How to manage ingrown hairs during lockdown and how to banish them

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Lisa Borg explains the best recipe to manage ingrown hairs at Pulse Light Clinic

What are they?

Ingrown hairs occur when a growing hair meets a blocked skin pore and turns back on itself and grows inward instead. They form a bump in the skin which may be itchy and/or painful and can easily become infected. Either due to infection or the fact that an ingrown hair is 'a foreign invader' the area can become swollen with inflammation. They often leave scars if scratched or picked. They are commonly painful and unsightly which can have a negative effect on self-image, and therefore self-confidence. In some cases they may require oral antibiotic therapy if they become badly infected, which has a subsequent negative impact on digestive health and innate immunity.

What Causes Them?

Pulling the skin taut when shaving
Those with tight curly hair are more prone to develop ingrown hairs
Wearing tight clothing, especially after some form of hair removal
Dead skin cells remaining on the surface of the skin can block pores

How To Prevent Them?

Avoid Dry Shaving
Banish ingrown hairs post lockdown with laser hair removal, if you are suitable, as it kills the hair at the root and will slowly reduce the number of hairs that can reduce ingrown hairs from forming)
When shaving, apply a warm compress to the area first, then lather up the shaving gel / cream and apply generously. Leave on for at least 3 minutes before you start shaving. This helps to soften the hair.
Shave in the direction of hair growth and rinse the blade frequently
Replace the blade often and use a single blade rather than multi-blade razors
Always apply a natural moisturiser to the area after shaving
Between shaves, exfoliate the area regularly to ensure the pores stay clean, clear of dead skin cells, and open for the newly growing hair to emerge from. See later for my go-to exfoliating recipe!

How To Treat Them?

To reduce inflammation apply ice or a cold compress to the area to reduce swelling. This can help with itching too.
Applying one or two drops of Tea Tree Essential Oil to an ingrown hair can help prevent infection and reduce inflammation.
Patience is a virtue when it comes to ingrown hairs. As long as it is not infected, avoid friction and scratching, and in most cases they sort themselves out.
Gently exfoliating the area using a soft bristled toothbrush or a textured mitt in circular movements can help. Use unscented soap and warm water, or see later for my go-to exfoliating recipe!
Avoid tight clothing at all costs by wearing loose fitting garments and avoid clothing that touches the face if that is the site of the ingrown hair. Aim for air circulation as much as possible.

My Go-To Exfoliating Recipe

You will need:
A glass jar with a lid (any type from used foods etc. thoroughly sterilised with boiling water and left to completely air-dry)
A ceramic bowl for initial mixing
Coarse Sea Salt (not the rock pebble kind, but not fine either!)
Coconut Oil
Tea Tree Oil
Raw Honey
A Tablespoon
A Cup
A Dollop of creativity

In your ceramic bowl, mix together:
1 Cup Coarse Sea Salt
4 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
1 Tablespoon Raw Honey
10 drops Tea Tree Oil

The mixing is going to take you a good 7-10 minutes to really get it thoroughly and properly blended. I suggest creatively dancing to a favourite jazz number or similar for the duration!

When done, transfer your blend to the glass jar, fasten the lid, label it with your creative title and pop it in the fridge.

How to Use:
Always work in one small area at a time
Take ½ teaspoon of your blend and transfer to your finger tips; apply gently but firmly to the area; gently rub in circular motions for approximately 30 seconds.
Taking increments of ½ teaspoons at a time, work over all areas you have recently performed hair removal on.
You can place 1 tablespoon of your blend onto a bath mitt for large areas like legs, back (get someone else to do the back), chest or buttocks.
Work in circular motions always and towards the heart (for legs that would mean starting at the ankle, for arms you would start at the wrist etc.)

The above is highly recommended for those of you who perform hair removal frequently to high-risk areas for ingrown hair, like upper thigh, bikini, peri, groin, underarm, neck and beard. I recommend doing it prior to shaving, at night before bed at least twice weekly, before you take a shower. "

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