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Ingrown hairs — just like parking fines and texts from your ex — happen. Given we’ve really been going hard on the whole ‘at home spa’ situation of late, you’ve no doubt tried your hand at waxing or shaving due to (very) long gaps between beauty appointments. If you’ve experienced (or are still experiencing) ingrowns, irritation or scarring, we’ve got some handy tips from MECCA’s skincare education manager, Lucy Shaw. It’s worth noting that these tips and tricks are more centred around waxing and shaving at home — if you’ve had laser treatment (lucky you!), it’s best to check in with your beauty therapist on your pre- and post-care routine.
According to Shaw, keeping the area regularly exfoliated and hydrated is your best bet to avoid in-growns in the first place. “By exfoliating, you’ll remove layers of dead, stubborn and tough skin that creates a physical barrier preventing the new hair from breaking through the surface of the skin,” she explains. “Keeping the area hydrated in the lead up and after treatment is also important because this helps to keep this layer of skin soft and supple.”
Shaw also recommends a targeted treatment once a week or an everyday body wash that you can keep in the shower and will remember to use each day, followed by a hydrating body cream when you get out of the shower.
And, you can avoid ingrown hairs by ensuring your towel is changed regularly — as ingrown hairs can often be caused by unwanted bacteria. Why not try Resorè’s Body Towel? It’s made with rayon bamboo which helps the towel to dry faster making it a less desirable area for microorganisms to gather.
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First things first: tackle the irritation and bacteria that may have occurred and calm it down as quickly as possible. “Salicyclic acid, zinc and sulphur are your best friend,” starts Shaw. “Salicylic acid will take care of any blockages within the hair follicles or pores, zinc helps to speed up the healing time and sulphur will kill any bacteria that may be causing a raised white head or painful cyst.”
Specifically focussing on the skin of the female intimate area, and avoiding ingrowns around there, using a product like Dr. Barbara Sturm’s V-Drops will soothe and hydrate skin after shaving and reduce any visible signs of irritation that may be evident if an ingrown has occurred.
Once the ingrown hair has been targeted, it will take around a week to heal, but the scarring that can be left behind may last a significant amount of time, even months. Shaw recommends being patient when it comes to the healing process. “Use a treatment product with niacinamide to help reduce the appearance of any redness or dark pigment on the area.” Try Briogeo’s Nourishing Superfood Body Cream: it contains niacinamide to help improve the appearance of scarring whilst deeply hydrating the skin. If the area of concern is out in the sun, always ensure you are diligent with sun protection— reapply as per the directions on the bottle if you’re on the beach or outdoors exposing the area to sunlight.
For ongoing care after the in-grown, and any associated scarring, has occurred try the Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Exfoliating Body Treatment: it offers 360 degree treatment that exfoliates and removes dead skin, but also actively targets scarring and pigmentation.
If you’ve had laser or hair removal treatment done professionally, ensure that you aren’t exfoliating straight after it: “Check in with your clinic on when is best to start using treatment products,” suggests Shaw. “If you’ve just done an at home shaving or waxing treatment, wait at least 24 hours before exfoliating, as your top layer of skin needs time to regenerate (both waxing and shaving remove a significant amount of dead skin).