Ingrown hairs (sometimes known as razor bumps) are super common, so it’s very likely that you’ve experienced them at some point in your life. The small but pesky bumps can crop up anywhere, from legs to bikini line, armpits, and face, and typically develop when a hair curls back in on itself or grows sideways after being shaved incorrectly. Ingrown hairs can be sore, itchy, uncomfortable, and hard to get rid of – so what’s the best way to stop them from appearing?
Ultimately, prevention is better than cure – follow these nine easy tips to keep ingrown hairs at bay, once and for all.
Heat your skin
Shaving should take place in the shower, since heat and water help to soften skin and loosen pores – vital for achieving a smooth, safe shave. Soft, wet skin allows the blade to move without catching, which reduces the risk of irritation and ensures that all hairs are extracted properly.
Exfoliate before shaving
Exfoliating also helps to smooth your skin before shaving and works to remove the dead skin that clogs pores and blocks hair follicles, causing ingrown hairs by forcing the hair to grow sideways. For best results, massage each area in circular motions for around 30 seconds before rinsing clean. Ensure that all exfoliating particles are thoroughly removed before shaving to prevent them from clogging your blade.
Let your hair grow before shaving it
Shaving too often causes hair to grow with a sharper edge, which can more easily poke back into the skin and cause an ingrown hair. Skin can also become irritated if you try to shave it when the hair is too short, so it’s important not to over shave.
Use a sharp, clean blade
Regularly cleaning and replacing your blades will mean you continue to get a smooth, clean shave, as well as reducing the risk of ingrown hairs. Disposable razors aren’t built for long-term use so the blades will dull quickly, resulting in a bumpy, uneven shave that increases chance of ingrown hairs. If you can, stock up on spare razor heads so you’re not tempted to use the same one too many times.
Always use shaving cream or gel
It’s important to use a shaving cream or gel in order to give the extra slip and smoothness needed to prevent blades from dragging on and irritating skin. If you’re all out, use a shower gel or hair conditioner as a temporary substitute.
Shave in the direction of hair growth
Although shaving against the direction of hair growth can initially result in a closer, smoother shave, it’s much more likely to irritate the skin and trigger ingrown hairs as the hair is cut at an angle that can cause them to grow under skin. Follow the direction of hair growth as much as you can.
Don’t shave too close
As well as following the direction of hair growth when you shave, it’s important to go easy on your skin by limiting the amount of times you shave each area. In addition, be gentle when you shave – pressing too hard or shaving too quickly will cause irritation and ingrown hairs.
Hydrate your skin after shaving
The aftercare is super important, since dry skin and razor burn are super common after shaving, causing irritation that can worsen ingrown hairs. Make sure your skin is kept hydrated and nourished with moisture in order to soothe irritation and help broken skin to heal faster.
It’s just as important to keep exfoliating after shaving as it is to exfoliate beforehand. A gentle daily scrub or a wash containing a mild exfoliant like lactic acid will keep hair follicles free from the buildup that prevents hair from growing straight.
The Best Products For Preventing Ingrown Hairs
This shelfie-worthy bottle contains a blend of natural ingredients chosen for their ability to soothe and heal skin that’s experiencing ingrown hairs and irritation. It includes coconut oil to soften skin, tea tree to clear pores, tamanu oil to promote healing, and chamomile, a calming anti-inflammatory – accompanied by an exfoliating mitt to exfoliate targeted areas.
Gentle enough to be used in sensitive areas such as the face and pubic area, this triple-action scrub contains both physical and chemical exfoliants (jojoba beads and glycolic and lactic acids) as well as fruit enzymes, which all work together to effectively smooth skin and break down the buildup clogging hair follicles.