Ingrown hair holocaust!
April 13, 2005 6:34 AM   Subscribe

Help save me from my hideous ingrown hair problem! I've always been prone to them but now for some reason in the past couple months it's gotten worse. I get them all over my legs and on the back of my arms and my forearms.

I'm guessing the little scrunchy scrubbie thing I'm using in the shower doesn't do a damn thing (big surprise). Have any of you successfully dealt with this problem? I'm about ready to bust out the scotch-brite for daily scrubbing after soaking if it will make this go away, or at least get back to its former non-horrific proportions. Maybe a certain kind of brush would be best? Any advice greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
posted by beth to Health & Fitness (21 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Have you tried an exfoliator like that St. Ives apricot scrub?
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:38 AM on April 13, 2005


Loooofa!
Loofa loofa loofa!

It helped for me :)
posted by zerokey at 6:38 AM on April 13, 2005


I used to use that St. Ives stuff a long time ago (but not on the ingrown hair areas), I'll have to try it again. I'm willing to try just about anything at this point. Great ideas, keep 'em comin!

And all the loofahs I've met have been so.... "friendly".... not scrapy at all as I would imagine I'd need to free the poor trapped hairs.... there might be different kinds, though. I am a woman on a mission, and I will seek them out.
posted by beth at 6:43 AM on April 13, 2005


Yes, these things come in three parts:
1. Exfoliation with 'real' exfoliator for the body - not a facial scrub b/c that will be too light.
2. Loofah - the natural kind, or a hard-bristled brush, and not the plastic sponge thing.
3. The miracle that is Tend Skin - stings a bit, and you won't need it everyday, but it is incredible and will solve the ingrown problem. You can get it at salons, waxing places, online, or on eBay.
posted by fionab at 6:43 AM on April 13, 2005


You'll want either a real untreated loofa or a fairly coarse, natural sea sponge. I'm trying to think of a good retail place to get one (the closest that comes to mind is anyplace in Tarpon Springs, FL - it's where I get mine..then again, I have family there to send them to me)
posted by zerokey at 6:56 AM on April 13, 2005


Two friends of mine rave about No Bump RX, which you can get lots of places online. One of them tells me she hasn't had one ingrown hair since using it. I'm not sure what it is....some kind of astringent, maybe. She says it stops the hairs from curling back in on themselves when you shave, which is how ingrown hair begins.
posted by iconomy at 7:03 AM on April 13, 2005


To get the ones that are already in there, you may need to use thin tweezers (like these from Tweezerman) to get them out. Don't use the slant tweezers because you can break your skin and get a small scar. Exfoliate daily, use some tend skin, and then use the tweezers to gently prod the ingrowns out. Then your mission will be a preventative one: loofah or exfoliator daily, and Tend Skin or No Bump RX a few times a week.
posted by fionab at 8:12 AM on April 13, 2005


I second fionab: Tend Skin is fantastic.
posted by littleme at 8:25 AM on April 13, 2005


After shaving, wash with a soap that contains salicylic acid. Does the trick for me!
posted by elisabeth r at 8:41 AM on April 13, 2005


Has your diet changed recently? Maybe the lack of some nutrient has changed the properties of your body hairs.
posted by redteam at 9:05 AM on April 13, 2005


Tend Skin and/or High Time Bump Stopper-2.

Tend Skin is a bit pricey, but well worth it. The Bump Stopper 2 stuff is really cheap, pretty damn effective, and usually sold in the black men's section of the shaving or haircare aisle at Walgreen's-type places.
posted by Boydrop at 9:51 AM on April 13, 2005


Also, I don't think you want to exfoliate to the point of trying to get already ingrown hairs out -- don't rub yourself raw! The exfoliation will help get some of the dead skin cells out of the way, which should eventually help release the trapped hairs and keep new ones from getting trapped.
posted by occhiblu at 9:56 AM on April 13, 2005


Less a helpful comment than a piggybacking plea for further help. The trouble with Tend Skin is that it is super drying, and somewhat irritating, which seems to cancel out some of its benefits. Plus, for me, there seems to be slightly more to it than just ingrowing as such. I always feel like the trouble for me is almost like an allergic (histamine) reaction to my own hair as it comes back in, so the skin nearby gets itchy, red, and swollen. Then of course it is harder for the hair to get out without mishap, and a vicious cycle ensues. Mere exfoliation doesn't seem to help with this kind of trouble.

