Got an ingrown hair that’s giving you grief? Here’s how to remove it safely so that your skin can start healing.

Most people have experienced at least one ingrown hair. They occur when hair grows back after being removed and curls back into the skin. This can lead to inflammation of the hair follicles and bumps that resemble pimples. Ingrown hairs can be a result of friction caused by clothing, but primarily different types of hair removal, such as tweezing, waxing and shaving.

 

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Women who shave often have more area to cover and spend an average of 131 minutes each month removing body hair. A study conducted by Mintel, however, revealed that the number of men who ‘manscape’ has gone up from 36% to 46% in recent years. And the more time you spend performing various methods of hair removal, the more likely you are to experience ingrown hairs.

As the old saying goes, prevention is better than a cure. To minimize your risk of getting them in the first place, follow these steps when shaving:

  • Exfoliate the area before you shave it. This will remove dead skin that could prevent new hair from growing.
  • Let your shaving cream soak into your skin to soften the hairs before you start for a smoother glide.
  • Make sure that you use a sharp razor. It’s recommended that you use a new blade every five to 10 shaves.
  • Shave in the direction that your hair is growing rather than against it. This can help to minimize irritation.
  • Apply an unscented moisturizer to the area once you are dried off. This can help to reinforce your skin’s barrier.

Removing an ingrown hair

But what if you already have an ingrown hair and you can’t resist the urge to remove it yourself? Here’s how to do it – safely!

  1. After cleaning the area, use a clean warm compress and hold it to the ingrown hair for 10 to 15 minutes. This helps to soften the skin.
  2. Once your skin is softer, gently exfoliate the area for 20 seconds. This helps to free the loop hair so that you don’t dig into your skin to find it.
  3. If the ingrown hair frees itself from the skin, use sanitized tweezers to gently grab the end and remove it.
  4. Not budging? Leave it be. It won’t grow back into the skin once it’s out. Keep an eye on it to ensure that infection doesn’t set in.
  5. If you’re worried about an ingrown hair, schedule an appointment with your dermatologist to have it professionally extracted.