5 Bad Habits That Can Cause Ingrown Hairs

Ingrown hairs occur when a hair (usually ones with a sharp tip) grown back into the skin. This can happen if a shaved hair has left the hair strand with a pointed tip, or if a waxed/tweezed hair has left a fragment in the follicle. Aside from being unsightly, painful, and extremely annoying, ingrown hairs that are frequently prodded by unsterilized needles and tweezers can be prone to infection. Even if you faithfully pluck or tweeze them as soon as they appear (which is not always a good idea), ingrown hairs can be a chronic problem if you do not follow some basic skin care tips

Not exfoliating regularly

If you read the ViaBuff blog, you know that we love exfoliating and all of the wonders that it can do for your skin. Aside from removing dead skin cells from the outer layers of the stratum corneum, regular exfoliation can also free your ingrown hair from a constricting layer of skin cells (International Dermal Institute). For the best treatment, we suggest using the ViaBuff Level 3 Exfoliating Buff (designed specifically to treat ingrown hairs!) and an exfoliating serum containing powerful keratolytic agents like salicylic acid, urea, or glycolic acid.



Shaving against the grain

Even though the prevailing opinion is that you should always shave in the opposite direction of hair’s growth, some believe dermatologists believe that one should shave in the direction of the hair’s growth. This is believed to encourage the hair to grow straight and not curl back into the skin (Knoxville Dermatology Group, Palo Alto Medical Foundation). When it comes to men’s shaving, the jury is still out as to whether shaving with or against the grain of hair will help you to avoid ingrown hairs and razor bumps; the Mayo Clinic suggests trying both methods and seeing which poses the least irritation to your skin.

Tweezing ingrown hairs with unsterilized tweezers or needles

Tweezing or plucking hairs can still leave behind little hair fragments that may become embedded within the skin (Mayo Clinic). Even worse, tweezing or gouging out ingrown hairs (especially those embedded deep within your skin) can oftentimes lead to infection, scarring, or discoloration. You should only tweeze a hair if it is close to the skin’s surface, and even then it is better to have the procedure conducted by a dermatologist. If removing a hair at home, you should use a sterilized needle/pair of tweezers that were either cleansed with alcohol or passed through a flame, and make sure to clean your hands and ingrown hairs before tweezing them (Folliculitis Clinic)


Pulling you skin too tightly when you shave

If you have hairs growing in particularly tight crevices or hairs which just barely reach the surface of the skin, it makes sense to pull your skin so that you can reach them. However, pulling your skin tight while shaving can oftentimes leave little hair fragments in the follicle, or even cause hair to grow back into the skin (Mayo Clinic). If you seem to have trouble reaching small or hard-to-reach hairs, you may want to consider using a razor with a flexible head or changing your razor more frequently.

Using dull, old Razors

ingrown hairs

Even though it may seem economical, using dull razors over and over again may be doing more harm than good for your skin. For example, dull razors may be only partially cutting your hairs or leaving existing hairs with pointed tips, making it more likely that hair fragments will growth beneath the skin or curl back into the skin. To minimize your chances of ingrown hairs, you should dispose of your razors after every 5-10 uses, especially if you have thick hairs or shave all over your body (DermMedica).

Bottom Line

There are many little things that can contribute to your ingrown hairs. For example, tweezing can leave behind small fragments, while infrequent exfoliation allows layers of skin cells to keep the ingrown hairs encased in your skin. To minimize your chances of having ingrown hairs, you should exfoliate regularly with a serum containing keratolytic agents and the ViaBuff Level 3 Exfoliating Buff. If you are going to remove close-to-the-surface hairs, make sure to sterilize both your hands, the ingrown hair, and the instruments that you plan to use. Never pull the skin taught when shaving, shave in the direction of your hair’s growth, and make sure to replace your razor after 5-10 uses.

This article was about what NOT to do for ingrown hairs. Check out our article of 3 things to DO about ingrown hairs!

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