Oh, don't pretend like you don't have one!
Is an ingrown hair the worst thing that can happen to you? No. Is it the second-worst? Yes, probably.
You get an ingrown hair when your hair curls in or grows sideways instead of breaking through the skin and growing out. Since I exclusively epilate, with the occasional wax, the hair on my body has become very weak and fine. This is obviously a pro in my plan for total hair elimination, but it poses a problem: ingrowns. My hair is too weak to break through the skin, so I have to deal with this on daily, since we've established that it's the second-worst thing that can happen to a human person, I've had to learn how to prevent and treat them because, according to the internet.com, picking and scratching at them until they apologise isn't a good enough solution.
Here's how I handle the ingrown hair I get on a regular basis.
This is the most important thing to remember when you want to prevent and get rid of an ingrown hair. I exfoliate before I epilate/wax/shave/whatever by dry brushing the area.
A couple of times a week, or if I have more ingrowns than usual, I'll use a salt scrub like the Mineraline Dead Sea Body Scrub to really get in there.
If you're going to shave or use an in-shower epilator, use warm water on the area to soften the hair, make them stand up, and make your skin more pliable. Also, be sure to use shaving gel, cream or oil if you're going to shave. And remember — shaving should be done at the end of your shower, after you've already washed up.
Shaving against the grain... or with it
Everyone will always tell you differently: epilate in the direction of hair growth, never epilate in the direction of hair growth, shave against the grain, shave holding a banana while standing on your head, etc.
According to Mayo Clinic (ingrown hairs are a very serious medical condition, clearly), it's up to you to find out which direction to shave in. Men have long been told to shave in the direction of hair growth, but a study showed the opposite to work better for preventing rashes.
I find that the same goes for epilating — there are no hard and fast rules for this one. It can even differ for different areas of your body.
Keeping things sharp and clean
It's common knowledge that keeping a sharp, clean razor helps ward off ingrowns, because it ensures that the hair is being properly cut off. The same, however, applies for epilation, too. When my Epilady got older, I found the little tweezers inside dulled and it would snap my hair instead of pulling them out, causing an abundance of ingrowns and subsequent tears.
Moisture, moisture, moisture
When you're done removing your hair, moisturising is key. Never skip lotion.
If you still have ingrown hairs after all this, I personally give you permission to go at them with a tweezer. Not your fingernails or other sharp object, but an actual pair of tweezers, specifically the pointed type, like these:
- Do you have the ingrown blues?
- What's your #1 tip for dealing with them?
- Do you also experience a 1000% ingrown hair increase on your knees like I do?