Why, when we all know the obvious benefits of waxing by now, does the almighty ingrown hair stump us?
Firstly, what is an ingrown hair? Although annoying, an ingrown hair is usually a good sign that your therapist has done a proper job of removing the entire hair from the root whilst waxing. What happens when you remove the hair from the root is when it starts to grow back, it is weaker than before. Much weaker than when shaving anyway. Your skin has had plenty of time to heal itself and have it’s cells go back to normal before the new hair underneath has time to poke out. Most hairs find their way back out through the maze of fresh skin cells, but some don’t. They find their way up, then head back down, and start to grow in a spiral because it’s the only way they can move.
Some of these hairs can become infected, this is the body’s way of trying to dislodge them. These are the pimple-like ingrowns that many people get, which are prone to areas with a higher concentration of sebaceous glands (which is the face, the bikini area, and underarms).
For those of you who have given up on waxing, or are getting frustrated with persistent ingrowns, here is a few tips to help get rid of them;
- keep it consistent; start waxing and stick with it. Don’t jump between. Most skins will start to get used to it, and start to ingrow much less, with consistency.
- Immediately after waxing; or that night rather, use an alcohol-free soothing toner on the area – ideally one for sensitive skins or repairing (look for witch hazel, aloe or camomile), and moisturise.
- Moisture, moisture! We are often told to exfoliate the area, but we need to remember that moisturised skin is healthy skin, and hairs under healthy skin tend to not ingrow as much (as the replaced skin cell balance is it’s optimum level, which is friendly to ingrown hairs). Look for moisture that contains soothing ingredients, especially for post-waxing. Ongoing, the soothing ingredients will help to prevent flared, red lumpy ingrowns.
- Exfoliate. Use your dry body brush before (and after) the shower, but ensuring you always moisturise afterwards. For more delicate areas, use your regular face exfoliant. Only start to exfoliate about 2-3 days after waxing, and always scrub gently – irritation via scrubbing (like from my last post) can make ingrown hairs flare up.
- If your ingrowns are persistent, continue to use your soothing toner on the area, and invest in a pimple treatment cream (look for one that doesn’t dry out, and that has soothing ingredients also).
- This is where I might shock you… by counteracting all beauty therapists’ advice, ever… give it a little squeeze. Now, don’t go crazy, don’t squeeze it until it turns blue… simply, with a sterilised pin, gently nick the very top off your persistent ingrown (this is only recommended for ingrowns that have been around for more than a week) and give it a little squeeze. It doesn’t matter if nothing comes out, the movement will help to stimulate it to heal on it’s own. If you do decide to squeeze, apply your soothing toner beforehand to help sterilise the area, and after, too. Then pop on your pimple cream or a healing ointment straight after.
Before you jump on the razor wagon, persist in ridding your ingrown hairs… it’s worth it!