Your Complete Guide to Treating Those Ingrown Hairs on Your Bikini Line
Ingrown hairs are one of the most dreaded beauty woes, especially when they materialize around the bikini area. They hurt, can get irritated and swollen easily, and are just not what you want to see peeking out from your bikini line. If you're suffering from a case of the bumps, you might be wondering how to treat ingrown hairs at home, whether or not you can pop them, and if there are specific ways you can prevent ingrown hairs from popping up in the future.
We talked to dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD, about how to treat ingrown hairs, prevent ingrown hairs, and get rid of those painful little suckers as easily as humanly possible. Consider this your complete guide to prevention, products, and tips that will finally cure you of your ingrown-hair problem.
What Is an Ingrown Hair?
When you remove hair from the follicle, sometimes it grows back and curls under the skin, causing inflammation and unsightly bumps.
Although similar to a zit, an ingrown hair and a pimple are not the same thing. "Pimples are caused from hormones, oils, and bacteria, while an ingrown hair is caused when the hair curls on itself to create a bump," Dr. Gohara explains.
How Did I Get an Ingrown Hair?
Shaving, waxing, tweezing, and other forms of hair removal can all cause ingrown hairs. If you're regularly removing hair from your body or face, you've probably experienced them.
How to Prevent Ingrown Hairs
According to Dr. Gohara, if you're looking to prevent ingrown hairs, you could try switching to laser hair removal — she says the process prevents the follicles from being able to grow new hair, meaning it won't get trapped beneath the skin.
If laser hair removal seems like a major investment, there are some other things you can do. Make sure if you shave your bikini line that you're using shaving cream and only shaving in the direction of hair growth. (Dr. Gohara recommends using a razor with only one or two blades.) Then, make sure you are exfoliating weekly, since sloughing off the dead skin cells sitting at the surface can keep the hair from growing under the skin. Try a chemical pad like the Completely Bare Bikini Bump Blaster ($11). Follow that up with an ingrown-hair serum like the Fur Ingrown Concentrate ($32) to prevent flaking, irritation, and hyperpigmentation from forming on your bikini line.
Can You Pop an Ingrown Hair?
If you're thinking about popping your ingrown hairs, Dr. Mohara warns that popping one of those bumps is a really bad idea. "That just creates more inflammation in the skin and more likelihood of scarring," she says. "If it gets inflamed, go to the dermatologist and get it drained, evaluated for infection, and treated."
To treat an existing ingrown hair, keep your cortisone cream handy to keep it from getting infected. Also, make sure to wear loose-fitting clothing so you don't irritate the bump more.
Another way to keep the bumps away and treat ingrown hairs is by getting a "facial" after you shave or wax. Haven Spa in New York City offers a treatment called the Peach Smoothie to help with this summer issue. Best done three days after you get a wax, it starts with an AHA cleanser to chemically exfoliate the skin, as well as a scrub to physically exfoliate it. The aesthetician will also extract any gunk from your clogged pores to release the trapped hairs.