The natural reaction to the below viral video of a guy pulling an apparent wig's worth of hair of his face is, "How the eff is this possible?!" Yet, as evidenced by the video, it obviously is possible, and according to Manhattan-based dermatologist Francesca Fusco, an ingrown hair this bad can happen to any guy with facial hair—including your boyfriend—or, even worse, along your bikini line.
After a man shaves his face (or you shave your bikini line), the hairs are cut off at the skin and the ends are left super-sharp. As the hair grows back, if it's curly enough, it's possible that it could hook right back into the skin and continue to grow internally, resulting an ingrown hair. If the hair does take a U-turn right back into the skin and continues to grow like it's auditioning for Duck Dynasty, it could end up starring in its own viral YouTube video. Gross. Here's how to avoid having an ingrown hair anything like the above, be it on your face or along your bikini line.
1. Exfoliate. After your man gives himself a really close shave, he should exfoliate the area with a gritty formula. Guys can use a rougher exfoliator on their faces than girls, since their skin is thicker, but also because they need to use something that will make its way through their stubble in order to slough away dead skin cells.
2. Follow with an astringent. After shaving, douse a cotton ball with an astringent. This causes a subtle swelling effect around the pore (that you won't even notice) that closes them up, preventing tiny hairs from poking back into the pores and growing into the skin.
Now, if you're reading this and have noticed a tiny, pea-size lump under your guy's skin (or along your bikini line) that looks like it could be an ingrown hair (you may even see the loop of the hair where it is growing out and going back into the skin), it's important to follow Dr. Fusco's advice immediately: First, apply a warm compress on it for a few minutes. This will bring blood to the area, helping to reduce the swelling a bit, and hopefully cause the skin to pop the hair out on its own. If the hair doesn't naturally come out and you can still see the loop where the hair exits and re-enters the skin, slip the tip of a pointed tweezer, under the loop and gently pull the tweezers up and away from the skin. Hopefully the hair will slip out, allowing you to quickly pluck it out.
Lastly, if you've had an ingrown for two or more weeks and you can't successfully remove it on your own, make an appointment with your dermatologist who will create a tiny incision to remove it. Which is probably what this viral ingrown hair guy should have done.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.