Nothing irritates and dents the confidence of a man than having the smooth skin of his cheek and neck covered by some irritating reddish pimple-like bumps. As annoying and repulsive as these bumps are, they seem inevitable for guys, as they always appear after shaving. These pimple-like bumps are called ingrown hairs. Oh! That name sounds strange to you? Don’t get yourself confused, it is your common razor bumps that appear after you shave your beard.
- What is an Ingrown Hair?
- What are the possible causes of ingrown hair?
- Ways of treating Ingrown beard hairs
What is an Ingrown Hair?
An ingrown hair occurs when an already shaved, waxed, or tweezed hair curls and grows sideways into the skin instead of toward the surface. This mainly happens when dead skin cells clog hair follicles, forcing the hair to grow at a different angle under your skin. Once your skin detects that something is up, it gets irritated and the area swells up and turns into a red, painful bump that looks like a pimple and sometimes gets filled with pus. The problem becomes more severe if you have naturally curly hair or your skin is not clean enough as it could result in infections due to fostering bacteria.
What are the possible causes of ingrown hair?
- Ethnicity: Studies have shown that African-American and Latino men often develop ingrown hair (also known as pseudofolliculitis) than their counterparts because of the thick and curly nature of their hair, especially facial hair.
- Deep cutting of hairs: Cutting of hair close to or below the follicular opening may have a sharp tip that can pierce back into the skin to cause an ingrown hair.
- Improper waxing, shaving, or tweezing techniques: These are also major causes of ingrown hairs.
- Dead skin cells: Dead skin cells that remain on the skin most often clog the skin pores and may therefore create a barrier that hinders the natural growth of hair.
- Dry or unmoisturized skin: A very dry and dehydrated skin is more prone to ingrown facial hair. Highly moisturized and healthy skin allows easy growth of hair in the right direction.
Ways of treating Ingrown beard hairs
One of the most terrible mistakes that you can make is improperly dealing with it. So if you have an ingrown hair, no picking, squeezing, or scratching it. These might get your skin infected, darken the skin, or leave behind a tell-tale scar which I you won't like. However, the good news is that there are some safe ways with which you can treat or prevent ingrown beard hairs.
Ensure daily washing of your face
Clogged pores raise the risk for ingrown hairs, therefore it is always advisable to wash your face daily with a mild cleanser to remove any dirt or oil that is clogging your pores. Ensure your choice of cleansers are the ones that exfoliate skin. Also, rub your face in a circular motion while washing to remove dead skin cells.
Keep a grown beard
Yes, you heard me right. One of the easiest ways to treat or prevent ingrown beard hair is by growing a magnificent full beard. Since ingrown beard hair occurs after deep cutting of beard hairs due to inability of the hairs to pierce through the skin pores. Therefore by growing a massive beard all you need is keeping it in check with a decent trimmer. One exception to this would be the stubble beards, and for some men, this may be a beard style to try instead of shaving in alleviate ingrown hairs.
Exfoliate before shaving
Exfoliating the skin is a serious game changer when it comes to treating ingrown hairs, as this removes dead skin cells that prevent piercing through outgrowing hairs. By lightly scrubbing your face with an authentic exfoliator you easily get rid of the dead skin cells and leave a soft and clean skin surface for the emergence of the new growing hair.
Warm up your skin before shaving
Warm-up your skin with hot water before shaving or shave right after you get out of the shower to open the pores more and release any dirt or dead skin. Then, apply a cool towel after shaving- this cooling action closes the pores again, which prevents freshly shorn skin from clogging it up.
Only use sharp shaving equipment
Ensure the blades of any shaving equipment you are using is always sharp and clean. This can be achieved by proper washing and drying immediately after use. It is advisable (if you are using a manual razor blade) to let go after a few uses because dull blades tug hairs out of follicles, thereby causing swelling and irritation of the skin which results in ingrown hairs.
Shave in the direction of the grain
Almost everybody out there believes that shaving against the grain is the best practice for their beard hair. But this is a serious misconception. Although, Shaving against the grain gets you a ‘clean’ and closer shave, it also shaves the hair so close to the skin that it can get caught in the pore. Therefore, it is always advisable to shave in the direction your hair is growing in order to prevent ingrown hairs. If you find it time-consuming, you can use a shaver with rotary blades.
Use Beard Oils to Treat Ingrown Hair
Beard oils are like magic elixir for your beard and the skin beneath it. They hydrate the skin and make your beard look glowing. Beard oils act by opening up the pores of your face and accelerate the release of bacteria and pus caused by ingrown hairs. Interestingly, many of these natural beard oils (such as tea tree oil) contain antiseptic ingredients that treat infection and itching.