When I was in university, I first lived in an all-girl’s dormitory, and then moved in with female friends. Prior to moving out of Mom and Dad’s house, I was pretty unaware of the multitude of weird (and icky) beauty practices and blunders that women deal with. One of the "ickier" things I experienced my girlfriends dealing with was ingrown hairs. Call it a blessing, but it’s something I’ve only dealt with once or twice in my life but I’ve watched - and disgustingly, I have helped - girlfriends tweeze, pick and otherwise suffer over an ingrown hair.
An ingrown hair occurs when a hair has curled or “grown back” into the skin. They are generally irritating and can (from the words of a friend) hurt like "a son of a bitch." So I can understand why gals (and guys) would try to remedy the problem by getting that sucker out of their skin. Ingrown hairs aren’t the same as razor bumps, by the way, but they both suck and can pop up together or separately.
Aside from being irritating and painful, ingrown hairs can also be quite serious if they become infected (and then they're even less pretty). Since I don't want you to get an ingrown hair or razor bumps, I would recommend taking these steps to avoid them:
Unfortunately, even if you take all kinds of preventative measures there is no guarantee that you won’t end up with an ingrown hair. While it can be tempting to pick at the ingrown hair and try to pull it out, you open yourself up to scarring and infection. Instead, try one of these gentle, DIY remedies to treat your next pesky ingrown hair.
Honey is naturally hydrating, with antiseptic and antibacterial properties while aspirin actually contains salicylic acid (which is exfoliating). Together, the two will help ward off infection and reduce swelling.
A tea tree oil soak will help open up your pores, loosening your ingrown hair and helping to reduce inflammation. How? Tea tree oil is filled with antibacterial, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, which is why it’s so popular in acne products.
One of my health, food and beauty staples happens to be coconut oil! Anti-fungal and anti-bacterial, coconut oil also happens to be super hydrating. When combined with sugars, this scrub will gently exfoliate and help you prevent future ingrown hairs while treating the one you have.
A cool compress immediately after shaving can also help you prevent ingrown hairs, while a nice warm compress - even without tea tree oil - will help you open your pores and loosen an existing ingrown hair. Avoid wearing tight-fitting clothes immediately after shaving or waxing and let the skin breathe.
If you suffer from ingrown hairs, and have a great DIY treatment to share, please leave it in the comments below!