Hair is a woman’s crowning glory… but unwanted hair on the face and/or body can become ingrown and cause unsightly blemishes. Ingrown hair occurs when the sharp tip of the hair curls back and grows under the skin. Left untreated, ingrown hair can become irritated, swollen and infected. Repeated attempts to pick, squeeze or open the skin with needles or tweezers can cause dark marks and scars that can linger for months–even years.
To treat an ingrown hair, cleanse the area with a cleanser for your skin type. With a Q tip, apply a drop of pure tea tree oil directly on the ingrown hair several times a day. Pure tea tree oil has natural antiseptic and anti-fungal properties so it kills both bacteria and fungus. It should help dry the blemish or pustule making the hair easier to extract. Use it sparingly and only on the spots where needed. (Make sure you get your tea-tree oil from a reliable health food store or a professional source).
If you use tweezers to extract the hair make sure the tweezers are sterilized to prevent infection. Calm and hydrate the skin afterward with a non-fragranced water-based moisturizer.
Ingrown hair can become a major problem if the infection from the follicles spread over a large area or if painful cysts develop. If the affected area has pus, is red, swollen, feels tender and/or hot to the touch, you should consult your physician. Antibiotics might be needed to rid the infection from your system.
Using the proper skin care products can help reduce and sometimes eliminate the incidence of ingrown hair. In addition to tea tree oil, gentle but thorough cleansing/exfoliating, and hydrating with a water based moisturizer are the three basic steps you need to keep skin healthy.
Here are a few do’s and don’ts for skin care in areas with unwanted hair:
Do choose an exfoliating cleanser with AHA’s and/or salicylic acid. The acids help to keep dead cells from clogging pores and salicylic (at 2% concentration) kills bacteria. Make sure the acne cleanser is moisture balanced so it doesn’t overly dry and strip your skin of needed oils.
Don’t use buff puffs, scrubs or loofas on acne skin. Loofas and buff puffs can harbor bacteria, plus the friction from rubbing is known to stimulate more acne break-out (Follow with a water based moisturizer to hydrate and balance oil production).
Do choose a cleanser with combination of AHA’s or fruit acids to gently exfoliate dead cells without irritating skin. Look for one combined with hyaluronic acid to help reduce oil production and keep skin feeling soft and healthy (Follow with a water-based moisturizer to keep skin soft and smooth).
Don’t use cleansing grains or abrasives on your face as it could irritate skin, and if overused they can stimulate acne breakout or cause broken capillaries.
Do choose a gentle, non-irritating facial cleanser that thoroughly cleanses and hydrates skin, leaving it soft and supple so that hair can pass through. Gentle exfoliation with an exfoliating crème in the targeted area can lift dead cells to open pores (Follow with a moisturizing crème for dry skin that’s super hydrating and soothing).
Don’t use dirty tweezers, pins or needles to open hair follicles. Bacteria can cause infection and increase the possibility of scarring.
If you have problem skin, seek the help of a licensed esthetician who’s experienced in working with your specific skin problem. Most licensed estheticians offer free consultations. For more information contact www.dermHA.com
Mildred (Millie) Bell is a licensed aesthetician working hands-on in clinical skincare. Millie has a combined 30 years of experience in the skin care industry working with sensitive and problem skin. She is President of dermHA and Skin Health Solutions, formulator and manufacturer of dermHA in Downingtown, PA. Skin care products from her exclusive dermHA line can be purchased at www.dermha.com. ‘Like’ dermHA on Facebook and follow dermHA on Twitter.