There’s nothing pleasant about an ingrown hair. They look bad, they feel bad and they itch like no one’s business. And those things turn up everywhere. On your face, your neck, your eyebrows and even your pubic area.
What causes ingrown hairs, and do you know how to prevent ingrown hairs on men’s faces? Read on to find out everything you need to know about ingrown hairs – for men only.
WHAT CAUSES INGROWN HAIRS?
An ingrown hair is pretty simple. It’s just a hair that’s been cut shorter than the skin around it. As the hair begins to grow, it’s unable to push through the epidermis (top layer of skin) where it’s supposed to.
Instead, that hair just keeps growing – under your skin. Ingrown hairs can get pretty long. Just look at YouTube and you’ll see what we mean. But whether your ingrown hair is just a few millimeters or it’s grown to several inches, one thing’s fact: they’re obnoxious.
So what causes ingrown hairs? There are a few causes, actually. First, and most commonly, ingrown hairs are caused by shaving your skin in the wrong direction.
Many men think that, by shaving their hair against the grain, they’ll get a smoother, closer shave. Well, that’s only kind of true. Your shave will be closer – too close. Shaving against the direction of your hair growth actually tugs on the hairs. So your hair will be slightly pulled, then cut, then it’ll retract back under your skin. The end result? Ingrown hairs. (And razor bumps.)
Very coarse hair can cause ingrown hairs, too. It’s just something that naturally happens, unfortunately. We’ll take a look at a few ways to prevent ingrown hairs if you’ve got naturally curly, thick or coarse hair.
Pushing too hard on your razor is a sure-fire way to end up with ingrown hairs. Again, by doing this you’re cutting your hair too short – below skin level. When your hair begins to grow back, there’s a good chance it’s an ingrown hair.
The last common cause of ingrown hairs is shaving without proper lubricant. If you shave without using a shaving cream or other lube, you’re at real risk of ingrown hairs.
HOW TO PREVENT INGROWN HAIRS?
So, you know what causes ingrown hair. How do you prevent ingrown hairs from becoming a problem?
First of all, to prevent men’s ingrown hairs while shaving, shave the right way! Always shave with the grain – in the direction your hair naturally grows. This goes for every single body part. Whether you’re shaving your face, your pubic area or even your legs, shave in the “direction of least resistance.”
You can also use an electric razor. The best electric razor for ingrown hairs men have the most success with is one with a higher cutting speed. This reduces the number of strokes you’ll make with your razor and will cut your hair right the first time. Of course, you’ll need to maintain your blades to ensure you won’t be pushing down on your skin.
Next, be sure you’re always using the right lubricants. Use a shaving skin that’s compatible with your skin type while you shave. Then, apply a moisturizing lotion to nourish and hydrate your skin afterward.
Finally, you could just choose to keep a five o’clock shadow. Obviously, keeping your hair at a longer length will all but eliminate ingrown hair, and it looks great, too!
Now, if you’ve got naturally coarse hair (or if you’re shaving your genital area) you may be more prone to ingrown hairs. The best thing for you to do? Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. And exfoliate! By keeping your skin supple and clear of dead cells, you’re ahead of curve when it comes to preventing ingrown hairs.
TREATING INGROWN HAIRS?
If you happen to be unfortunate enough to have gotten ingrown hairs when shaving, you’re probably pretty anxious to find a treatment. Thankfully, taking care of the ingrown hair problem isn’t hard.
There are a few men’s ingrown hair treatment options, and many of them don’t involve any special medication. Let’s take a look to those, but first, let’s talk about what not to do.
Ingrown facial hair removal is tricky. Don’t tweeze or pull at your ingrown hairs. It may be tempting to just pull the thing right out at its root, but please try to resist that temptation. You could end up infecting the site of the ingrown hair. It’s also possible you could scar your skin.
So what should you do? Well, the first weapon in every man’s ingrown hair arsenal is exfoliation. Exfoliation removes the dead skin cells from your face (or other parts) and allows your ingrown hair to break through the surface of your skin. Exfoliation is something you should do two to three times each week, anyway. Doing so will help prevent ingrown hairs.
You can choose a chemical or a physical exfoliant. Make sure to explore our guide for more information on the benefits of exfoliation.
There are two very simple ways to get rid of ingrown hair, other than exfoliation. First, apply warm compresses to your face. This will open your pores and allow your hair to grow away from your skin.
You could also just stop shaving there for a few days, allowing your hair to grow back out.
Finally, there are over the counter remedies available for ingrown hairs like Retinoids, which help clear the way for your ingrown hair to grow out. They also thin the skin just a bit, preventing your hair from digging further into your follicles.
Ingrown hairs are painful and itchy. They look bad, and if left alone they could even become infected. You can prevent them, though!
Shave the right way, every time. Shave with shaving cream, and apply a moisturizer afterward. And be sure to exfoliate a few times each week. By following those simple steps, and by using quality shaving gear, it would be surprising if you ever got an ingrown hair again!