When it comes to unsightly and annoying skin irritations, ingrown hairs are right up there on the “please, just make them stop” list. And when ingrown hairs crop up on your bikini line, they are particularly frustrating, especially with bathing suit season right around the celestial corner. But before you resign yourself to a turtle-clad, tie-dye sarong all summer, you should know you can prevent and treat ingrown hairs. And now is the time to do it.
First, it is important to recognize that ingrowns aren’t always caused by hair removal. Sometimes they occur for no very good reason at all (nice, right?). However, for the most part, they are the result of shaving, tweezing, waxing or threading. Regardless of the cause, how you treat an ingrown hair is the same.
At the dermatologist’s office
“The fastest and most efficient treatment involves taking the tip of a sterile needle, popping open the ingrown and then applying pressure at the bottom around it to force the ingrown out to sort of push it out the way you push out a blackhead,” says New York dermatologist Neal Schultz, MD.
To start, apply a warm compress, not too hot, but warm, for about three to four minutes, four to five times a day. After you do that, apply any chemical exfoliant to the ingrown, either a salicylic acid exfoliant, like an acne spot treatment, or a glycolic-based exfoliant.
After that, again four times a day, apply an over-the-counter, 1 percent hydrocortisone cream. This process will either cause faster healing from the inside or make it come up to a head so it falls out by itself faster.
Unfortunately, you can’t prevent those unfriendly random ingrown hairs, but if you’re getting them from shaving, then you need to change up your routine slightly. First, make sure you have a new, clean razor. Shave only at the end of the shower when your pores are open, along the grain (down the hair follicle), and with a shaving gel. Be careful not to push down too hard with the razor, you don’t want too close of a shave since it’s when you get too close that you get an ingrown.
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