How to treat and prevent ingrown hair
We have all experienced ingrown hairs either on ourselves or our clients. These unsightly bumps appear when the hair grows back down or sideways into the skin. Ingrown hairs can be caused by dead skin cells building on the skin’s surface, hot water, non-breathable tight-fitting, or elasticized clothing. Genetics and body chemistry always plays a part in our skin and hair but regardless of coarse, straight, fine, and curled, all hair begins at an angle that contours to the body shape. When hair is broken and snaps back into the follicle wall, it can just stay there. Telogen hair might not shed before a new hair is coming up in the area, causing ingrown hairs as well.
The skin surface could have been callused by caustic peels, abrasions, or pulling the hair manually in the same direction of growth. If aggravated by opening the skin surface area, sebaceous oil build-up will cause a raised bump. When debris or outside pollution enters the follicle, it can create infected pustules, which must be treated with a non-clogging antibacterial. These bumps can be inflamed, painful, and itchy.
A few ingrown hairs can be expected but keeping an eye out for inflamed, infected areas is essential. If opened, abraded, or scratched, an infection can spread and require medical treatment.
Taking care of ingrown hairs
Spa and salon professionals can help clients’ rid the area of ingrown hairs by having them take soaking baths or apply warm compresses to the affected area and gently exfoliate (not scratch or abrade). This helps remove dead skin cells, so the hair is more likely to come through. An antibacterial moisturizing lotion should be applied to “damp” skin. This will continue to help the hair surface and avoid infection of the follicle. You can also help your client by carefully extracting the hair and bulb in the opposite direction of growth and having them apply an over-the-counter antiseptic lotion. Using a germ-killing and moisturizing cream daily will help clear the skin of old ingrown hairs and prevent them from occurring in the future.
Tips to help keep your clients skin clear of ingrown hairs
Use a hair removal that removes the entire hair. If a hair is broken, it will be more prone to grow back under the surface skin. If your client shaves, make sure they shave carefully, paying attention to the hair growth direction. Always have your client pre soften and moisturize the area with an antibacterial lotion even under shaving cream, and remind them never to pick or remove the ingrown hairs. This can lead to infection or scarring.
Stop all hair removal until things clear up
If your client hasn’t been taking care of their skin correctly and has many ingrown hairs, it is recommended that they stop all hair removal until they can get the issue under control. Once the ingrown hair problem has been remedied, then educate on proper hair removal techniques, hair removal services, and proper aftercare.