If you routinely remove hair from any part of your body, you may have noticed unsightly ingrown hairs under your skin. These can be painless, but ingrown hair is often swollen and tender.
When hair grows from a follicle, it curls back toward the skin or grows horizontally rather than growing up and out to form an ingrown hair. This enables a layer of skin to cover the hair. The hair may form a loop beneath your skin and continue to grow or it may eventually break through the skin in another location.
Ingrown hairs usually occur because of:
- Dry skin
- Shaving too closely
- Coarse and curly hair
The Mayo Clinic explains how ingrown hair can show up anywhere you remove hair, including your pubic area. Men sometimes get ingrown hairs on their face and chins, and people with coarse and curly hair are more likely to get ingrown hairs. Clusters of ingrown hairs, also known as pseudofolliculitis, are common with people of African descent and Latinos. But anyone can get an ingrown hair after hair removal.
Ingrown hairs aren’t passed from partner to partner, and generally don’t match any STI symptoms. However, the early signs of syphilis may seem like an ingrown hair.
Not only are ingrown pubic hairs unsightly – after all, aren’t you shaving to look and feel sexy? – but they’re bad for your health and can turn into even bigger bacterial infections if left unchecked. Over time, this can lead to permanent skin darkening, too.
PREVENT INGROWN PUBIC HAIR WHEN SHAVING
Shaving is quick, easy and relatively painless, which is why so many people use it to remove hair from their body, including in the pubic area. If shaving is your prefered method of hair removal in your pubic area, you can take a few moments before and after to prevent ingrown hair. For starters, shave after your hair has been softened with warm water. The end of a shower or bath is perfect, and hair will be softer than if you dry shave.
A high-quality shaving cream also makes a big difference. Generally, slicker creams are better. Consider one from brands such as Coochy Cream and System Jo, which can help to condition your skin as well as providing a smooth shave. Shave with the direction of hair growth rather than against it to reduce irritation and red bumps. The Mayo Clinic advises using a sharp razor every time and warns that a closer shave might make ingrown hairs more likely. Cheap, dull razors won’t help when it comes to ingrown hairs.
Exfoliating can also help prevent ingrown pubic hairs whether you’re shaving or waxing. Exfoliating products contain small beads or even organic pieces from nuts and seeds to help slough off the top layer of skin. Apricot scrubs are common for your face, but you can find exfoliators for your body and cleansers that contain exfoliants, too. Exfoliating gloves are a new product that you can use in the shower. Not only does this remove dead and dry skin, so you’ll look dewey and young, but it can help to prevent ingrown hairs.
Do you think aftershave is just for men? There are products available that can help condition your skin and reduce the risk of getting an ingrown hair. Look for products with aloe, Vitamin E and chamomile, which are all known for soothing skin. Products containg azulene, allantoin and witch hazel can also reduce swollen, red skin due to ingrown hairs. When it comes to reducing the appearance, look for the ingredient salicylic acid, which is also used to treat acne.
In lieu of aftershave, splash cold water or wipe your face with a cold washcloth to help close pores. Avoid aftershave products with alcohol or harsh chemicals because they burn after a fresh shave.
Serums and lotions that slow the growth and coarseness of hair may also reduce the number of ingrown hairs that you experience. System Jo Hair Reduction Serum and Inhibitif are just two of those products.
SWITCH HAIR REMOVAL METHODS TO PREVENT INGROWN PUBIC HAIR
If you’re experiencing ingrown pubic hairs, you might try switching up hair removal. There are many options to consider!
- Waxingremoves the hair from the root via hard wax (no cloth or strip needed) or soft wax.
- Epilatingplucks hair from the root like a mechanical tweezer.
- Depilatingis the process of chemically removing hair via products such as Nair or Veet.
- Electrolysis and laser hair removalare permanent hair removal solutions that are more costly but provide longer lasting results.
- At-home laser hair removerssuch as the Silk’n and Tria devices cost a few hundred dollars and enable you to zap hair away from any part of your body. Continued use reduces the thickness and density of hair.
- Sugaringis a hair removal process you can have done at a spa or salon.
There are considerations for each of these methods of hair removal. For example, chemical depilators actually burn the hair and can be quite rough on sensitive skin. Start with a cream for sensitive skin to see how your skin reacts. Laser hair removal services are quite expensive, and an at-home laser device is a financial risk if you don’t like it. Plus, not every person has the skin or hair type that’s right for these machines.
Any method that pulls hair from your skin, including plucking, epilating and waxing, can be quite painful. It might not be right for you if you’re sensitive to pain. You can try taking ibuprofen before hair removal to reduce pain, however.
Waxing and sugaring can also become costly if you frequently have it done, and it will take several repeated visits to your salon to see thinning of the hair.
Using a method that cuts your hair less close to the skin can reduce the risk of an ingrown pubic hair. For example, consider trimming rather than shaving. An electric razor often leaves enough stubble to prevent an ingrown hair, and you don’t want to pull your skin taut if ingrown hairs are a concern. Trimming may be a compromise with your man if he likes you hair-free.
REMOVE AN INGROWN PUBIC HAIR
Sometimes, it may just be impossible to avoid ingrown hairs. According to the Mayo Clinic, you can remove an ingrown hair by using a sterile needle or tweezer to lift the hair from beneath the skin. This is easiest when the hair is visible and close to the surface. Otherwise, you can wind up causing more damage to your skin by breaking it further.
There are also several prescription methods that your doctor may recommend if you frequently get ingrown hairs in your pubic area or in other locations on your body. These include Retin-A, which removes dead skin cells, and steroid creams that will reduce inflammation. If an ingrown hair leads to an infection, your doctor may recommend an antibiotic to clear up the infection and prevent it from spreading in your body.
You should take the entire round of antibiotics even if your infection seems to have cleared up before you run out of medication. The same is true for antibiotics prescribed for bacterial vaginosis.
Ingrown hairs are uncomfortable and unsightly, possibly contributing to sexual anxiety, but you can often avoid them with a few steps of preparation and some shaving after care. High-quality shaving products, alternative methods of hair removal and TLC for your skin can help bust ingrown hair one and for all!