It’s natural for men to struggle over how to best take care of facial hair and skin. Regardless of age, the desire to foster a look of refinement and neatness will always remain. Because of this, it’s important to understand the risks of not taking proper care of facial hair, such as the dreaded ingrown hairs. An ingrown hair is a strand that’s curled, twisted, grown back into the skin which can become irritating, unsightly and very painful. In the worst cases, ingrown hairs can cause skin infections and a great deal of discomfort. To make matters worse, their cause, prevention and treatment can be a very complex topic. However, with the right advice, knowledge, and understanding, men can take practical steps to minimize the chances of ingrown hairs in their beard.
The problem of ingrown hairs is especially so among those who look to groom their facial hair. Ingrown hairs can appear after facial hair is shaved, trimmed, waxed or plucked. Lots of men have found themselves uncomfortably dealing with ingrown hairs, so it’s important to understand the various tips and methods to alleviate the issue.
For many men, the source of ingrown hairs lays in inherent hair texture. Those with thicker, coarser hair and those with curly hair tend to suffer from ingrown hairs more often than those with fine or straight hair.
The best way to treat an ingrown hair is to exfoliate the face regularly. This will ensure the hair follicle is not blocked and will reduce the chances of an ingrown hair. Whilst exfoliating the beard, be sure to also moisturize afterwards with an appropriate product to reduce dryness and irritation. This helps to keep the skin healthy.
If you find yourself dealing with an ingrown hair, the simplest and least risky way to remove the ingrown hair is by using a sterile tweezer to extract it from the skin. This removes the hair from its root and helps to prevent further infection and inflammation. Boiling the tweezers beforehand gives them an extra level of sterility.
In some cases, it’s possible to see the ingrown hair, as it might have grown out of the skin partially. To reduce the chance of further infection, take the warmest shower possible and allow the warm water from the showerhead to directly run over the area. This should help to soften the follicle and make it easier for it to be removed.
Once the hair has been identified, it is possible to carefully tease out the hair using a tweezers proper, sterile technique and a steady hand. Gentle massage around the area can sometimes work as well, as this will help to slacken the hair reducing the chances of more skin trauma.
For more severe cases of ingrown hair, it is essential to seek the professional advice of a skin specialist. He or she will be able to recommend more effective treatments, such as antibiotic creams to reduce the chance of infection.
Preventing Ingrown Hairs
Knowing how to prevent ingrown hairs is half the battle and there are quite a few ways in which men can reduce the risk. Some of the most useful and effective tips are to use a shaving cream when shaving and to ensure the blade is sharp and lubricated. In addition, it is advised to use a shampoo that has not been treated with harsh chemicals, and as mentioned before, a regular exfoliation routine can be extremely beneficial. Most importantly, take care not to pick, squeeze or scratch the affected area, as this can open the area to infection.
Cutting Techniques To Minimise Ingrown Hairs
Another way to reduce the risk of developing ingrown hairs or minimise their severity is to reconsider the cutting technique used. Areas such as the neck are especially prone to developing ingrown hairs. It is advised to trim against the grain and make sure that the follicles are kept clear of debris. Using an antibacterial cream post-shave may also help to sooth any irritation.
Whilst growing a longer beard can be a great fashion statement, some may experience an increased risk of developing ingrown hairs. Therefore, men with longer beards should be sure to use a combination of oils and moisturisers to soften the beard and encourage the hairs to remain open. A weekly trim can also help by controlling the shape of the beard whilst preventing any stray hairs from curling back into the skin.
Having thicker, coarser hairs can work against those trying to maintain a cleaner appearance. It’s recommended that, along with keeping the area around the ingrown hair clean, a chemical peel may be beneficial to soften the entire beard area. Chemical peels are a series of mild solutions that are applied to the skin which can help to reduce bacteria, open up the follicles, and reduce any inflammation.
Scalp Treatment for Beards
Although it’s not often discussed, ingrown hair isn’t limited to the beard and other parts of the body can suffer as well. As many are aware, the scalp is particularly vulnerable to developing ingrown hairs and if left untreated, can result in considerable discomfort. Fortunately, many scalp treatments that are appropriate for the beard, such as exfoliating and chemical peeling, can also help with scalp ingrown hairs. And, shampooing and conditioning regularly can help ensure the entire beard area remains healthy.