How to prevent and treat ingrown hairs on face and body for men.
Shaving is a self-care routine every man must tackle a few times a week. Think of it as a few moments each week when you can take time for some self-love. Some men dread this ritual due to shaving irritation, razor bumps and painful ingrown hairs that take time to heal. So, what are ingrown hairs and what can you do to prevent them, as well as razor bumps and shaving irritations?
What is an ingrown hair and what causes it?
Ingrown hair occurs when a hair that's been removed starts to grow back and curves into the skin. An ingrown hair can cause tiny, swollen bumps on the skin that are often mistaken for acne or pimples. The condition most often affects people with curly hair who shave.
A proper shaving routine can help prevent ingrown hairs, and combat razor bumps and shaving irritations.
When possible, shave after showering. Cleansing and exfoliating the skin is the first step of a skin-friendly shaving ritual. Use a gentle cleanser to thoroughly cleanse the face and soften facial hairs. The second step is to exfoliate the skin with a scrub to remove dead surface cells and help lift the facial hair.
Prep and sanitize the razor.
Wet-shaving with Razor - Make sure you’re using a clean and sharp razor each time you shave. Wipe blade with alcohol to sanitize before shaving.
Electric Razor - Make sure razor is clean and sanitize before each shave. Remove blade guard and rinse blades with hot water. Replace blade guard and wipe surface of blade guard with alcohol to sanitize before shaving.
The shaving ritual.
Apply shave cream to a moist face and work into a lather. Leave the shave cream on your face for 30+ seconds, then work it into lather again before shaving. Shave with the growth direction of the hair for the first pass. Shaving against hair grain during the first pass can tug the hair, irritate the skin, and cause ingrown hairs and razor bumps. When possible, using a single-blade straight razor vs multi-blade razor will further prevent ingrown hairs.
**After every shave, rinse your blades with hot water, dry thoroughly and wipe off the blade with alcohol and store in dry place.
After-shave care and maintenance.
Rinse the face clean of shave cream and finish with a splash of cold water to close the pores. Follow up with an antiseptic aftershave with AHA + BHA (salicylic and glycolic) acids to prevent infections. Some AHA + BHA aftershaves may sting slightly so you know it is working. The care for treating ingrown hairs is similar to treating pimples and acne. Keep the area clean, reapply the AHA + BHA aftershave in the affected area until the hair is release. The key is not to pick, scrub or irritate the pimple-like bump.
**Ingrown hairs are most often seen on the face and neck but can happen in other parts of the body that are shaved, such as legs, chest, back and butt. The process and care are the same.