We can all remember being young men and having our first couple experiences with shaving, even if there were only three hairs on our faces. I can remember flipping through yearbooks, and you could tell who was shaving their faces, red bumps and rashes from chin to neck. The facial hair struggle was real.
The shaving struggle is still real. Though sometimes those bumps can be a reaction to certain shaving creams or be because your baby face is just too sensitive for that razor, but a lot of times it is due to ingrown hairs. Don't worry. They're preventable as hell.
Where Do They Come From?
Ingrown hairs are not scientific or caused because you eat too many cheeseburgers, they are simply hairs that curl around and grow back into the face or when the shaved hair gets trapped inside the follicle.
And you can literally get ingrown hairs anywhere that you grow hair, but for these purposes, we are going to stick with your face. Ingrown hairs can be a pain causing itching, redness, swelling and leaving your face bumpy instead of baby butt smooth. Besides the physical part, those little red bumps are aesthetically gross, and I am pretty sure your date next Friday won’t enjoy staring at that all night.
There are several things you can do to help fight ingrown hairs on your face. Of course the most obvious is grow your beard out like Anthony Hopkins in Wolf Man.
But if sporting the shag is not quite your style there are some very simple changes you can make to your shaving routine to avoid those painful bumps. Prevention does not mean you can just pick one of these and do it sometimes; you have to make sure to make these steps a regular shaving routine. One quick shave without it and you can right back to bumpville.
Put. Down. The. Foam.
Shaving creams made for sensitive skin that moistens are your best friend. Foams tend to dry out the skin. And for the love of Tom Hanks do not use alcohol, rubbing alcohol that is, on your skin.
Exfoliation is a great way to wash away the excess. Besides being incredibly healthy for your skin, exfoliating removes the dead layers of skin allowing less room for the hairs to become trapped after shaving.
Sport the 5 o'clock shadow.
Shaving too closely will cause the hair follicles to lodge in your face, allowing them to grow sideways. Try using a single blade razor and don’t pull down with your hands. Be gentle guys, be gentle.
Shave it while it’s hot. No, I do not mean in the dead of summer. Shave as soon as you get done showering because your pores are open, and your face is free of the day’s dirt. With open pores and a good razor, the hair will lift out easily instead of being ripped out like garden weeds.
How Do I Get Rid Of Them!
So you’ve spent your time shaving, neglecting one, or all, of the above rules for preventing ingrown hairs. At this point you need to get rid of them and let your face heal, but how do you do that? There are several techniques that you can use to help improve from ingrown hairs. Remember to continue to do the preventative steps as you are contributing to healing the ingrown hair issue you already have or as soon as you fix the one you’ll have ten more.
Start small. When you notice you have an ingrown hair, don’t automatically break out the chainsaw and begin to accept a life without a chin. The least invasive way to remove an ingrown hair to allow the skin to heal is by gathering the following: facial cleanser, washcloth, and an exfoliate like salt or sugar scrub. Start first by wetting the washcloth with hot water and applying the facial cleanser to the affected area. Don’t wash it with all your force, instead, gently rub in circles which will open your pores and clean the area of bacteria. Once the area is clean, repeat the process again, but with your scrub. The motion, the opening of the pores, and the scrub should bring the ingrown hair to the surface, allowing you to pull it gently out.
Attack it topically. By topically we mean chemically and no this is not an excuse for a trip to the hardware store. Products made with salicylic acid, glycolic acid, or witch hazel will dry that particular area enough for the ingrown hair to emerge above the skin. This will aide in the ability to remove it and continue with the healing process.
Burn baby burn. Put down the torch. If you are constantly, regardless of preventative measures, dealing with unsightly and painful ingrown hairs, it might be time to speak with your doctor about laser hair removal or electrolysis. Though here at GQ Barber Lounge we are quite fond of your hairy face, sometimes enough is enough. These are extremely costly procedures and your hope of one day living out in the wilderness as a mountain man may be stifled from the inability to grow hair any longer, so make sure to weigh all your options before settling on this one. An occasional ingrown hair is no reason to go crazy.
So there you go.
You have the what, the where, and the hardcore knowledge of how to keep ingrown hairs from ruining that freshly shaven face. Make sure to follow your daily skin cleansing routine to keep bacteria from clogging your pores and making your more susceptible to the itchy red bumps. A soft face is a handsome one.