Prevent Ingrown Hairs From ShavingWritten by Advice Team on August 9, 2018
It’s that time of the year again where we’ve taken to shaving more regularly and with the heatwave that’s swept across Great Britain, less hair seems more appealing than ever before. We’ve seen a rise in the purchase of body trimmers and hair clippers and more concern when it comes to skin irritations and ingrown hairs.
What is an ingrown hair?
It shouldn’t be surprising to hear that many men are affected by ingrown hairs. Some don’t know what they are or even notice they’ve got them, and many have given up on trying to prevent them at all. They’ve just become the norm - but they don’t need to be.
An ingrown hair is a hair that’s curled and growing sideways under the skin. They often cause irritation, unsightly raised bumps that look sore and can sometimes be painful or itchy.
Skin type and ingrown hair
Skin type can play a big factor when it comes to ingrown hairs, but the sensitive skin will always be the most familiar with hair bumps and skin irritations from shaving. Most men will find they encounter ingrown hairs on their face, neck and groin area. Black and Hispanic men will also find they’re the most susceptible to ingrown hairs due to their hair being coarser and sometimes curlier too.
How to prevent ingrown hairs and hair bumps
Exfoliation is key when it comes to preventing ingrown hairs. Dead skin cells cover the first layer of skin and hair that is prone to curl will trap itself beneath. When you’ve shaved, skin is prone to growing over hair follicles and if the hair is too fine to break through, that’s when it’ll continuing to grow beneath the skin and cause an ingrown hair.
That’s when exfoliation comes into its own - whether it’s using a product that’s specifically made to deal with exfoliation or using a dry scrubbing sponge, mitt or loofah - all actively scrub the skin when used to remove dead skin cells. If you regularly exfoliate in the shower or bath, you’ll prepare your skin for hair growth and it’ll leave it looking clearer and polished too.
Don’t use a dry exfoliate (like that of a loofah, brush or dry sponge) like a towel - that will only lead to irritation. You won’t need to do it more than once a week (on the face) or once to twice a week on the rest of the body. Apply in gentle circular motions to buff skin and avoid scrubbing.
One of the biggest culprits of causing ingrown hairs is your electric shaver or cartridge razor blades not being sharp enough. We’ve all been there and used a blade a little longer than we should have. A typical cartridge razors’ blades last no more than a week and on average you should be changing the foil or rotary blades on an electric shaver every 18-months.
If you prefer wet shaving then a big factor in preventing ingrown hairs is using a shaving brush. Whilst they might appear like an unnecessary addon - they’re actually very good at their job and many barbers still use brushes for cut-throat shaves. A brush builds up a lather for protection but it also teases the hair to stand up and not lay flat to the skin. That stops the hair from finding its way beneath the skin and causing hair bumps.
Unfortunately, ingrown hairs can’t be cured and will always be prone to reappearing. Doing your best to manage them and work on ways to prevent them is a sure fire way to keep them at bay. Keeping your skin healthy with exfoliation, clean and well-moisturised, will always help in the prevention of skin irritation and keep it looking clear.