There’s nothing like a fresh wax to put you in the best spirits, especially when you visit a professional wax studio. However, as satisfying and self-rewarding as getting fresh smooth skin is, discovering itchy and annoying ingrown hair is a sure-fire way to put a damper on your good mood. Many times ingrown hairs are a result of poor skincare maintenance or inexperienced care during or after your wax. The good news is, preventing ingrown hairs from happening is not only possible, but it’s easy, as long as you are willing to uphold your commitment to good skin care practices.
Although ingrown hair may not happen after every waxing session, no one wants to be stuck with itchy, irritated skin. Here’s what you need to know about ingrown hairs and what you can do to prevent them.
What Are Ingrown Hairs?
Women and men who groom around their bikini and private areas are more prone to be affected by ingrown hair. Ingrown hairs appear when a strand of hair curls into the skin and grows in the wrong direction after waxing. Ingrown hairs can occur as a result of the hair not completely being removed after you wax. The remaining hair reverts under the skin and starts to grow beneath the surface. As a result, the ingrown hair will create small, flesh-colored or reddish pimple-like bumps on your skin, which can be itchy and can cause redness, swelling, irritation, and pain especially in those intimate areas.
What Causes Ingrown Hair?
When you wax, your hair is being removed by being uprooted from the follicle. Because of this, there are times when the hair may regrow inward, rather than the outward, “normal” growth pattern. Although ingrown hairs are much more common due to shaving with a razor, ingrown hair after waxing happens when the hair doesn’t break the skin’s surface or when the hair grows back into the skin. You will find that ingrown hair will typically take place in areas where the hair is thicker, like the underarms, legs or the bikini line. This is because cut hairs can more easily curl back into the skin when the hair is dense and curly. Even though those are the most common areas, ingrown hair can happen anywhere the hair is removed.
How Can I prevent Ingrown Hair?
If you do experience ingrown hairs you’ll be counting the days until the pain and redness subside. Unfortunately, there is no set time frame for how long it takes ingrown hairs to go away. Factors like your skin type, your hair type, and even how irritated your skin has become, all contribute to the longevity of ingrown hair. You can also see a longer healing time if you constantly scratch or disturb the area. We encourage you to be proactive and not reactive. This means practicing proper before and after skin care between your waxing appointments. The care you receive can also be a huge factor of the amount and the intensity of your ingrown hairs. A consistent skincare regimen will help to prevent those pesky hairs from showing up in the first place.
Leave the waxing to a professional
While it may be trendy or alluring to try to DIY your waxes, you should always consider leaving your waxing needs in the hands of a licensed professional. Licensed professionals are trained and experienced for this kind of situation, so they will be able to provide you with personalized care and recommendations. There is also the chance you may cause the hair to damage and break instead of being pulled out and this can seriously cause skin irritation, ingrown hairs, and even infections.
Getting rid of the top and dead layers of your skin can stop the hair from becoming trapped underneath the skin. Rather than waiting for the ingrown hairs to happen, deal with them by gently exfoliating as a preventative measure. By exfoliating, you speed up the natural process of shedding your outer layer, which happens at a much slower pace normally. Regularly exfoliating the areas you get waxed will strip away dead skin cells and prevent clogged pores and ingrown hair. As a best practice, you should exfoliate the areas that will be waxed at least two days before and three days after your appointment.
Dry skin will cause the hair to break at the surface level rather than be removed from the follicle. As a result, the hair will regrow and easily break and curl under the skin causing ingrown hair. Keep your skin nourished, and hydrated frequently to prevent the hair from breaking at the surface level during your body waxing. You should also keep your skin hydrated and moisturized after your session so the hair will grow back healthier than before. Moisturize the skin until the day before your wax to keep the area hydrated.
A proper moisturizer, like a lotion or body oil, is recommended for daily use to loosen dead skin that can create ingrown hair. After your bath or shower apply a generous amount to all areas on the body. However, do not over moisturize places like your genital area, as it is already naturally moist.
Consider Your Clothing
Also, be mindful that what you wear can affect the appearance and growth of ingrown hairs. Following your wax, you should wear breathable, loose-fitting clothing to help your skin breathe, as tight-fitting clothing can actually force your hair to grow back into the skin instead of outward. Giving your newly waxed area the opportunity to breathe will help the hairs grow back properly.
If you follow these steps and still see the appearance of these pesky and persistent ingrown hairs, as much as you may be tempted to, do not pluck them! Plucking causes scarring or worse, an infection. Small ingrown hairs tend to disappear on their own. If not treated properly, ingrown hair can lead to serious skin damage and even may cause you to require medical treatment due to infection.