We all know what ingrowns look like – “unsightly” red bumps that many of us get after we wax, shave, sugar, thread, or pluck our bikini-area. As if wearing a bikini isn’t stressful enough! What many people don’t know is why they actually happen. They happen anytime hair grows back into the skin instead of up and out to the surface, and according to Dr. Neal Schultz, NYC dermatologist, host of DermTV.com, and creator of BeautyRx by Dr. Schultz, they’re more likely to occur if you have curly or wiry hair. He also notes that just like the blemishes that pop up on our faces, picking them will make them way worse! I’ve never actually attempted to pick at them on my own, though there are countless Youtube videos of people doing just that (again, Dr. Schultz warns NEVER to do this), but when I wax, the lady who does it removes them for me (at least some of them…), which does help.
There are over-the-counter remedies. “Spot treatments for acne, over-the-counter hydrocortisone, and glycolic exfoliation serums or pads may help. The liquid in the pads penetrates better, and the pad serves as a mild form of physical exfoliation,” says Dr. Schultz. “Specific ingredients that may help include salicylic acid, glycolic acid, sulfur, resorcinol, and hydrocortisone.”
While it’s bad enough to hit the beach red and bumpy, for many women, it’s not just an aesthetic issue – it’s a physically painful one. “Ingrown hairs cause inflammation as the body tries to fix them by rejecting the ingrown hair. All inflammation is tender and hurts. To ease the pain, try warm compresses or oral pain medication (i.e. Tylenol or ibuprofen) or see a dermatologist to have it drained and/or removed. Infection, scarring, and recurring ingrowns at the same places can all occur if ingrowns are not properly treated or removed.”
It was news to me that I could see my dermatologist to treat this issue! Maybe it’s because I spend so much time dealing with preventing intermittent breakouts, which I am very prone to, but it never occurred to me to speak with a dermatologist about my ingrown issues until a friend told me that she was “cured” after seeing hers. Aside from surgically removing the ingrown hairs, he or she can prescribe a topical antibiotic gels to prevent future ingrowns. Here’s to having more confidence the next time we all hit the beach!
Image Credits: Huffington Post and laserhairremovalbysia.com.au