MARCH 2023 | 5 Minute Read
I’m no stranger to the struggle that is ingrown hairs and can be certain I’m not alone, in fact a study found that 60% of women who remove their pubic hair experience complications such as ingrown hairs. There’s nothing worse than dealing with irritation and inflammation that leads to ingrown hairs as the hair grows back out.
Men are also incredibly susceptible and can suffer from ingrown hairs on the face, especially on the neckline. The bottom line: shaving is no joke and ingrown hairs are even worse as it usually not only means painful irritation, but more often than not they will leave behind unsightly and stubborn ingrown hair scars and hyperpigmentation.
Thankfully, there are ways to prevent and treat ingrown hair scars, especially with a dermatologist-approved, loved and recommended ingredient that I will share.
First, let’s define ingrown hair scars and why they happen in the first place.
An ingrown hair occurs when hair curls back or grows sideways into the skin, causing inflammation and the formation of small, raised bumps. While ingrown hairs often go away on their own, they can sometimes lead to scarring, which can be more difficult to treat.
Essentially, ingrown hair scars happen when the skin tries to heal after an ingrown hair has become inflamed. This is called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and the discoloration left behind from the healing process can be permanent if left untreated.
There are several reasons you may be more susceptible to ingrown hairs and scars:
If you have curly hair, you’re more likely to get ingrown hairs. This is because the hair can easily curl back into the skin. Areas of the body with curlier or coarser hair are more prone to ingrown hairs:
Skin of color (otherwise known as melanin-rich skin) is extremely prone to hyperpigmentation and discoloration from irritation.
If you shave regularly, you’re more likely to experience irritation and inflammation, which can increase the risk of ingrown hairs and scars.
Wearing tight clothing can cause friction, which can lead to ingrown hairs.
If you have dry skin, it can make it harder for hair to grow out of the follicle, increasing the likelihood of ingrown hairs and scars.
The key to managing ingrown hair scars is to prevent them from happening in the first place.
Though it can be tempting, make sure you don’t try to pop, pick or dig out an ingrown hair. I can almost guarantee you will make it worse, cause deeper pigmentation and can risk infection.
Exfoliating can help prevent ingrown hairs by removing dead skin cells and allowing hair to grow more easily out of the follicle. You can use a super gentle physical exfoliant, but make sure it is not too abrasive! Don’t scrub too hard and only use it 1-2 times a week.
As mentioned above, dry skin can make it harder for hair to grow out of the follicle, so keeping your skin hydrated is key. Use a non-comedogenic moisturizer that works for your skin type, and don’t forget to apply it after exfoliating.
Opt for loose, breathable clothing that doesn’t cause friction in the areas you are prone to pigmentation. Ensure the seams of your underwear are not tight and don’t rub in the bikini area.
Using a sharp razor can prevent irritation and inflammation, reducing the risk of ingrown hairs and scars. Also don’t pull the skin taut when shaving and don’t shave against the direction of hair growth.
If you’re someone who gets a lot of ingrown hairs, laser hair removal can be a great option. It’s a more permanent solution that can help prevent ingrown hairs from forming in the first place.
Not to worry, there is a great way to manage the discoloration on the skin, but be cautious not to use methods that will cause more irritation. Avoid aggressive chemical treatments (such as high 7% glycolic acid toners or 30% AHA peeling solutions) or abrasive sugar scrubs and physical exfoliants that will tear the skin.
Kojic acid is a natural ingredient that has been well researched, approved by Health Canada and the FDA, and has been a very popular ingredient in Asia for the effective treatment of pigmentation, dark spots and discoloration.
Kojic acid soap made with kojic dipalmitate is best. Kojic dipalmitate is the more superior and stable form and dermatologists recommend it over kojic acid for brightening sensitive and skin of color.
Kojic acid soap can be used on the body, anywhere you have pigmentation and discoloration, however avoid use in the vaginal region.
Simply lather for 30 seconds in the affected area and rinse. If your ingrown hair scars are on the underarms, you can follow with a nicinamide brightening deodorant for faster results.
Overall, ingrown hair scars can be a frustrating issue to deal with, but there are strategies you can use to prevent and treat them. By keeping your skin exfoliated, moisturized, and free from irritation, you can reduce your risk of developing ingrown hairs and scars. And if you do end up with scars, opt for a gentle treatment option such as kojic acid soap. As always, if you’re experiencing any persistent or concerning skin issues, it’s best to seek the advice of a doctor or dermatologist.
All content found on this website is created for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website.
Clean beauty industry maven and product developer Madame Sweat (Mary Futher) founded kaia naturals after spending 20 years working for global beauty companies. She now shares advice on modern hygiene etiquette for grooming, hosting, home and travel on Instagram, TikTok and her popular blog called The House of Hygiene.