The grass is always greener when it comes to facial hair—you’ve either got it or you want it. That is, of course, unless we’re talking about ingrown hair. Painful and often unsightly, having an ingrown hair or two is a regular occurrence for men with curly and/or coarse hair and an at-least-once-in-your-lifetime experience for any man who shaves.
“Men will experience an ingrown when the facial hair hasn’t pushed through the hair follicle to the surface of the skin, but has instead curled and grown back into the skin,” explains Toula Bintas, an aesthetician and co-owner of Allazo Skin Care in Toronto. “They’re often caused by hair that was cut too short, genetics and hormones.”
Not to be confused with a pimple, ingrowns (as they’re often referred to), are small, swollen lumpy bumps that sit on top of the skin. Inside, in the middle of each bump is a dark spot—the hair. And while many will simply deflate and become untangled on their own here’s how you can take action on the pesky ones that stick around:
Exfoliate your face
“An easy way to eliminate ingrown hairs is by gently exfoliating the skin by applying an exfoliating cleanser onto your face and then swirling it around with a soft-bristle face brush,” advises Bintas, who says the combination of the product with the brush bristles will loosen the trapped hairs from the skin. “Using a light pressure, move the brush in a circular motion around the facial area where you have the ingrown hair.” Repeat this process daily for best results.
AmongMen.com recommends: The Body Shop For Men Macra Root Face Scrub, 125 ml for $15 and The Body Shop Shaving Brush, $12, both available at the The Body Shop stores across Canada.
Apply a warm compress
If the ingrown area is swollen, red and inflamed, chances are it is infected. Soak a face cloth in hot water, wring the cloth and place it over top of the area for three to five minutes. Repeat, two more times. Remove the cloth and pat your face dry with a towel. Then, “using only the pads of your index fingers, gently squeeze the infected bump,” says Bintas. “Do not use your nails,” she cautions. “You can cause scarring or bruising.” But with the right amount of pressure, the bump will burst, draining pus and with it, the offending hair.
Get the tweezers
If gentle pressure did not erupt the ingrown hair, you may need to pull it out with Tweezers. First, “sterilize the Tweezers by holding the tips under hot tap water,” says Bintas. “With a steady hand, grasp the hair between the Tweezers head and slowly pull it out.”
AmongMen.com recommends: Tweezerman Ingrown Hair/Splinter Tweeze tweezers, $19, available online at Tweezerman Canada.
Keep it clean
The best defense against ingrown hairs is to keep your pores clean. Bintas recommends washing your face with skincare products containing glycolic or salicylic acid to help keep the skin clean and moisturized. But beware of alcohol-based cleansers and toners, “they’re too drying and will dehydrate your face,” says Bintas.