Hair normally emerges from follicles in the skin. An ingrown hair is one which either curls back into the follicle or never makes it out of the skin. Often referred to as razor bumps, the cause is usually from shaving or wearing tight clothing. If left untreated ingrown hairs can become infected with puss, becoming painful.
Are you sure it’s an ingrown hair
Before trying to remove an ingrown hair you should make sure that it actually is one. Because they normally occur from shaving, you will mostly find ingrown hairs in areas where you shave. However, ingrown hair can occur anywhere on the body.
The affected area will look like a small red bump and might feel like a pimple. Usually a small hair is visible inside the bump. There may also be puss.
Instructions: Removing ingrown hairs
Once you’ve identified an ingrown hair it’s time to remove it.
Firstly, you need to use clean sterile tools such as tweezers or a needle to draw the ingrown hair out of the skin. You can sterilize your tools using alcohol or bleach or just by boiling them. Pointy tweezers are better to use than flat tipped, enabling you to pinpoint the ingrown hair with more accuracy.
Wash skin before extracting.
You will need to soften the skin by applying a warm wet facecloth or washcloth to the area. Leave the compress there until you can see the ingrown hair. Warming the skin brings the hair closer to the surface. Rewarm the compress if you need to.
If the ingrown hair does not become visible within 10 to 15 minutes, then see your dermatologist. It may not be an ingrown hair after all.
Getting the ingrown hair out of the skin
The main aim of removing an ingrown hair is not to actually remove it completely. The objective is to get the hair tip out of the skin, so it grows like normal hair, with the root still embedded.
Using the sterilized tweezers or needle, gently try to maneuver the hair so the ingrown end emerges out of the skin. Avoid digging around in the skin.
Wash & apply antiseptic
Once the ingrown end is out of the skin, wash the area gently with moisturizing soap. If you do not have any moisturizing soap, you can moisturize after washing. Then apply some antiseptic to avoid infection. Hydrogen peroxide, alcohol or iodine are recommended solutions.
Preventing ingrown hair
Wearing looser clothing or shaving in another direction can help to avoid ingrown hair problems in the future. Try to shave in the same direction as your hair growth. Also, shaving further away from the skin, leaving the hairs longer helps prevent hair becoming ingrown. Not shaving so close makes it harder for the longer hairs to curl back into the skin.
Moisturizing after a shave and exfoliating regularly also assists.
The following topical applications can also be used:
- NSAIDs such as Ibuprofen
- Diluted Glycolic acid
- Creams containing Salicylic or Glycolic acids
- Exfoliating products
If your problem is chronic see a doctor or dermatologist.