Most women donít talk about ingrown hair, but itís a common problem and not just on the face. Ingrown hairs occur on the back, underarms, buttocks, legs - anywhere you have hair.
Believe it or not, we have hair in almost every pore of the body with the exception of areas like the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. As humans, we have two types of hair: vellus hair is a fine, thin, almost invisible hair, while terminal hair is the darker, thicker, longer hair like the hair on your head and eyebrows. Although ingrown hairs occur most frequently in people with curly/kinky hair everyone will experience an ingrown hair sometime in their life, especially if you use electrolysis, wax, shaving or tweezing to remove unwanted hair.
Ingrown hair curls back into the skin and makes its presence known by making the skin irritatedand sore. If left untreated the hair usually gets incased in a pimple which can grow and darken over time. If infected the pimple fills with pus. My all-time favourite treatment for ingrown hair is an essential oil called tea tree oil. Pure tea tree oil has natural antiseptic and anti-fungal properties. Tea tree oil can be a little drying so apply it with a Q-tip and use it sparingly- only on the spots where needed. Once the tea tree oil has penetrated the ingrown hair apply a little hydrating crème to keep the skin moist so that the hair can grow through. (Make sure you get the undiluted pure tea-tree oil from a reliable health food store or professional source. The internet is full of cheap oils that could irritate and make your problem much worse.) Pulling out the ingrown hair is a logical cure, but you have to take precautions so that you don’t cause infection and permanent scars.
Here are a few tips:
- 1. Thoroughly clean the skin with a gentle cleanser
- 2. Squeeze the skin under the ingrown hair gently. If the hair is totally ingrown, use a sterilized needle and gently prick the pimple or pustule to expose the hair- then carefully use a clean sterile tweezer to pull it out. – If you can’t locate the hair don’t dig or further puncture the skin as you could cause dark marks or disfiguring scars.
- 3. When finished, clean the area with witch hazel on clean cotton pad and apply a drop of tea tree oil to help prevent infection If the hair is incased in a cyst, boil or if the area is swollen, inflamed or hot to the touch, keep hands off and contact your physician.
For excessive unwanted hair growth, seek the help of an endocrinologist to have your hormone levels checked. If ingrown hair is a continuous problem, consider laser hair surgery (a long term hair removal method). Laser hair surgery works by targeting the dark pigment in the hair and heating it to the degree that destroys the follicle bed’s ability to grow another hair. –A word of caution: Ethnic skin requires the use of a special long- wave-length or YAG laser- and more importantly, you need a physician who has lots of experience in treating people of colour. Once the hair is gone, dark marks can be faded with professional peels or microdermabrasion, and most importantly-a gentle, exfoliating homecare regimen.
Millie Bell is a master esthetician and founder and president of dermHA skin care products and Skin Health Solutions, LLC. Millie has spent the last 20 years perfecting treatments and products for the special needs of ethnic skin. For clear healthy looking skin go to
www.dermHA.com. Like dermHA on facebook and follow @dermHA on twitter.