Ingrown hairs (also called razor bumps) are a pain! They look ugly and feel rough, especially if you have sensitive skin. Ingrown hairs can be caused by a number of things - shaving, waxing and even wearing skinny jeans! Once you get one ingrown hair it is far more likely to happen again, so it is important to learn how to tackle the problem and stop ingrown hairs from occurring further down the road.
Exfoliate Before You Shave
Exfoliating is a really easy way to get a closer shave and give your skin a clean, fresh feel. Not only that, it will get rid of dead skin cells that can clog your pores and lead to ingrown hairs. Plus, it will leave a smooth surface which will allow the razor to glide over your skin in an even, clean motion.
Toss out your loofah and grab an exfoliating scrub that contains small beads or crystals. The key is to find one with an abrasive texture so you're sure to clear away any dead skin cells. After you've showered or bathed, apply the scrub all over your body, paying close attention to any trouble areas such as knees, ankles and elbows. After about 2-3 minutes, rinse off the scrub thoroughly and pat dry with a towel. It's important to make sure you get all of the product off as any residue can clog up your pores.
Avoid Ingrown Hairs by Using the Right Razor
When you're shaving, you're using a sharp object to cut directly at your skin. This can cause irritation and razor burn if you're not careful. Using a multi-blade razor can make it easy to apply too much pressure, causing cuts and resulting in more nicks than you'd like.
Fortunately, there's an alternative for women who have sensitive skin or just want to find a closer shave — the single blade razor.
How does the single blade work? It's simple — less is more. When using a single blade razor, you don't need to push down to get a close shave. With absolutely no pressure applied, the blade will cut directly at the skins surface.
With multi-blade razors, it's common to have to push down to get a close shave. This pulls the hair too far below the surface of your skin, resulting in an ingrown hair. That's why it's so important to avoid applying pressure when shaving with a single blade razor. Just let the weight of the razor do all the work for you.
Always Use a Sharp Blade
When it comes to shaving, there is nothing more important than having a sharp blade. A dull blade can cause bumps and nicks that are not only uncomfortable but unsightly as well. If you have ever shaved with a dull blade, you will know how much of a difference a sharper one makes.
There are several reasons dull blades can cause more nicks and razor burn. Dull blades require you to exert more pressure to get them to cut, which can lead to razor burn and ingrown hairs. They also require a greater amount of time to complete the hair removal process, and the longer a blade is in contact with your skin, the higher the risk of irritation.
Think of a dull blade like a car with bald tires. It isn't going to get you where you need to go and it will just cause damage along the way. A dull razor blade will be harder to use and in turn, more likely to cause cuts and nicks that can lead to ingrown hairs.
A good single blade razor will work for you in a lot of ways. When you're spending less on your blades because they're more affordable, you don't have to worry about overusing them. You'll also never have to worry about being stuck without blades because they can be easily purchased in one year supplies and don't take up much room in your bathroom.
Use a Natural Shaving Cream
Natural shaving creams are made from ingredients derived from plants and minerals, giving them a much gentler composition than their commercially produced counterparts. These creams soften your hair follicles during the shaving process, making it easier for the blades to cut through them.
If you are prone to ingrown hairs after shaving, consider switching to a natural shaving cream. Shaving cream softens your hair and lubricates your skin to make the shaving process easier and more comfortable.
Natural shaving creams also produce a rich lather which helps lift the hair off the skin for a closer shave.
While commercial shaving gels and foams are often loaded with chemicals that can cause irritation and inflammation, natural shaving products contain soothing agents that help to calm and hydrate your skin during the shave.
This helps to minimise the chance of developing redness, rashes or bumps after shaving. It also helps to keep your skin soft and moisturised throughout the day.
Shave In the Direction Hair Grows
Shaving against the grain may result in a closer shave, but it can lead to ingrown hairs. This is because it makes it easier for your hair to curl back into your skin, causing ingrown hairs.
The best way to avoid this is by shaving with the grain. Hair grows in a "grain pattern," and shaving with this direction ensures that your razor is gliding along the path of least resistance, cutting your hair instead of pushing it inwards.
The easiest way to tell which way your hair grows is to look closely at the direction in which your facial hair is pointing. Using a straight edge like a razor or comb, align the edge of the tool against the direction hair is growing. Shave in this direction to avoid ingrown hairs.
Rinse Your Blade After Every Stroke
Lather, rinse, repeat.
That might sound like a catchy little jingle, but it's also a good tip for shaving.
Rinsing your blade after every stroke is an easy way to add lubrication when you shave and also gets rid of any shavings that are clogging the blades, making it harder to efficiently remove hair with the first pass. And if you get rid of all those shavings, it's less likely for an ingrown hair to pop up.
If you don't rinse your blade, it builds up with hair and shaving cream, and you're going to end up making multiple strokes in order to remove all hair from your face.
This is bad for two reasons: First, if you're leaving hairs behind, you'll likely need to go over the same area multiple times. Second, it means that you'll have to apply more pressure on subsequent strokes in order to get rid of the hair — which can lead to ingrown hairs as well as nicks and cuts.
Moisturise After You Shave
Post-shave, it's essential to nourish your skin and protect it against irritation.
Moisturizing after you shave is a simple step that can make a huge difference in the texture of your skin and keep it hydrated. It also reduces the chances for irritation because it reinforces the skin’s protective barrier. Without moisturizer, your skin can dry out and become flaky, making you prone to cuts or ingrown hairs.
Keeping skin moisturised and exfoliated promotes hair growth in the right direction and nurtures the follicles helping to treat and prevent ingrown hairs or "razor bumps".