Dealing with ingrown hairs is a fairly common problem for some people, but just about any person can get them. For people where the problem is common, they probably have different strategies for hair removal that will help to prevent the occurrence, but nothing is foolproof. For the most part, ingrown hairs will go away without treatment, but there may be some situations where the individual needs to take steps to treat the hair and get it to the surface.
What not to do to an ingrown hair
First, we should talk about things to avoid doing to your ingrown hair. Ingrown hairs can be really irritating to the skin and this will lead many people to scratch the area or pick at it with their fingers. While itching may provide some level of temporary relief, this is to be strictly avoided. When you pick at or scratch an ingrown hair, bacteria can get into the skin and this will increase the risk of infection. The next thing you know, the skin could fill with puss and it will be even more painful than before.
In many cases, an ingrown hair may look very similar to a pimple, but you want to avoid squeezing it as you might with a pimple. This can damage the skin, expose the area to infection and lead to additional problems. Any of these things like squeezing, scratching or picking at an ingrown hair could cause infection and it may even result in scarring.
Treating an ingrown hair
If it is at all possible, the best course of action is to leave the hair alone. Most of the time, the problem will correct itself if the hair is just left alone. That being said, there can be some situations where the level of irritation causes a need to address the problem or the hair is ingrown to a degree where it will not reach the surface without some help.
If you need to treat an ingrown hair, the best option is to sterilize a needle or a pair of tweezers and use them to get the hair to the surface. You want to avoid pulling the hair out completely. The idea is to get the end of the ingrown hair to the surface. If done properly, it should restore proper growth.
If you can’t see the hair right at the surface of the skin, you do not want to dig for the ingrown hair. This could cause a problem with infection. If the hair is deeper in the skin, apply a warm compress to the area for about ten minutes. This should bring the hair closer to the surface and make it more accessible to treatment.
Exfoliation can be another good method for both treatment and prevention. The act of exfoliating the skin can help to coax the hair to the surface and it can remove the dead skin cells that commonly cause hairs to become ingrown.
For the most part, you just want to avoid getting ingrown hairs in the first place. They are irritating, they don’t look good and they can damage the skin. When they do occur, the best hope is that they will go away on their own or that you will be able to treat them with little effort. However, it is possible for a hair to become so deeply ingrown that it will require treatment from a doctor.