Almost every adult will have dealt with an ingrown hair at one point or another, particularly in areas of the body that we shave — and though they're not usually serious, they're sure annoying! Occasionally, ingrown hairs become more than a temporary annoyance, leaving little scars and discolored skin in their wake, usually if we've been picking at them.
One SteadyHealth member had exactly this problem after shaving her pubic area. She wrote:
"I am darker in complexion and the marks are from ingrown hair marks that healed after I shaving.The dark marks are all over my vagina and also on my bikini lines from shaving. Please help me, how can I get rid of these marks and is it possible to exfoliate that area and if it is possible how can I exfoliate it, And can you please give me a solution that does not have to do with using bleaching creams, because bleaching creams ruin the skin. Please help me, its embarrassing and unpleasant."
Ingrown hairs, and the scars and hyperpigmentation they can cause, being such a common problem, she quickly got a barrage of answers, both from people dealing with similar issues and those who had been there, done that — and had advice to offer.
People dealing with ingrown hairs and sometimes resulting scars and skin changes asked:
- I am left questioning what to do, I can't even walk it's that bad.
- anyone have any recommendations of what i should try?
- Apricot scrub works for scars ?
- Have you ever used micro dermabrasion paste From Rodan + Fields?
- Hi ,I know this was some time ago but I am in the same situation but there are so many options do you have a link for the one you used so I can see what it looks like and I know what i needI hate my scars and I have holidays booked would like to feel good with my legs out for once Scars are both old and newHow long does it take to work ?
Ingrown-hair related symptoms people mentioned included:
- It hurts really bad and I can't even see the hair out the top.
- It is very embarrassing.
- for YEARS i have a suffered from bad ingrown leg hair, mainly from my knees down to my shins.
- and let me tell you, they were BADD!
- hi there been reading all the different things everyone has put i am 20years old and suffer really badly with ingrown hairs on my bikini its horrible i have course hair so my hairs are very strong and tend to grow through in 2 i shaved first and then tried waxing i had no problems and then i started suffering really bad so i stopped and went back to shaving im now trying hair removal cream to see if that helps, i wanted to no if the Glycolic Acid can that be used on the bikini line or is it for legs only.and also with lazer do they do that on the bikini too and how does it workmany thanks charlotte
No discussion is complete with advice, and some of the solutions offered for dealing with ingrown hairs and resulting scarring included:
- Although going against the direction of hair growth when you shave will give you a closer shave, It is not the best way to go because it will increase the chance of ingrown hair.
- You can try one stroke at a time and then rinse the blade.
- Any over the counter product you purchase to help treat this issue, look for SALICYLIC ACID as the active ingredient.
- This helps to turn the dead skin cells around.
- Exfoliate, (helps to remove dead skin cells) use something from home or purchase from the drug store.
The SteadyHealth team reacts
Ingrown hairs are exactly what they sound like they are — hairs that curl back into the skin or even the follicle, rather than growing outward. Most commonly associated with shaving, ingrown hairs can also result after waxing or even tweezing hairs. Although most ingrown hairs are nothing more than a minor annoyance, they can also develop into an infection called folliculitis. In this case, the site will look rather a bit like acne, complete with pus-filled bumps.
Managing ingrown hairs
The majority of cases will clear up if you just do nothing at all. It is, in fact, scratching or picking at ingrown hairs that is most likely to result in an infection, so if you really want to try to "tease the hair out":
- Use sterile tweezers
- Wash your hands beforehand
- Wipe the skin down with an antibacterial wipe
To help prevent ingrown hairs in the future, you can stop shaving — but if you don't want to do that, use a fresh, sharp, razor, apply shaving cream or gel and wet the area in question, and don't shave too closely.
Many people notice darker areas of skin around the site of an ingrown hair, that persists long beyond the troublesome hair itself. Dr Sasa Milosevic explains why this happens:
"Brown areas, or hyperpigmentation, remain after the inflammation subsides due to increased melanin production during the inflammation. The epidermis retains this melanin even after the inflammation is resolved. While the phenomenon is usually not permanent, it may take up to a year for the hyperpigmentation to fade. If you repeatedly have ingrown hairs in the same spot, meanwhile, the melanin penetrates the dermis, a deeper skin layer, and may stick around for several years."
If you don't simply want to wait it out, treatments for hyperpigmentation are available:
- Creams that contain hydroquinone, a kind of "skin bleach", are available with a prescription.
- Tretinoin and cortisone creams may also be prescribed.
- Laser treatments can be used quite successfully to fade areas of hyperpigmentation.