After hair removal, as the hair grows back, it can sometimes become blocked and trapped in the hair follicle turning into bumps or even infected pores. As the hair grows it can either just curl up, and look unsightly from the surface, or it can "dig" into the surrounding skin. This will cause the skin to regard it as foreign material, and it will try to push it out, hence the infection and inflammation.
Prevention is the key. Moisturising the skin daily is important to keep it soft because when the skin is dry, it pulls tight at the surface, tightening up the mouth of the follicle, blocking the hair.
A thin film of dead cell build-up on the surface can also block the hair, so exfoliating 2-3 times per week will help prevent the problem and even help "release" the blocked hair before it becomes a problem. A good loofah or a body scrub can do the job nicely.
If the hair follicles have become infected and inflamed, treat the infection by dabbing on an anti-bacterial toner, serum, cream or lotion. Your beauty therapist can recommend a good anti-bacterial product we usually use to treat infected acne. Anti-bacterial ingredients to look out for include willow bark or willow herb, Centella Asiatica, uva ursi (bearberry) extract, calendula, tea tree oil, magnesium, gentian extract, boric acid, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), Matricaria (chamomile) oil, chaparral extract, zinc and salicylic acid which also doubles as an exfoliant to help release the trapped hair from the hair follicle. All of the above are also anti-inflammatory, helping to reduce the localised redness and swelling surrounding the infected ingrown hair. Some of these ingredients may be too strong and very irritating on intimate areas, so please consult with your beauty therapist for advice.
To draw out a stubborn ingrown hair, I found zinc based acne spot treatments very good. Another option I found great is Ichthammol Ointment in a carrier such as paraffin or beeswax. The best ones also contain natural ingredients such as arnica, vitamin E or comfrey, which can further aid in healing. Apply on the ingrown hair, cover with a band aid, and allow it to draw the hair and any infection out to the surface. When the hair is ready to pop, you can gently ease it out with sterilised tweezers. If you're not sure how, or need help, your beauty therapist may be able to tweeze or lance the stubborn hair out.
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