dealing with ingrown hairs, be sure to wash your hands before and after you touch any affected skin.

How can I prevent ingrown hairs?

If you shave, be sure to never shave against the grain of your hair follicles. This will cause hair to curl back into your skin and create a bump that could become ingrown hair if it is not treated.

Instead, always shave in the direction of growth to prevent these from happening as often as possible. Always use a clean, sharp razor to shave hairs under the surface of your skin.

There are some good electric razors available for people with thick or curly hair that will help prevent ingrown hairs from occurring. Just make sure you keep your razor clean and replace the blades every few months to ensure the best results.

If this doesn't solve your problem and you notice a recurring issue with ingrown hairs, use an ingrown hair treatment cream containing salicylic acid to help treat the area. This will kill bacteria and reduce inflammation, helping prevent pimples from forming underneath the surface of your skin.

If you already have an infection present in your pores, be sure to take antibiotics to help reduce swelling and redness. Apply creams containing benzoyl peroxide on the skin to help clean away dead skin cells so hairs can grow through easily. If all of these treatments fail, it may be best to seek professional advice from a dermatologist to prevent scarring or further infection.

It's important to always thoroughly wash your hands before and after applying these creams or touching the areas of skin around ingrown hairs to prevent the further spread of infection.

How can I get rid of an existing ingrown hair?

If you already have an ingrown hair, you can do several different treatments at home to reduce swelling and redness.

If you already have a pimple or cyst around the ingrown hair, applying benzoyl peroxide will help reduce inflammation and kill any bacteria causing the puss to form. This is especially important if there was a previous infection associated with your ingrown hairs.

You can also apply antibiotic cream onto open sores to help reduce redness and swelling. Don't forget to wash your hands before and after touching the affected area of the skin since you don't want to spread any bacteria or infection around.

When using these treatments at home, they mustn't be applied right onto the inflamed bump surrounding your ingrown hair. This can cause burning sensations, and you mustn't put anything on any open sores.

For best results, be sure to remove the hair as soon as possible with tweezers or waxing after applying these creams. This will help keep ingrown hairs from forming again in the future.

If the pimple continues to grow larger, becomes more swollen, or any pus begins to form on the skin surrounding it, be sure to consult a dermatologist before applying any more home treatments.

How can I prevent ingrown hairs from forming again?

Once you've successfully treated an existing infection around your ingrown hair, there are plenty of things you can do to reduce the chances of getting another bump in the future.

To help prevent ingrown hairs from occurring again, try using an electric razor for your face when you're shaving. These razors will cut down on any tugging and pulling of your hair follicles while you shave, and they don't require as much pressure or precision to get a close shave as traditional razors.

These razors also contain separate shaving elements for whether you're shaving your face, legs, or armpits. This will decrease the risk of infection since there are no bacteria present on these razor heads. It's important to change the head of the razor instead of constantly reusing it during multiple shaves so that it can keep your skin as clean and clear as possible.

If you routinely use shaving cream to shave, be sure that you're only using the necessary amount of product. It's unnecessary to use an entire handful or two of cream to get a close shave since this will clog your pores with residue from the shaving gel.

If you do opt for traditional shaving cream, make sure that it's alcohol-based to help clean away any bacteria present on the surface of your skin.

If you prefer more natural alternatives or don't want an alcohol-based product due to allergies or other sensitive skin conditions, try using witch hazel as a water-based alternative. This will help clean away any bacteria, and it will provide a refreshing and cooling effect to your skin during and after shaving.

Why do I get so many ingrown hairs on? 

If your body is prone to developing ingrown hairs, you can take several different steps to reduce the risk of inflammation and infection.

If you tend to get more ingrown hairs on certain areas of your body, you should try avoiding shaving these areas until the hair has grown out further. This will help prevent the hair from growing back into your skin, leading to irritation and infection.

If you are someone who regularly gets ingrown hairs on your bikini line, give yourself a break from shaving for 4-7 days until the hair has grown out enough that it won't poke back into your skin.

You can also help prevent ingrown hairs on your bikini line by shaving in the direction of hair growth rather than against it.

What are some at-home treatments you can use for ingrown hairs?

At-home treatment options include:

  • Applying ice on the area.

  • Using hydrocortisone cream to reduce redness and swelling.

  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever.

  • Applying a hot compress.

If you choose to try using hydrocortisone cream, be sure only to use a very small amount of the product. You don't want to dry out your skin or worsen the infection if it gets worse, which is why it's best to start with a very small dosage.

If you have a pre-existing infection from ingrown hair, applying a hot compress can help draw out the pus and reduce swelling or redness. When using this treatment option, soak a clean rag in very warm water and place it onto the area for 10 minutes to help relieve discomfort.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some efficient shaving creams?

Some shaving creams to consider for a very close shave include Cremo Cream, Barbasol Original, and Jack Black Supreme Cream Triple Cushion Shave Lather.

How often do I need to change out the heads of my razors?

It's recommended that you change your razor head every five shaves, which is about once a week for most people. This will help reduce your risk of developing infections and ingrown hairs since the blade is more likely to cut as close as possible to the skin.

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