Thoughts?
posted by redfoxtail at 10:25 AM on April 13, 2005


I don't know if you've already investigated this with a doctor, but my girlfriend has a similar issue which turned out to be a diagnosed skin condition. She's been able to minimize it somewhat by changing her diet, but according to the dermatologist it's just something certain people get.
posted by gkostolny at 10:32 AM on April 13, 2005


I used to have a serious problem with ingrown hairs on my legs. I also used to shave them. When I switched to waxing the ingrown hairs stopped. I also use a rough washcloth (from the Body Shop) to exfoliate daily (its not as rough as a loofah - which I use about once a week for a really thorough scrubbing).

I don't know if this is applicable to your situation since you said the hairs were also on your arms but I hope it can be of some assistance (maybe to the hijacker?)...
posted by LunaticFringe at 11:25 AM on April 13, 2005


I'd suggest getting a Salux Body Wash Towel/Washcloth. It's made of nylon, and it's rough enough to thoroughly exfoliate but soft enough so it doesn't scratch. It's way, way better than a loofah or a sponge, IMHO.

You can use it with the cleanser of your choice.

You can find them in stores that sell Japanese goods, and I've seen them in better bath/soap shops too.

http://www.unikinghi.com/salux/images/saluxall_25.jpg
posted by luneray at 12:16 PM on April 13, 2005


Along the lines of what gkostolny said, you may have Keratosis Pilaris (very common among people, generally shows up on upper arms and legs, not super painful but often itchy) or any number of other issues going on. Unless you're positive it's ingrown hairs you might want to see a dermo.
posted by lorrer at 1:41 PM on April 13, 2005


Wow, I just learned that I have Keratosis Pilaris! Thanks, AskMe! (and lorrer!)
posted by tristeza at 2:19 PM on April 13, 2005


Ingown hairs are a problem if you shave with a blade and pull against the grain. The hair ends up being sliced off too short, well below the surface of the skin, and when the hair grows a little, it ends up growing back against itself. This is especially a problem for people of african descent due to the natural texture of their hair.

Check the way you are shaving, and either switch to some other method in those parts, or try to pull downward, in the direction the hair lies, instead of upward, against the grain. Or go natural, and stop shaving altogether.
posted by crunchland at 4:26 PM on April 13, 2005


I know that this will sound off the wall but...

I always had problems with ingrown hairs on the underside of my chin, which made shaving almost impossible, which made me look constantly raggedy-ass. I went to a dermatologist, tried Tend, shaved with BumpFighter razors, all to no avail.

A couple years ago, for entirely unrelated reasons, my physician had me start taking massive amounts of fish oil (8 grams) daily. A couple months after that, my ingrown hair problem just... disappeared!

It turns out that the oil made my hair healthier and less brittle, and it no longer curled back into my skin. This might turn out to be your ultimate long-term solution.
posted by curtm at 6:51 PM on April 13, 2005


Thanks for all the ideas, everyone! I know I definitely need to exfoliate more, and I will try the tend skin stuff I think.

On my legs, when I shave (which is quite seldom) I use an electric razor which does an okay job of not cutting too closely. The ingrown hairs were way worse on the legs before I got this thing.

I may have to try the fish oil, as well - I don't think it can hurt...

I am not sure what the "best" answer is going to be til I try all this stuff and find what works.
posted by beth at 8:51 PM on April 13, 2005


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