Ingrown hairs aren’t common after waxing, but some people may be more prone to them than others. Preventing and managing ingrown hairs is all in how you prep your skin before your wax and your post-wax aftercare. If you’ve ever had an ingrown hair before, here’s what you should know about keeping your skin smooth and free of ingrown hairs after a waxing session.
What Causes Ingrown Hairs After Waxing?
Ingrown hairs occur when a hair attempts to grow through the surface of the skin but becomes stuck. They’re slightly more common in people with curly or coarse hair. You’re most likely to see ingrown beard hairs and ingrown hairs around the bikini line, due to the texture and thickness of the hair that grows in those areas.
The area around an ingrown hair can appear red and be tender to the touch. It might look like a pimple. Ingrown hairs are usually isolated, but they may occur in a cluster in areas of high friction where skin touches skin or clothing rubs against skin.
A lot of people mistake “strawberry legs” for ingrown hairs. When many hair follicles and pores on the legs become filled with dry skin or debris, the skin may appear to be covered in red spots similar to the seeds on a strawberry. While a few of these spots may be ingrown hairs, most of them aren’t. Strawberry legs and ingrown hairs are different, but the same practices can work to resolve both conditions.
Can Ingrown Hairs Get Infected?
Ingrown hairs can get infected if left untreated. The surface of your skin is home to billions of bacteria. They aren’t all harmful, but some of them have the potential to cause infection. If these bacteria become trapped within an ingrown hair, they can cause a pustule or a cyst to form. If your ingrown hair isn’t resolving on its own or appears to be worsening, give your doctor or dermatologist a call.
How To Prevent Ingrown Hairs Before Waxing
The best thing you can do to prevent ingrown hairs before waxing is to thoroughly exfoliate the area you’re going to have waxed. Waxing will remove some of the dead cells from the surface of your skin, but the dead cells are harder to grip than the shaft of a hair. Some patches of dead cells may be left behind. When your hair grows back, the dead skin cells may trap the hair within your skin, leading to an ingrown hair.
Sugar scrubs and body polishing are effective and gentle ways to remove dead cells from places like your legs. Buff the dead skin away and leave the surface nice and smooth. When your hair begins to grow back, it won’t encounter any barriers at the surface of your skin that prevent it from growing through.
How To Prevent Ingrown Hairs After Waxing
Aftercare is one of the most important parts of the waxing process. Waxing can leave your skin vulnerable and a little tender for a few days after your wax. If you set yourself up for success with your aftercare, you’ll have silky smooth skin free from ingrown hairs for the next several weeks.
Use A Post-Wax Serum
Your esthetician will apply a soothing serum immediately after your wax. The next day, you can use a post-wax serum at home. These serums are designed to remove any dirt, dead cells, or debris from your pores and hair follicles. When your pores and hair follicles are clean, you’re less likely to experience ingrown hairs.
Continue To Exfoliate
Use a sugar or salt scrub to exfoliate your body once a week. Regular exfoliation will keep dead cells from accumulating. Your skin will be softer, smoother, more receptive to moisturizer, and less likely to experience concerns like ingrown hairs.
Keep Your Clothes Loose And Comfortable
Tight-fitting pants may be stylish, but they’re not the best for your skin. Skin-tight jeans or slacks cause constant friction against the surface of your skin, which can disturb the way your hair grows. This friction can contribute to the formation of ingrown hairs or worsen ingrown hairs once they start.
Light, breathable fabrics are better for your skin. If you like to wear a sleek, fitted outfit, swap synthetic fibers for pure cotton. If your pants are too tight, go up a size. Don’t stuff yourself into something uncomfortable. If you prefer a form-fitted look, consider swapping “skinny” styles for tailored or straight-leg styles.
What To Do When You Have An Ingrown Hair
Many ingrown hairs will resolve themselves. Here’s what you can do to help move the process along.
Massage With A Warm Compress
A warm compress can help your ingrown hair reach the surface of your skin. Gently massaging the area in circular motions with a warm compress can help the hair work its way through. Always use a soft cloth and mild to moderate pressure. Don’t be rough on your skin.
Remove The Hair If You Can See It
You should never go digging around in your skin to find the end of an ingrown hair. Poking and prodding can make the situation worse, or even cause infection. Sometimes, ingrown hairs will show through the surface of the skin as a loop of hair. If you can see the loop, you can safely remove the hair.
Sterilize a pair of tweezers by soaking them in 91% isopropyl alcohol for a minute or two. Gently grasp the loop with the tweezers and pull it straight out. When the end of the hair is above the surface of the skin, you can pluck the whole hair away.
Wash the area with antibacterial soap and allow it to heal uncovered. Don’t put a bandage over a plucked ingrown hair. The area is vulnerable. A bandage could trap moisture and lead to infection.
Final Thoughts On Ingrown Hairs
Ingrown hairs can be a little uncomfortable, but they’re not the end of the world. Don’t be afraid to ask your esthetician for advice on how to handle ingrown hairs while you’re at your waxing appointment. Your esthetician wants you to enjoy your results, and they’re always available to answer any questions you have about the waxing process.
Schedule your next waxing at Greentoes in Tucson. We have two convenient locations to serve you.