How to Prevent Ingrown Hair

June 8, 2019
The best way to prevent ingrown hairs is by simply not shaving or waxing. Body hair is not just there for aesthetic reasons: it serves as protection for the skin.

Ingrown hair is hair that’s been removed and grow back beneath the skin. When this happens, it usually causes some slight pain and inflammation. Bumps will also appear where the hair follicle is.

Ingrown hairs can affect any person who removes body hair. It does not matter if you remove hair with a razor, tweezers, or wax. They happen more frequently when coarser hair is removed, like in a man’s beard. With that said, anyone can have an ingrown hair anywhere on the body where hair has been removed. They can occur on the face, scalp, armpits, arms, pubic area, and legs.

While these hairs do not usually pose any risk whatsoever, they can be quite annoying.

Why Does Ingrown Hair Happen?

ingrown hair types
The structure of the hair follicle affects ingrown hairs.

The factor that determines ingrown hairs is the structure of the hair itself and the direction in which it grows. For example, curved hair follicles make it easier for the hair to re-enter the skin after removing it.

When some hair begins to grown again, it grows beneath the skin. Some of these hairs are very sharp after shaving. This tends to happen particularly when the hair is dry at the time of shaving.

When removing hairs with tweezers, you are more likely to develop ingrown hairs. This is because small fragments of the hair are usually left behind and then begin to grown underneath the skin. In addition, there is more likelihood of developing ingrown hairs when the skin is taught or tightened before and during hair removal.

Also read: 6 Recommendations for the Prevention of Ingrown Hairs

The Best Way to Prevent Ingrown Hair

The best way to prevent ingrown hairs is by not removing hair. Human beings have hair on every surface of the body except for the soles of the feet, the palms of the hands, and in the mucous membranes. It is there to protect the skin and not for aesthetic purposes.

Hair protects the body from dust, dirt, the sun, and the wind. It also plays an important role in defending against bacteria and other microorganisms. Additionally, it helps insulate the body and regulate body temperature.

woman shaving
Hair removal alters the natural growth of hair and increases the likelihood of developing ingrown hairs.

The hair on our body also absorbs sweat so that it does not cause any skin irritations or rashes. It also redirects sweat to other areas of the body that need it more or to dry other areas.

As mentioned before, hair removal affects the natural growth of hair and avoiding hair removal is the best way to avoid ingrown hairs.

We also recommend: 5 Natural Solutions for Ingrown Hairs

How to Prevent Ingrown Hair

Many people don’t want to simply stop removing hair. Therefore, there are still some preventive measures to prevent ingrown hairs even when removing hair.

The most recommended methods to decrease the likelihood of developing ingrown hairs include:

  • Exfoliate regularly. This allows your pores to remain clean and hydrates your skin. This also makes hair removal easier and gives you smoother results.
  • Hydrate your skin well. When you don’t drink enough water, your skin becomes tougher and drier. This makes it difficult for the hair to break through the skin and grow correctly.
  • Prepare your skin with warm water before hair removal. Before removing hair, you should moisten your skin with warm water. This helps the pores open and lowers the likelihood of ingrown hairs developing.
  • Moisturize. It’s a good idea to apply a gel or moisturizing cream before shaving. This moisturizes the skin and softens the hair.
  • Use the right blade. It’s best not to use the same razor more than three times. The razor becomes dull and can damage the skin. There is no concrete evidence that the more blades a razor has the better. Each person should try a few different types of razors and decide which one is best for him or her.
  • Keep frequency in mind. It’s recommended to shave every day to prevent ingrown hairs. If this is not possible, you should shave as frequently as possible.
  • Shave properly. You should shave in the same direction that the hair grows. This does not alter the natural growth of the hair as much as shaving against the hair growth.
  • Don’t tighten the skin. You should avoid tightening the skin during hair removal. This causes the hair to retract and become ingrown once the skin loosens.
  • Clean properly. After shaving, the razor should be rinsed. You should also rinse the area that was shaved very well then apply lotion to the area.
  • Zaballos, P., Ara, M., Rodero, J., Grasa, M. P., Agurruza, J. M., Carapeto, F. J., & Seral, C. (2002). Foliculitis postdepilación por Mycobacterium chelonae. Actas Dermo-Sifiliográficas, 93(4), 259-262.