Getting a clean, smooth shave feels great. Knowing that you look great down there can also give you an extra boost in confidence during your intimate moments. But that feeling goes away once those pesky, painful ingrown hairs start to appear.
The vulva is not only sensitive but it’s also personal. Dealing with ingrown hairs in that area can be particularly annoying. They’re painful… they don’t look great… and they can make you supremely uncomfortable in your body.
But there’s a lot you can do to prevent in-grown hairs from appearing in the first place. And more importantly, there are proven remedies to make them disappear fast without a trace.
Let’s talk all about that today.
First, what are Ingrown Hairs?
Ingrown hairs happen after a shave. The tip of the cut hair is sharpened by the shave. And as the hair starts to grow, the sharp tip easily curls back into the skin instead of growing up from it.
This leads to ingrown hairs. And in time it turns into small, painful bumps.
Ingrown hair usually appears on the vulva, especially after waxing or shaving. That happens because the skin around the vulva is delicate.
How often you get bumps will depend on a few things. They include your skin type, hair texture, personal hygiene, lifestyle, and the hair removal methods you use.
These factors also determine how painful the bumps will feel, and how to treat them.
Why do Ingrown Hairs Happen, and How Can You Prevent Them?
Ingrown hairs are triggered by hair removal methods like shaving and waxing. But it doesn’t mean that you must expect ingrown hairs if you shave or wax.
Here how to get a super neat shave that prevents ingrown hairs:
Shave Along Your Hair Growth: Shaving against the direction of hair growth can cause ingrown hairs. Always shave in the direction your hair grows with a sharp razor. And don't forget to hydrate your skin before shaving to soften the hairs.
Consider following these doctor-recommended steps while shaving:
- Wet your skin and hair to soften it before shaving.
- Apply a shaving cream or gel.
- Use a clean, sharp razor.
- Shave in the direction the hair is growing.
- Rinse after each swipe of the razor.
- Pat your skin dry afterward. Do not rub.
If you choose to wax, ensure your hair is at least a quarter-inch long so the wax can grip it properly.
- Exfoliate Regularly: Dr. Alice Bradford, a board-certified dermatologist, recommends regular exfoliation. This helps to remove dirt that clog up your hair follicles and cause ingrown hairs. Some of that includes dead skin cells, oil, and sweat.
- Moisturize: Applying a good moisturizer after hair removal helps keep the skin supple. This is a great way to prevent the formation of ingrown hairs.
If you spot an ingrown hair, here’s how to deal with it:
- Warm Compress: Get a clean washcloth and wet it with warm water. Next press it onto the ingrown hair to help soften the skin and bring the hair to the surface.
- Topical Creams: Look for creams or lotions that contain salicylic acid. This helps to relieve inflammation and encourage the hair to break free.
- Professional Help: Reach out to a professional when ingrown hairs become painful. Other signs to watch out for are redness or pus. They usually mean that there's an infection.
When Should You See a Professional?
Ingrown hairs can get infected. And when it does, it turns into a painful, boil-like sore. When that happens, it’s best to seek a healthcare professional.
They’ll usually recommend treatments like:
- Steroid creams — to reduce inflammation…
- Retinoids — to remove dead skin cells,
- And antibiotics — for infections.
Some severe cases may require minor surgery. In that case, a surgeon will make a small cut in your skin to release the ingrown hair.
Remember, if it’s already advanced, don't try to pick or squeeze the ingrown hair at home. It can lead to scarring or infections.
How Your Lifestyle Can Encourage Ingrown Hairs
Studies have found that lifestyle is connected to ingrown hairs.
For example, wearing tight clothing often causes friction. That pressure encourages hair to grow downwards into the skin.
Simply switching to loose, comfortable underwear and clothing can make a world of difference. And if you suffer from ingrown hairs often, that can be all you need to do.
Moreover, diet also affects the skin. So a balanced, nutrient-rich diet can also contribute to reducing the occurrence of ingrown hairs.
2 Safer Hair Removal Methods
While shaving and waxing are common hair removal methods, others can also be considered to avoid ingrown hairs.
Hair removal methods with lower risk of ingrown hair includes:
- Laser hair removal,
- And depilatory creams.
These should be used under the guidance of a professional because of the sensitive nature of the vulva.
Yes, you can manage, treat, and completely prevent ingrown hairs in the future.
And that starts with finding the perfect hair removal methods for your skin.
- Bradford, A. (2023). Skincare Advice from Dermatologists. Dermatology Journal.
- American Academy of Dermatology. (2022). How to prevent and treat ingrown hairs. [online] Available at: www.aad.org
- Healthline. (2022). Ingrown Hair on Your Vagina? Here’s What to Do. [online] Available at: www.healthline.com