Yes, ingrown hairs are common, and no, that doesn’t make it any easier to accept when it happens to you. Otherwise known as those unsightly red bumps marring the perfection of your otherwise smooth skin, ingrown hairs are an unfortunate side effect of body hair – both its growth and removal.
In a perfect world ingrown hairs wouldn’t exist and waxing would be painless. In reality, it is possible to prevent these annoying blemishes – and make waxing less painful – by sticking to a strict regimen of exfoliation, hydration and regular waxing treatments. Don’t even think of shaving.
The below tips will hopefully help you prevent ingrown hairs in the future.
Exfoliating and Moisturising for Prevention
Starting 24 hours after waxing, lightly exfoliate your face and body with a scrub selected for your skin type. Body scrubs range from super natural, sugar-based scrubs to medicinal scrubs created to tackle specific skin conditions. Whichever way you lean, pick a scrub and use it regularly according to the product directions.
After exfoliating, follow-up with a light-to-heavy moisturiser depending on your skin type and the season. The idea is to hydrate your skin, not drown it. Stay away from heavy, petroleum-based lotions and gels at all times. Just like your exfoliating products and other beauty potions, choose the right body moisturiser for your skin type. Once you’ve found the right one, don’t let it sit unopened in your bathroom cabinet. Use it routinely to get the best results.
If you know you’re prone to developing those pesky ingrown hairs, go one step further and apply an ingrown hair prevention treatment product.
Inhibiting hair growth serums and gels are gaining popularity in the fight to prevent ingrown hairs and lengthen the time between waxing. The over-the-counter treatments slow hair growth and thin the hair so new growth is less coarse and waxing is easier.
After Waxing: The First 24 Hours
Keep just-waxed skin calm, cool and collected. Stay out of hot water –take a shower rather than a bath – and shield skin from direct sunlight and sweat. Wear loose fitting clothing after you wax to allow skin to breathe. With the exception of after-wax lotions and gels, don’t apply moisturiser or cosmetics to try and soothe the skin. Humid conditions caused by heat, sweat and creams clog newly opened pores and can lead to ingrown hairs.
Treating Ingrown Hairs
Just like acne, ingrown hairs should be treated gently or you run the risk of infection and damage to the skin. No picking! No matter how tempting it is to try and remove the ingrown hairs or abolish the red spots they turn into, you must not pick at them!
If the hair is right at the surface of the skin use sterilized tweezers to remove it. If it’s already under the skin, soften the area with a warm, wet compress before gently exfoliating. Follow up with a treatment product and give it some room. Repeat daily until the ingrown hair works its way out and you can safely remove it with your sterilized tweezers.