OK, we admit it’s gross but watching ingrown hair popping videos on YouTube is our guilty beauty pleasure. Yet, it doesn’t ease the pain when one rears its unsightly head on our body.
Ingrown hairs are our number one annoyance of the skin-on-show season. And we’re not alone; 30% of women who groom their bikini area consider ingrown hairs to be one of their biggest hair removal bugbears, according to a Beauty and the Beach survey commissioned by Venus Gillette.
“The condition of skin is important when it comes to ingrown hairs," says Dr Anita Sturnham, dermatologist and Venus ambassador. The follicular opening can become clogged with a build-up of skin cells, which then trap the hair, impeding its natural progress out of the skin. Hair pierces the follicle wall growing into the surrounding skin."
But now, women believe they've found the cure they've been searching for.
According to , women have taken to the Reddit Skincare Addiction forum to hail a £16 blackhead scrub their miracle cure for ingrown hairs.
The women are raving about COSRX's BHA Blackhead Power Liquid, which is a pretty potent exfoliating scrub designed to unclog pores and stop blackheads forming.
But what do the experts say? Well, dermatologist Shari Marchbein, notes that while BHAs can help banish those pesky bumps left by shaving, beating ingrown hairs is tougher work. She said: "BHAs are oil-soluble and can therefore penetrate deep into pores helping to unclog them and remove dead skin.
"True ingrown hairs from waxing or shaving occur when the hair gets cut below the top layer of the skin, and as it regrows, gets trapped underneath and cannot penetrate back through the epidermis.
"It is unlikely a solution containing BHA will be able to significantly improve the inflammation or free up the trapped hairs."
The best prevention? Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate! Exfoliate in-between hair removal sessions to ensure skin is clear and hair can grow out in the right direction. “The gentle scrubbing action removes the upper layer of skin and hair can get through to the surface,” says Dr Sturnham.
When scrubbing isn’t an option (and, yes, we’re talking bikini line or underarms here) wipe over with a cleansing pad, steeped in glycolic or salicylic acids. The acid works to break down debris and unblock pores with one easy swipe. Try Glycolic Fix Exfoliating Facial Pads, £8,
Shaving can be a culprit for ingrown hairs, so if it’s your preferred method for speedy hair removal, reduce the risk with these simple steps. Always shave in the direction of hair growth; use a shaving foam for a close, clean shave, and always rinse your blade between strokes.
And using the same blade for three months straight is a no-go, with pros suggest switching blades every ten shaves. Try Venus Comfort Glide Vanilla Creme, £10.49, with three blades for a close shave.
Alternatively, try a different hair removal technique such as epilation, which takes hair out at the root for longer lasting smooth. The Silk-Epil 9 SkinSpa SensoSmart Epilator, £209.99, comes with two exfoliation brushes to prevent ingrown hairs.
Post-hair removal, slather on a skin-calming moisturiser, such as 95% Pure Aloe Vera Gel Moisturiser,£10.99,. "Applying a moisturiser with cooling ingredients, such as aloe, ensures the skin stays nourished and supple," says Dr Sturnham.
So how come some of us are more prone than others?
“Our hairs are unique - the thickness, coarseness, colour and regrowth rate varies from person to person. Despite using similar methods of hair removal, some people struggle with ingrown hairs whilst others do not,” says Dr Sturnham.
And if despite your best attempts, they do appear... DON’T squeeze. Hairs very close to the surface can be coaxed out with a sterile needle or pair of tweezers, but if the hair is deep in the skin, don’t go digging. It can lead to folliculitis, when the pore become inflamed and infected. Dab on an antibacterial treatment such as Ingrown Concentrate £20.80, Fur, to calm and treat the area.
Now reward yourself with a spot of bikini shopping!