What is an ingrown hair?
An ingrown hair is a hair that becomes trapped in the follicle. They form when either a layer of skin grows over the follicle opening trapping the hair within the follicle or as the 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 are often seen as the same condition when in fact they are different.
What do they 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 they can lead to scarring or pigmentation.
Ingrown hairs can become inflamed, sore and irritate the skin and if not removed properly can lead to permanent scarring.
What areas are they 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
- Bikini line
- Lower legs
How to prevent these 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
- 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.
Does laser hair removal help with ingrown hairs?
Laser hair removal is definitely the best solution to this problem especially if you have coarse, curly hair. Over time if hairs in a particular area continually become ingrown this inflammatory response can lead to long term scarring and leave areas of dark pigmentation. 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.
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 consultations are completely free of charge and take approx 30 minutes.