Medical Conditions | 8 May 2016

Can laser hair removal work for ingrown hairs?

What is an ingrown hair?

Ingrown hairs form in two ways.

1. A layer of skin grows over the follicle opening, trapping the hair within the follicle.

2. As hair is growing out of the follicle, it grows into the side wall of the follicle instead of breaking the skins surface.

They mostly develop after hair removal procedures and can cause inflammation and irritation. Ingrown hairs and folliculitis (see our blog post) are often seen as the same condition when in fact they are different.

What do ingrown hairs look like?

Ingrown hairs can look like small spots on the skin, sometimes you can actually see the hair underneath the skin. If they become infected a pustule can form and if not treated properly this can lead to scarring or pigmentation.

What causes Ingrown hairs to develop?

They can form for a number of reasons, here are just a few

  • Hair removal methods – Waxing, shaving, epilating, plucking, hair removal creams
  • Wearing tight clothing constantly
  • People with thick, coarse curly hair may be more prone

Ingrown hairs can become inflamed, sore and irritate the skin and if not removed properly can lead to permanent scarring.

In which areas are ingrown hairs most common?

Ingrown hairs can develop anywhere on the body but are most commonly found on the following areas as hair tends to be coarse in these areas

  • Face especially beard area
  • Buttocks
  • Bikini line
  • Lower legs
  • Underarms

How to prevent ingrown hairs from forming?

  • Lightly exfoliate the area 3-4 times a week
  • Do not over exfoliate the skin as this can cause ingrown hairs to develop
  • Be gentle with your skin, lightly buff areas don’t overdo it
  • Apply a moisturiser daily to keep the skin hydrated
  • Wear loose clothing regularly
  • Use a solution with salicylic acid to help gradually dissolve dead skin cells

How do you treat an ingrown hair?

  • Do not pick, tug or pull the skin
  • Ensure the skin in the area is clean and that your hands are clean when touching
  • Apply a hot flannel to the skin for a few minutes to soften the top layer of skin
  • If using a tweezer to remove the hair be sure to disinfect the tips first
  • Remove hair slowly from the follicle
  • Apply an antiseptic lotion after removal
  • If you are unable to remove the hair, continue with regular exfoliation techniques until hair has reached the surface
  • If removing an ingrown hair from the face do not apply make up to the area after you have removed the hair

Incorrect removal of ingrown hairs can lead to permanent scarring and pigmentation, it is essential that you follow the correct steps when trying to remove these from the skin.

If hairs in a particular area continually become ingrown, this inflammatory response can lead to long term scarring and leave areas of dark pigmentation.

Does laser hair removal help with ingrown hairs?

Laser hair removal is definitely the best solution to this problem, especially if you have coarse or curly hair and you find you have recurring ingrown hairs.

Because laser is destroying hair follicles at the source the hair itself doesn’t get a chance to become ingrown. Over time hairs becomes thinner and lighter decreasing the likelihood of this happening again. It is important to note that laser is not an overnight solution to this condition but over time it significantly reduces ingrown hairs and prevents them from forming in the first place.

Mens necks

Ingrown hairs (or pseudofolliculitis) is often a cause of great discomfort for many men who regularly shave. When the hair from the front of the neck is shaved the skin often becomes inflamed and ingrown hairs are common. Laser hair removal is an excellent treatment in reducing the inflammation in this area as it reduces quickly the amount of hair on the front of the neck. Often ingrown hairs are a thing of the past even after just a few short laser sessions.

If you would like to find out more about how laser can help significantly reduce the number of ingrown hairs that you may have please contact us today. Our dedicated team of hair removal specialists are on hand to answer any of your questions.