Please upgrade your browser for the best Refinery29 experience. Read more.
Like spots and blue veins, ingrown hairs crop up as if from nowhere. We attempt to treat and prevent them, fumbling through adolescence with DIY google solutions that end in disaster – until we emerge in adulthood, bleary eyed and none the wiser.
With summer holidays and bikini situations around the corner, we asked Arezoo Kaviani’s, a Veet hair removal expert, her advice on how to really sort the irritable and sometimes very painful red lumps. We know from experience that if left untreated, they can lead to infection and scarring, so it's time to start giving your skin some informed TLC.
Ingrown hairs can be inherited but they can also be caused by shaving against the direction that hair grows in, as well as waxing, the friction caused by clothing, and dead skin debris obstructing the hair follicle's exit route. The glamour!
Firstly, Arezoo explains exactly what they are: "An ingrown hair is when a hair cannot push through the follicle and grows sideways into the skin. It causes a raised bump which may become red or infected and can be itchy and uncomfortable. Just about everyone will get them at some point in their life. But those who have coarse or curly hair may suffer more. Interestingly, I also see a lot of red heads who get them."
And what aggravates them? "Tight clothing (including tights) and synthetic fabrics can aggravate ingrown hairs. Stick to clothes that don’t stick to you!" – skinny jeans to one side, then. Besides her recommendation of "benzoyl peroxide" because it "helps dry out the lump and draw the hair to the skin’s surface" we picked Arezoo's brain for the most effective treatments that are worth trailing. Ranked in cost effectiveness, here's her guide to banishing the ingrown hair from your life.
Photo: Sydney Hass