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Ingrown Hairs

Ingrown hair is a condition where the hair curls back or grows sideways into the skin. It may or may not be accompanied by an infection of the hair follicle (folliculitis) or "razor bumps" (pseudofolliculitis barbae), which vary in size. While ingrown hair most commonly appears in areas where the skin is shaved (beard, legs, pubic region), it can appear anywhere.

Anything which causes the hair to be broken off short with a sharp tip can cause ingrown hair. Shaving is the leading cause, followed by tight clothing. The embedded hair causes a localized inflammation (sometimes painful) response in the skin with prostanoid involvement. Sometimes ingrown hair occurs naturally without shaving, as too much dead skin or blocked pores can make hair grow sideways.

Symptoms include rash, itching skin, hair which remains in spite of shaving, and infection and pus collecting under skin.

After waxing treatments, you can avoid ingrown hairs by exfoliating - gently - on a daily basis, but don't begin exfoliation until 24 hours have passed since you had your waxing done. Also, right after waxing, you can apply a skin lotion which contains salacylic acid to the area. It doesn't matter what kind, just look for one which has a high percentage of that ingredient. Use it right after waxing, and twice a day thereafter. That will help to prevent bumps and ingrown hairs. One other thing, try to not wear tight clothing for at least 24 hours after waxing. Tight clothing which rubs against your skin are almost certain to cause ingrowns and red bumps. Avoid this if you can.

Did you know?

  • Shaving is the leading cause of ingrown hairs.
  • Between 60 - 80% of African american men, and 20% of Caucasian men are prone to ingrown hairs. Of course, women of all stripes continue to have this problem also.
  • An ingrown hair is a painful red bump on the skin.
  • Ingrown hairs usually appear anywhere we shave, and often in clusters.