Preventing Ingrown Hair: Essential Tips and Techniques

HK Vitals

Medically Reviewed By Dr. Aarti Nehra

Shaving your arms, legs and even bikini areas is a common practice that we indulge in from time to time. With the hair removal though comes the onslaught of these tiny, painful, and irritating bumps of hair. These bumps can cause a lot of irritation, redness and ruin your smooth skin post-shave.
This article discusses more about what ingrown hair is, how to make sure it is hair ingrowth, and how to take care of it.

What is Ingrown Hair?

Ingrowns are raised red bumps on the skin that may occur after shaving. These bumps are simply hair strands that have regrown, but instead of growing out, they curl up on themselves and into the skin. The hair strand grows into the first and topmost layer of your skin.

These bumps can happen almost anywhere on any body part that you shave. Things like ingrown pubic hair or in grown facial hair are also pretty common if you shave around the bikini line or facial area as these parts have thicker hair strands. These bumps can get itchy and irritate your skin, even cause some kind of soreness, and turn into pustules or inflamed cysts (in extreme cases.)

How to Check if It is Ingrown Hair?

At first glance, they hold a similar appearance to pimples but you need to be careful and check first to make sure of it. First, it is obvious that there is some hair underneath the bump then of course that’s ingrown hair. Next, the location of the bump also matters, if it is in one of the areas that are frequently shaved and/or waxed by you (arms and legs, beard area, etc.), then there are higher chances of it being ingrown (for facial area, it may be harder to determine as it is more prone to pimples).

Ingrown hair also lasts for a very long time if compared to pimples, so if your bumps are not going away even after a few months chances are that they are ingrowns. If it also seems to be too painful or has a yellow-colored pustulate, then that is also an indication of ingrown hair. While it is fairly easy to identify if you have a pimple or ingrown hair, it is always best to visit a doctor for a proper diagnosis, especially if it is bothering you too much.

Causes of Ingrowns

Hair ingrowth can be caused by a varying number of factors that you can find listed below for better understanding:

  • Hair removal (shaving or waxing)
  • Incorrect techniques of hair removal
  • Roughly shaving the skin can cause razor burns and ingrown hairs
  • Dead skin cells that can clog the pores and block hair follicles from growing.

Prevention Methods: How to Avoid Ingrowns

If you want to avoid ingrown hair, here are simple steps that you can follow:

  • The first step to prevent any ingrown hair is to exfoliate your skin in advance before you shave or wax the area.
  • Using any kind of gentle exfoliating cleanser that suits your skin type can be the easiest way to prevent such bumps from happening.
  • Exfoliation removes dead skin cells and loosen up the hair growth, which in turn makes the skin easier to shave. It also prevents any blockage of hair follicles, thus preventing ingrown hair on legs, arms, face, or your bikini line area.
  • For exfoliation, you can use products that have gentle acids in them such as salicylic, glycolic, and lactic, which can help prevent such ingrown hairs. They help loosen up the outermost layer of the skin and work on preventing and treating previous ingrowns too.
  • If you’re aiming to prevent ingrown pubic hair, using cotton pads that are soaked in the product is a better option, while for arms and legs, an exfoliating cleanser with a lotion-like consistency can go a long way.
  • Lastly, to avoid in grown facial hair, using light products with a runny texture; like a toner, can be a great way to treat the sensitive area.
  • Using products (shaving creams and gels) and doing the process gently also helps prevent razor burns and bumps like this.
  • One tip to follow through is that after exfoliation and shaving/waxing, your skin is prone to become more sensitive to external triggers, especially the sun. It is advisable to apply broad spectrum sunscreen and reduce sun exposure.
  • Following up your routine with the sunscreen that suits your skin type is a must to prevent any kind of issues with your skin.


Ingrown hair can be a big hassle to deal with, especially if they’ve been present for a few months. The red bumps can cause irritation and pain, and if not taken care of properly can sometimes turn into serious matters. You need to add exfoliation to your routine to prevent such raised bumps and ingrown hairs on legs, arms, face, and bikini lines.
If you take care of your skin properly, exfoliate regularly, and keep on using sunscreen, ingrowns like this will become a thing of the past for you.


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