Beauty Clinic: How to avoid ingrown hairs
Q. When my legs were waxed recently, the beautician said I had ingrown hairs on the insides. What can I do to prevent these?
A. Ingrown hairs occur when a hair gets trapped under the skin before it leaves the follicle. It’s a little known fact that the inside lower leg is a common place for ingrown hairs, perhaps because we tend to skip that bit when we’re exfoliating – if we exfoliate, that is. So the first step is to do just that!
Tracey Smith, director of Ashmira Botanica (ashmirabotanica.com), a small company that has turned waxing into a fine art, recommends using a body scrub, brush or mitt to gently exfoliate your skin three or four times a week. But don't exfoliate for a few days after your legs have been waxed, she warns, as your skin may be a bit sensitive. (She advises avoiding heat and friction for 24 to 48 hours after waxing. So only take cool baths and showers during that time.)
Ashmira Botanica offers Purifying Skin Spritz/£15 for 100ml, to help release ingrown hairs. Comfort Balm may also help and both should slow hair regrowth, too. (Ashmira is shortly launching a Multi-Action Ingrown Serum, so watch that space.)
A thought for men suffering ingrown hairs: do read the blog on ‘Ingrown hairs’ on Ashmira Botanica’s website. There’s a wealth of information and suggested products there.
Our favourite mitt is Ameliorate Exfoliating Body Mitt/£9.50, which they describe (refreshingly bluntly) as ‘a scrubbing tool’. It sweeps away the dead surface skin cells, which make your legs look rough, and helps unblock hair follicles. Ameliorate also offers Smoothing Body Exfoliant/£17.50 for 150 ml, which is designed to help dry skin conditions including keratosis pilaris (little tiny white bumps all over the skin). Find Ameliorate products at victoriahealth.com.
Finally, it’s worth tackling any ingrown hairs, wherever they may occur, as they can sometimes become infected if left alone and – in the worst case scenario (which is rare) - turn into painful, pus-filled sores, according to NHS.UK.