Ingrown hairs: what to do (+my solution)

(Last Updated On: January 1, 2020)

What can you do about ingrowing hairs? It had been driving me crazy for years: as soon as I shaved my legs, I got a lot of ingrowing hairs on my legs. So annoying, because for me that meant that as soon as I started wearing maxi dresses and maxidresses again in the summer. But… after a few years of hassle with ingrown hairs on my legs, I found the remedy. And guess what… I actually had it in my collection for years!

An ingrown hair can start to irritate and cause pain, inflammation, infections and scars. That’s why I have listed everything about ingrown hair below: Causes (how do ingrown hairs develop), consequences and treatments (what can you do against ingrown hairs?). Plus, I’ll also give you a lot of practical tips on how to remedy and prevent ingrown hair yourself…

How do ingrown hairs develop?

But let’s start at the beginning: how do ingrown hairs develop and why does it bother you so much? You can get ingrown hairs in these body zones:

  • legs
    armpits
    face (moustache, eyebrows, beard…)
    groin area
    genital area
    …actually wherever you depilate or shave your body…

What are ingrowing hairs?

We distinguish 2 different types of ingrowing hairs. But what are these ingrowing hairs actually? Well, those are dots that grow back and don’t get through the surface of the skin anymore. These hairs are, so to speak, ‘stuck’ in your skin and can’t get through. Especially if you pick them (hello, guilty!), a bacterial infection can follow. Usually this goes well, the re-growth of your hair, but very sometimes you have a hair that remains stuck.

There is another kind of ingrown hair, namely after shaving (the razor bump). This hair does grow back outside, but then returns to your skin. This is a re-ingrown hair. It’s just a matter of making things a bit more complicated… This hair will be seen by your body as an intruder, and so there will be an inflammatory reaction with this kind of ingrown hair as well. This is the kind of hair you see the most after a shave.

What causes ingrown hairs?

You know what an ingrown hair is, but what actually causes it? And how can you do that quickly and efficiently yourself? There are several causes that can lead to ingrown hair:

Your razor is blunt

This is one of the most common causes of ingrown hairs: your razor is blunt! Actually, you already notice it when you’re shaving your skin: it doesn’t go so smoothly and you have to make more effort to get your skin beautifully clean-shaven. The hairs aren’t cut straight, but fray a little after they’ve been shaved off. This way, once the hairs start to grow again, they can grow out much more easily. That’s why disposable razor blades are never a good idea to use: standard they are used too long and are blunt faster than the more expensive razor blades. Not to mention all the plastic waste you produce with them…

You shave against the hair growth

Another big no-no: shave against the direction of the hair. I know, in all those commercials they shave against the direction of hair growth, so do we. I have to say, I’ve been doing that for years. Until my dermatologist told me: it’s really bad to shave against the direction of hair growth! You try to shave so smooth but it irritates the skin that way. It’s much better to shave with the hair growth direction, your skin is a bit stubbier but that way you avoid a lot of ingrowth-hair misery!

You’re trying to get a close shave

As I explained above: if you try to shave against the direction, you are guaranteed to get misery later on. Plus: wanting to shave too close also causes ingrowing hairs. How do you do that? Well, if you shave too close, you shave the hairs all the way from beneath the skin’s surface. The hairs that want to grow back afterwards are so far below the skin’s surface that they find it harder to find a way to grow back out of the skin.

Your razor has too many blades

Also very harmful to your skin and a major cause of ingrown hairs: too often shave the same piece of skin. And maybe you ‘only’ shave a certain piece of skin twice with your razor, nowadays there are a lot of blades that have 3-4 blades in 1: just calculate how often you actually shave your skin. Try to shave with such a razor in 1 time, or switch to a razor with fewer blades.

You’re using an irritating shaving product

All those types of shaving foam they sell in stores, you don’t really need to shave your skin at all! However, it’s finer for your skin to be shaved when it’s a little moist, and a moisturizing product can help prevent a lot of inflammation. Dry shaving is almost never a good idea.
Why aren’t shaving foams etc. good? They’re full of foaming substances that dry out your skin anyway. Besides, you just don’t need them either: this is a form of marketing.

You have too many dead skin cells

This is something I suffer from, I also suffer from keratosis pilaris. This causes my skin to produce dead skin cells faster than normal, but they are more difficult to remove. So you get all kinds of bumps on your arms, legs,… If you suffer from it just like me, I have the solution for you! Since I also use the BHA 2% of Paula’s Choice after shaving (but only one day later), I have found the solution for myself against ingrowing hairs, keratosis pilaris bumps,… Truly a top product!
I wouldn’t advise you to use a lot of ordinary scrubs: they often damage your skin. Plus, there are often microplastics in those scrubs and you pay way too much money for whatever it is. Wouldn’t you like a fine scrub? Mix sugar with a little olive oil and apply it. After shaving don’t scrub with a salt scrub!

You use disposable razors

Disposable razor blades… that’s out of date, isn’t it? Literally wasted money! These knives are often of inferior quality and therefore need to be replaced very quickly. In addition, they produce a lot of unnecessary plastic waste. It’s better to invest in a more expensive, better razor or look at a razor without plastic waste (and, maybe even more important, without pink tax because it’s ‘especially for women’). I now use a unisex safety razor and am very happy with it.

Your clothing is too tight

Wearing clothes that are too tight can also lead to ingrowing hairs. Fortunately, this can be remedied quickly!

Your skin is not clean enough

If you don’t wash and exfoliate your skin well enough, a ‘layer’ will remain on your skin. As a result, a growing hair can’t grow out well enough, so it’s faster…

Your skin rubs against clothing

Actually, this also has to do with wearing clothes that are too tight.

You’re pulling out the hairs

If you epilate the hairs instead of shaving, you can suffer from ingrowing hairs much faster. This is because you pull the hairs all the way out and they have to find their way all the way back. This gives you an extra chance of ingrowing hairs. When shaving, there is much less chance of this.

You shave one piece of skin too often

What to do about ingrown hairs (my solution)

I used to scrub my legs very often, but to be honest: even that didn’t help me that much against the ingrowing hairs… I read in many women’s magazines that it should help, to be honest it didn’t do anything for me at all!

What helped me tremendously is this product from Paula’s Choice: the BHA 2% lotion! I already used it on my face and to prevent bumps on my arms, but it also proved to work very well against ingrown hairs on my legs!

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Pay attention if you buy second-hand make-up (fake make-up on Ebay, Craigslist, AliExpress,…).

How much of your make-up and skincare is expired?

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