Have you ever had a problem with small bumps that appear on your skin wherever you wax or shave? Both men and women strive to have smooth skin and the last thing they want is unattractive-looking ingrown hair. It makes the skin coarse and uneven and may become a major cosmetic problem if not treated properly.
What causes ingrown hair?
Ingrown hair occurs on the areas of the skin that you regularly shave or wax and is most common on legs, armpits, pubic region, face and neck. People with dark, curly hair are normally more prone to ingrown hair but this problem is not exclusive to them. Those with very soft and light hair can also develop ingrown hair over time due to regular shaving. It happens because shaving makes the hair grow back stronger. When the sharp tip of the hair curls back and grows into the skin instead of growing outside, it forms a bump that may cause scarring, discoloration or inflammation of the skin. Even though it can’t be entirely avoided, there are many simple home treatments that can significantly reduce its symptoms.
Home treatments for ingrown hair
Salt and Sugar Scrubs
It is vital that you exfoliate the zones where you shave or wax your hair. Just remember not to do it directly before or after shaving, though, since doing both things on the same day will irritate the skin. However, you should make exfoliation a part of your beauty regime. Regular exfoliation helps remove dead skin cells and makes it easier for hair to grow out. It also improves the circulation of blood and speeds up the healing process if your skin is damaged.
You can make a scrub at home by mixing a cup of sugar with half a cup of olive oil. Apply the scrub to the skin and massage the zone with ingrown hair with circular motions until the sugar dissolves completely. Then rinse it off with warm water, dry the skin and apply a moisturiser.
Alternatively, you can use salt, which is not only a very effective exfoliator but also a great antiseptic that will help you heal skin inflammation. To make a salt scrub simply wet the skin and apply a small amount of salt on it. Perform a gentle massage for 5 minutes and rinse the skin with warm water. Make sure you put a lot of moisturiser on your skin after every exfoliation.
Using baking soda paste is a great way to exfoliate the skin. It also soothes the skin due to its anti-inflammatory properties. You can use baking soda paste both on your body and face since it’s much more gentle on your skin than sugar or salt scrubs, which are more suitable for the exfoliation of legs, arms or pubic area.
In order to prepare this paste, put 3-4 tablespoons of baking soda into a glass bowl and start adding water very slowly. Mix it and add some more water if needed. The paste should not turn into a liquid because it will be difficult to apply and won’t stick to the skin properly. Dip a cotton ball in the paste in and apply it to the area affected by ingrown hair. You don’t need to perform a massage to achieve the exfoliation result. Baking soda will do the job on its own. Just leave it on for 5 minutes and rinse it off with cold water. Repeat this procedure twice a day and you will see a great improvement in the condition and appearance of your skin. The ingrown hair will start growing out after as few as 3-4 treatments and the inflammation and discoloration will be significantly reduced.
If you want to use baking soda to make a stronger scrub for your body, you can mix 3 tablespoons of ground oats with 3 tablespoons of baking soda and ¼ cup of water. Apply it on your skin and use as a regular exfoliator. Again, remember to moisturise your skin afterwards. You can prepare a larger amount of this scrub and keep it in a jar in the fridge for up to two weeks.
If ingrown hair gives you a headache, aspirin will come to the rescue not only by soothing the pain. You can also use its anti-inflammatory properties to reduce the swelling and redness on the skin that’s caused by ingrown hair. What’s more, thanks to the salicylic acid that aspirin contains, you will get the effect of gentle exfoliation. Aspirin is a popular ingredient of many ingrown hair removal products and preparing the paste at home will give you the same effects and save a lot of money.
To make an aspirin mask, you need to crush 2-3 tablets of aspirin, add a few drops of water and a teaspoon of honey and mix it well until the paste is completely smooth. Apply the mask on the irritated or inflamed skin and leave it on. If you have sensitive skin, rinse it off after just 4-5 minutes or use jojoba oil to make the paste instead of water. It will prevent skin dehydration. If you have normal or oily skin, keep the mask on for up to 10 minutes before rinsing.