March 6, 2014

What Causes Ingrown Hairs?

So you have the new swimsuit and are contemplating wearing it on that up-coming vacation... But, one thing you can't forget or ignore is the bikini line! 

Some people are more prone to ingrown hairs on the bikini line than others. What kind of ingrowns you get definitely makes a difference when it comes to how to get rid of them.

How do you get ingrown hairs?

Ingrown hairs are basically caused by three things: 

1. Skin being pulled while shaving, which causes your hair to point in the wrong direction once you let go. The hair then begins to grow into the skin and the body thinks it's an invader. Your body reacts by going to war and boom, you get a  major zit with a hair inside. 
2. Friction from clothes that have any kind of texture, like denim jeans, or lace or mesh underwear. As you walk around or exercise with these textures constantly rubbing against you, your skin responds. Hair is unable to come through the resulting swelling from the irritation. Some of the worst cases of ingrowns I've seen have been on people who go commando with jeans.  In addition, pressure from tight clothes worn while sitting, whether you're in a car for long periods of time, or cross-legged at your desk, can cause many of the same problems.
3. Skin's propensity to overproduce oil and dead skin cells, creating blackheads which catch hairs as they grow out of the follicle.  I've seen this happen among first-time waxing clients, including those who've never shaved.

What are the different kinds of ingrowns?

In the case of irritation, the problem will be small or large red bumps with (or even without!) a hair inside. These are the ones that hurt like hell whether you squeeze them or not, and they very often get infected as they swell enough to let all the oxygen out of the pore, allowing the anaerobic bacteria inside to thrive. 

The remedy for these angry ingrowns is to calm the skin with a combination of Salicylic Acid, daily use of my anti-inflammatory healing powder FerroRosa FrictionFix® invented specifically for this problem, and only wearing smooth cotton underwear that covers all affected areas at all times. Make sure to not use hydrocortisone-based creams because that thins the skin over time.  Also avoid any products that contain talc, which is pore clogging and possibly unhealthy.

Ingrown hairs that appear like large blackhead-looking bumps occasionally get red and only hurt when you squeeze them. The stuff that comes out is actually blackhead material. 

The remedy for these bumps is a combination of Benzoyl Peroxide which you can experiment with in either a wash or a topical lotion, exfoliating during every shower with a pair of exfoliating spa gloves, Alpha Hydroxy Acid in either a gel or lotion form in a concentration of 10-15% (remember: only 10% or less can be used on the face), and wearing only smooth cotton underwear that covers all affected areas at all times.

A package of FerroRosa FrictionFix®, Salicylic Acid gel and spa gloves is now available in two sizes on my web site for your convenience here.  Please contact me for guidance on the other products discussed in this post as well, and together we will address your particular ingrown hair issues!

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