You may notice, not long after hair removal, that small bumps may appear. These may become further irritated resulting in redness, itchiness, discoloration, or infection. What is known as pseudofolliculitis barbae but commonly referred to as “ingrown hairs” or "razor bumps" may be transpiring deep beneath where even your eyes cannot see.

Both men and women have reported this to be among one of the major concerns regarding how to take care of their skin's health especially after shaving. Ingrown hairs, as the name implies, occur when the end of the hair shaft is cut resulting in a sharpened edge that as it grows, curls back into the same hair follicle and results in an inflammatory response (redness, itchiness, and/or raised infected area). At times the small "ingrown hair" hair itself can even be seen beneath the raised area. Thus the hair is “ingrown” in that it does not penetrate the dermis as it grows, as it should.

An ingrown hair is a hair that curls and then penetrates the skin with its tip as it grows, causing swelling and redness. Inflammation and pus formation are the most common symptoms.

The seriousness of the inflammation and infection of the ingrown hair or razor bump may vary. For some this is an annoying occurrence that doesn't pose a serious health problem. For others pseudofolliculitis barbae can develop into extreme Folliculitis when the hair follicle becomes acutely inflamed. Bacteria, yeasts, or fungi infections can further exacerbate the problem, and there are even acne variants of this same condition.

A skin condition called keratosis pilaris is a non-contagious, innocuous skin ailment appearing similar to small goose bumps, most commonly found on the upper arms, thighs, and sometimes other body parts. The condition is caused by old, shed skin cells getting stuck in hair follicles. Keratosis pilaris is most commonly seen in teenagers, and most people's symptoms subside as they get older. Fortunately, ingrown hairs and keratosis pilaris are benign conditions.
What are the causes of ingrown hairs? And is there anything one can do to effectively deal with this situation?

  1. Skin suffering from lack of moisture
  2. Embedded oil in the hair follicles
  3. Build up of dead skin cells in the pores and on the surface of the skin can cause ingrown hairs - some are more prone to this than others due to genetics
  4. Coarse curly hair growing in a curved hair follicle
  5. Improper shaving technique with a blade such as too close a shave
Dead cells can accumulate at the site of the irritation and form papule which can also contain pus while the skin heals.

While this process continues any hair in the area can get trapped under the formation and is prevented from exiting the skin properly. Ingrown hair is the result.

  1. Constant tenderness
  2. Trapped, ingrown hairs cause inflammation which result in the body forming papule - a small, raised, abnormality on the skin commonly known as a bump giving rise to the term 'razor bumps'
  3. The body can also respond by producing a pustule - a blister on the skin containing pus
  4. Itching
  5. Tingling
  6. Pain - mild or severe
  7. Hard, prominent, irregular scar tissue in the skin in chronic cases

How to Prevent: Ingrown Hairs

Use Tea Tree Oil once or twice a day in conjunction with a loofah bath or shower. Tea Tree Oil has a bacterial ability to kill infection and prevent pustules forming. (Avoid the eye area)

After 24-48 hours exfoliate the skin (with a Loofa sponge for example) to prevent the dead skin from accumulating in areas that can become ingrown such as the bikini line, upper thighs, underarms and calves.

Prevent ingrown hairs by not wearing tight clothing over freshly waxed areas to minimize

Exfoliating every time you bathe and cleanse the face is your best defense against ingrown hairs and razor bumps. Gentle cleansing and keeping the skin smooth and supple works well to keep the hair follicles moisturized and growing in the right direction.
  • Exfoliate by rubbing your skin with a loofah or other type of scrub while showering or bathing.
  • Moisturize with a lotion that will not clog pores (look for the word "noncomedogenic" on the label).
  • Use over-the-counter skin treatments that contain salicylic acid, which helps slough off old skin.