Asian woman with towel shaving

Ingrown hair is hair that grows sideways and curls back into the skin. Hair grows from the root deep inside the follicle and pushes out of the skin. Sounds icky? Don’t worry. It’s common and treatable.

Symptoms of ingrown hair include a raised red bump, a sore, itching, and discomfort. Sometimes, the hair will be noticeable under the skin, too. The usual culprit is improper or aggressive hair removal. Read on to find out how your shaving habits are causing ingrown hair.

You Don’t Change Your Razor

Blades have a shelf life. Changing your razor after a few uses can help prevent ingrown hair.

If you’re going to shave, make sure that you’re using a fresh, sharp razor. A study conducted at the University of California found that when the hair bends or interacts with the razor at a certain angle, it can chip the blade.

Think about how old your shaver is. Disposable razors are generally good for three to 10 uses. A dull, old blade can cause ingrown hairs while a sharp razor cuts hair more effectively and promotes a smoother shave. The latter also protects you from razor bumps and irritation.

You Don’t Prep Your Skin

Prepping your skin before shaving helps prevent ingrown hair.

Since hair removal is the primary cause of ingrown hair, prepping the skin before shaving is essential. Gentle exfoliation is one way to remedy ingrown hair, but it’s also an effective way to prevent it. Exfoliating the skin regularly sloughs off dead skin cells that can block the hair follicles.

Use a moisturizing exfoliant such as Dove Gentle Exfoliation Body Wash, which prevents dull-looking skin. Apart from removing dead skin cells, this body wash has NutriumMoisture technology that helps maintain the skin’s natural moisture. Once a week, use a body polish like Dove Kiwi Seeds & Cool Aloe Exfoliating Body Polish. It exfoliates skin with gentle kiwi seeds and soothes it with aloe. It also has ¼ moisturizing cream to wrap skin in luxurious moisture and a relaxing scent that can make the shaving experience a more pleasant one. 

You Shave Your Skin Dry

Consistently lubricate your skin and hair before shaving. Shaving dry hair can create sharp edges that can grow back into the skin. Use shaving cream or gel, then let your skin soak for a few minutes before shaving. Avoid going against the grain or pulling at your skin to achieve a smoother shave. It makes the tips of the hair curl back into the skin and grow there. 

You Pick at Your Ingrown Hairs

If you do get ingrown hairs, resist the urge to pick at them even if you can see the hair underneath the skin. The NHS states that this can lead to damaged skin or put you at risk of infection. Instead, exfoliate using a body polish using gentle, circular motions to tease the hair from underneath the skin.

We cannot guarantee that you'll never get ingrown hair again, but following these tips can help you avoid them. You could also try other ways of hair removal, such as waxing or using depilatory creams to keep your hair from curling inward. See your doctor if the area becomes very painful, swells, or starts to burn.