Ingrown hair, a condition where the hair grows back into the follicle, can be irritating and painful. Although usually harmless, the cosmetic disfiguring and unsightly appeal can be troubling for many people. Let us take a look at some of the ways to deal with ingrown hairs.
Medication to remove ingrown hairs
Superficial ingrown hairs are usually less annoying, and can often be loosed by a gentle pinch. However, the deeper ones can be painful and require medication. The skin around an ingrown hair can develop into a painful lump, creating more discomfort than being just an unsightly look.
In severe cases, which form pustules and abscesses, topical and oral antibiotics may be administered. Topical antibiotics, topical antibacterial agents and/or a combination of both can be used to treat ingrown hairs. Infected pustules or abscess can be controlled by using oral antibiotics. Besides, antibacterial washes can also help control infection (in case it happens). Topical eflornithine HCL 13.9% cream can help control the rate of growth of hair, serving a long term therapeutic remedy.
Chemical depilatories can loosen the structure of hair and aid the removal process. Skin plugging (or hyperkeratosis) can be lessened by using tretinoin. Mild topical corticosteroid creams can reduce inflammation arising out of ingrown hairs. While choosing a product to cure (or prevent) ingrown hairs, opt for the alcohol free ones to keep skin irritation at bay.
Alter the shaving techniques
Good shaving habits help prevent ingrown hairs. Changing shaving methods can yield favorably when dealing with ingrown hairs. Do no shave altogether, if possible. Opt for other methods of removing hair wherever you can. Depilatories, laser hair removal, electrolysis, etc. can be considered as alternative methods of hair removal.
Prior to shaving, exfoliating or washing is helpful in keeping the ingrown hairs away. Lubricate appropriately to prevent forcible removal of hair. Prepare the skin before shaving. Avoid a shave too close to the skin. When using an electric razor, do not use the closest shave setting. Excessive force can allow the hair to cut shorter than the surrounding dermis. Shaving under shower can open up pores and prevent ingrown hairs. Use a new razor and shave in the direction of hair growth. Use a moisturizer after shaving.
Prefer a single blade razor having a sharp blade. Do not pull your skin while shaving. After each stroke, rinse the blade. Remember to apply cool compress to the shaved region after shaving is complete.
Observe the warning signs
Infection is common with ingrown hairs. It can also arise out of inappropriate treatment. Poking randomly with needles can end up in a scar or further damage to the area. An intractable ingrown hair can grow over an inch, forming a tight spiral, making it difficult to be removed.
If you are not confident of the treatment method, consult a dermatologist. If the area seems swollen or warmer than usual, there can be an infection underlying. Furthermore, pain or pus from the area can also signal infection, requiring prompt medical attention.
Other options for treatments
Ingrown hair can heal on its own and spontaneously get removed. However, in some cases, it may be tough to get clear of it. A combination therapy can provide best results for dealing with ingrown hairs.
You may consider other options available for hair removal. Laser treatment can permanently reduce the number of hairs. It can be a fast and safe way to deal with ingrown hairs. Although there can be skin discoloration, it can serve an efficient method targeting hair follicle. It can be implemented only on dark colored hair.
For permanent hair removal, electrolysis can be applied. It is a slow method, which requires multiple treatments. Electrolysis can be adopted for any color of hair and skin.
Washing the affected area using a washcloth (in circular motion) before shaving can release ingrown hairs. It can also be done at bedtime.
Consider the prevention guideline
Being impatient to end the discomfort prematurely can enhance your problems, making it more difficult to remove the hair. Ingrown hairs pose a short lasting skin problem, which can be dealt with relatively lesser effort. Do not treat ingrown hairs same as acne. Squeezing or picking can be unfavorable, and possibly cause more harm than good. Using needles to poke can result in scar, which can be both painful and unsightly.
Since the ingrown hair continues to grow beneath the skin surface, it is better to leave the lump undisturbed. Allow the inflammation to subside. Shaving, tweezing and waxing should not be the preferred tools when dealing ingrown hairs. Take expert advice if you are not sure of handling the problem yourself.