At one point, we've all experienced an ingrown hair. Whether caused by pore-clogging dead skin cells or by the too-close cut of a curly follicle, ingrown hairs can be nasty and uncomfortable. Once hairs begin to grow into the skin, itchy, sometimes even painful bumps form around them. Coarse hairs, like those around the pubic area or on the face for men, are more likely to get trapped in the skin than fine hairs.
You can stop shaving, exfoliate, and moisturize, but for the most part, there's not a whole lot you can do once ingrown hairs develop (unless the hair becomes infected; then you go to the doctor). Instead, be proactive. Try these four natural remedies to eliminate ingrown hair issues before they start:
1. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize
.Keeping your skin moist and pliant goes a long way toward preventing ingrown hairs.Always use a non-greasy moisturizer. Try something with aloe vera or coconut oil, depending on your skin type. Using an apple cider vinegar solution immediately before moisturizing can help reduce skin inflammation, which can lead to ingrown hairs. The mere act of rubbing lotion into the skin will also help get rid of dead skin cells. You are much less lightly to get bumps removing hair from smooth and well-moisturized skin, so make sure to lubricate before, and lotion up after.
Effectively sloughing some of those dead skin cells off can prevent the hairs from growing back into the skin. Try using an exfoliating scrub daily. You can make home-made scrubs by:
- Combining sugar with olive oil or honey A simple, effective scrub.
- Mixing mashed strawberries with honey. Strawberries contain salicylic acid, which will prevent bumps.
- Dissolving baking soda into water Best used after washing, when the skin is soft.
For some, an exfoliation glove might be the answer. Kind of like a combination between a shower towel and a loofa, an exfoliation glove can be used in the shower, and gives you to ability to choose how deeply you exfoliate depending on the pressure you use. Even rubbing the face or other affected area in a circular motion with a warm wet towel before shaving can help tease out stubborn hairs.
3. Shave Smart
We shave to smooth our skin, but shaving is actually the cause of many ingrown hairs. After an unfortunate shaving experience, celebrity Mo’Nique, was left traumatized. Today, she actually doesn’t shave her legs at all. Maybe that’s for you as well. There are plenty well-known celebrities that endorse quitting shaving altogether.
If you’re not that keen on the idea, just make certain your razor is sharp. A brilliant solution to ingrown hair problems is a high-end electric razor. You can shave with the grain and it works perfectly. A single-bladed razor will also give you the cleanest shave, and is the least likely to cause ingrown hairs.
Moisturize and/or lather the skin before you begin shaving. You will always want to clean the razor in between strokes to lessen the chance of infection. The fewer strokes needed, the better.
4. Use an Alternative Method
As mentioned, shaving sometimes creates ingrown hairs. Luckily, we have many options for hair removal that are less likely to wreak havoc on your skin. Expensive laser hair removal or electrolysis are out of reach for most of us, and it’s not that of a good way to go about your hair anyway, Cameron Diaz says. Instead, we can wax or use an epilator on the affected areas. Waxing, although painful in the moment, will last longer than a shave. A trip to the salon will do the trick, but we recommend taking care of business at home, the natural way.
Make an all-natural wax by combining a tablespoon each of honey, sugar, and lemon, and then heating the combination slowly over a double boiler. First, trim your hairs so they are no longer 1/4 millimeter long, and then apply a small amount of corn starch to the areas you are going to wax. Use a large spoon to cover strips of skin at a time, gently pat down waxing cloth, and rip away in the opposite direction of your hair growth.
Like waxing, using an epilator removes hairs starting at the follicle. An epilator looks like an electric razor, but actually contains dozens of tiny tweezers that quickly pluck hairs. A benefit to this method instead of waxing is that you can epilate hairs that are less than a millimeter long.So there you have it: Four remedies to ward off future ingrown hairs. Be smart and vigilant, and you can nip this nuisance in the bud.
Author bio: Amanda Wilks is an editor and frequent guest blogger. She’s a reviewing contributor for Shaving Machine and a natural living advocate. For picking her brain, go to Twitter @AmandaWilks01.