According to WebMD, one gets ingrown hair when curled hair grows back into the skin instead of rising up as expected. Dead skin too can clog hair follicles and force it to grow sideways when under the skin instead of outwards and upwards. Sometimes the ends of naturally curly hair become sharp when cut and when this end pierce the skin, an ingrown hair is caused.
Ingrown hair is irritating to the skin, itchy, uncomfortable and embarrassing. It forms a raised red bump which resembles a pimple. Sometimes if infected, it can become a boil like sore that is quite painful. Sometimes if you look closely, you can see the hair inside the bump or pus.
Men get them after shaving their beards. They appear as little bumps on the beard, chin, and neck. Women get them on the legs, public areas, and armpits. Sometimes they appear on the buttocks.
Those most affected by people with this problem are the African-Americans and the Latinos. People with curly or thick hair too also get it.
How long do they last?
Ingrown hair can go away after hair grows out naturally. They, however, can last from 1 day to 2 weeks depending on how you treat them. The factors that determine how long the ingrown hair bumps last include:
The skin types
People with oily skin tend to nurse it for longer. This is because the excess oil clogs up the pores leading to a slow healing process. People with dry skin however also suffer irritations after shaving or waxing and their skin can remain itchy or red for longer than those with oily one.
Where is your ingrown hair? Areas that are hidden, like the bikini line and armpits, tend to take longer since the skin is not getting enough airing needed to clear up the bumps. However, one can air the areas more at night by sleeping naked. Those on the legs and arms take a few days to heal.
How do you prevent or remove them?
How long it lasts depends on treatment and care. The following are some home remedies one can use to make it go away faster and avoid chances of it being infected.
- Using warm compresses to ease discomfort as the hair grows out.
- Do not keep touching the affected area since you may transfer bacteria from other areas you touch. Bacteria can worsen the healing process causing further inflammation. Make sure your hands are clean when applying the warm compresses or if you want to touch the area.
- Wear loose clothing. This allows skin around the area to breathe which improves the healing process. Irritations from clothes can result in itching and rashes. If the ingrown hair is in areas where you can not wear loose clothing during the day, make sure you air them out at night while sleeping by sleeping naked.
- Exfoliate and help the skin get rid of dead cells. This will prevent it from getting bumps due to the clogged pores. It’s best to exfoliate a day before you remove hair to protect your skin from this condition that comes after you shave.
- If you have hairs that grown back into your skin, make sure that your skin remains clean. Use fragrant-free soap to clean. There are also some medical soaps you can buy over the counter to wash the skin and keep it moisturized. The creams and soaps help keep it moisturized especially for those whose is the dry type.
- Do not pluck it or continue removing hair from the area as this could cause more cases and extend the healing time.
- Do not shave the area with the ingrown hair as this can irritate the skin and cause Barber’s itch. This is when it gets a bacterial or fungal Infections slow down recovery time and may require medical treatment.
- If they continue spreading or they haven’t healed after some weeks, consult a doctor.
- Seek medical help if the irritation and pain are too much. This could be being caused by an infection.
- Skin Deep by Carol Turkington & Jeffrey S. Dover.