New high-tech razors make shaving a dream. A little later, they give legs the closest shave ever. No stubble! But you do have a line of tiny blemishes on your left calf. What did you do wrong? You probably shaved too close, and the result is ingrown hair. An ingrown hair occurs in one of two ways. When you shave too close, you can nick the top of the hair follicle and cause it to become partially obstructed.
That forces the hair inside to grow at an angle. Eventually instead of growing straight up through the hair follicle. The hair pierces the side of the follicle and buries itself in your skin and your skin reacts by setting up an inflammation that may appear as a tiny red bump. An ingrown hair can also occur when an individual hair grows straight up out of a follicle, then curls back down and re-enters the follicle.
Women with thick, curly hair are particularly prone to this latter type of ingrown hair. But anybody who shaves any part of her body uses wax to remove unwanted hair or plucks rather than trim hair. That appears on her chin, is also likely to get ingrown hair. Ingrown hairs are also common around the upper, inner thigh also known as the bikini line.
Sometimes because of rubbing that occurs in that area, the follicles close up a bit, which tends to encourage the hair to bend and grow through the side of the follicle rather than straight up through what’s left of the opening.
Taming Errant Hairs
Fortunately, ingrown hairs can be cleared up within a week or two here’s what doctors suggest. Use an antibacterial bar. To help clear up the inflammation, wash the ingrown hair area twice a day with an antibacterial soap containing benzoyl peroxide found at your local chemist.
Most Ingrown Hairs straighten out within a week or two. If an ingrown hair persists or becomes infected, check with your doctor. You may need medication to clear up the infection and prevent scarring.
Dab on some cortisone cream. Apply an over-the-counter hydrocortisone preparation around the ingrown hair according to package directions. It will soothe any inflammation and speed healing. Change your blade. If ingrown hairs are inflamed and infected change your razor blade each time you shave until the ingrown hair is gone. Otherwise, you can reinfect yourself.
Preventing future problems, As with many skin problems preventing ingrown hair is fairly simple, here’s what women doctors suggest. Shave doesn’t wax. If you’re prone to ingrown hairs, remove unwanted hair by shaving rather than waxing. Waxing is traumatic, it rips out your hair at an angle.
When the hair grows back, it grows back at the same angle instead of growing straight up, piercing the side of the air follicle instead of reaching the opening on the surface of your skin. Try to protect your hair follicles by keeping a barrier of moisture between you and the blade. You can use the expensive foams and gels if you like, but a mild soap like Cetaphil will also do the job.
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