Recently, a man named Roger Logan had surgery to remove a 140-pound tumor from his stomach. Surprisingly, doctors stated that the tumor likely started as an ingrown hair. Left untreated, it kept growing and became massive. Before his surgery, Roger spent most of his time sitting in an armchair, unable to perform normal activities or run his antique store. Luckily, the surgery went well and he is on his way to recovery.
While most ingrown hairs don’t have such drastic consequences, it’s helpful to know what they are and how to treat them. Some people may have never experienced one while others might have them almost constantly. Here are three ways that may help you to prevent ingrown hair.
1. Shave After A Hot Shower
Taking a hot shower before you shave can help soften the hair and open up your pores. The steam from the shower allows the pores to relax, which can help the razor move more smoothly along the skin. This tip alone can help with razor burn, irritation after shaving, and other common skin issues. If you need to shave and don’t have time for the pre-shower routine, you can also rub your face with a hot, wet towel or even just splash your face with warm water. You might even just shave during your shower, which provides the benefit of minimal cleanup. Just remember that the key here is warmth to help prep your pores and the hair for shaving.
2. Exfoliate Your Skin
Dead skin cells can be one of the biggest causes of ingrown hair. Throughout the day, the skin cells located on the outermost layer of our skin start to die as a result of the environment, friction, and your normal daily activities. Most of these dead skin cells fall off (more than eight pounds per year!), but a portion of them remain on your skin. These skin cells can block your hair follicles from growing outwards, and instead, the follicles will start to grow sideways or downwards under the skin.
Exfoliation is one of the best ways to clear away dead skin cells. Simply put, you’re scrubbing away dead skin cells with a mild exfoliant. There are plenty of exfoliating products out there, but it’s important to find one that works well with your skin. You can also make your own natural exfoliating scrub with common household items such as baking soda, sugar, coconut oil, and more. Plan to exfoliate at least 1-2 times a week to help keep the dead skin cells from accumulating.
3. Avoid Wearing Tight Clothes
If you’re frequently finding ingrown hairs on your body as opposed to your face, the problem might be your clothing. Wearing tight clothes can create a barrier that makes it difficult for hair follicles to grow outwards. In addition, restricting clothing can create friction that may also increase skin irritation. The problem could also be associated with the clothing material itself. Non-breathable and synthetic fabrics can irritate skin more than a breathable, natural fabric like cotton. Common culprits could include lycra or nylon yoga pants and leggings. Pay attention to any problem areas where you are developing ingrown hairs and test out different articles of clothing to see if looser clothing minimizes or solves the issue.
While ingrown hair can range from mildly irritating to potentially severe, simple tips like the ones shown here can help to prevent them from occurring. If you find yourself still struggling to get rid of ingrown hairs, there are more in-depth ingrown hair treatments that might be able to do the trick. And while your ingrown hair might not turn into a 140-pound tumor, it never hurts to be cautious.
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