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Quick Question: How Do I Treat Ingrown Underarm Hair?

Whatever you do, resist the itch to scratch.
ingrown hair armpit
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What’s worse than ingrown hair? Ingrown kilikili hair that gets more and more irritated with friction. Consider yourself ~blessed~ if you’ve never dealt with this before, but take it from us: These nasty bumps are unsightly at best and painful at worst.

But what causes ingrown hair and is there a way to prevent it from ever happening again? What should we do if we get it in our armpits? Well, we’ve done the research so you won’t have to.

What is ingrown hair and what causes it?

Simply put, ingrown hair is what happens when, instead of growing outward, the hair curls and grows back into the skin. And while this can happen to everyone, the following factors greatly increase the chances of it occurring:

  1. Hair removal

    Hair removal is often the main culprit behind ingrown armpit hair. This is because many hair removal methods tend to leave the end of each strand tough and sharp, making it easy for the hair to pierce back into the skin when it grows.

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  2. Genetics 

    According to WebMD, people who have very curly or coarse hair are more prone to getting ingrown hair, as curly hair tends to bend and get trapped in the skin.

    Sure, ingrown hair is generally harmless and would usually go away in a matter of days, but complications such as skin irritation and bacterial infection are possible if it doesn’t clear up stat. So as the saying goes, prevention is better than cure.

How to prevent ingrown armpit hair

The best way to prevent ingrown hair is to not remove body hair at all. Though if you’re the type who likes their kilikili bare and hairless, you’d be pleased to know that there are easy tips you can try to reduce the risk of getting a nasty ingrown. Consider the following:

  1. Make sure your razor is clean and sharp

    Toss those old razors sitting on your bathroom counter and trade them for clean and sharp ones. Not only will this reduce the risk of getting an infected nick, but you’ll also get a better shave.

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  2. Don’t pull your skin when shaving

    Tugging at your skin to get a closer shave causes the hair to draw back in and poke into your skin’s barrier. The next thing you know, a strand of hair has turned into a loop with both ends embedded in your skin. Yup, that’s ingrown hair.

  3. Never dry shave

    Skipping the shaving cream or gel when removing underarm hair, or any body hair for that matter, is a huge no-no. If you don’t have shaving cream at hand, you can always apply a small amount of hair conditioner onto your skin to help the blade glide smoothly.

  4. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize

    Believe us when we say that nothing good ever came out of dry skin. After hair removal, it’s important to pamper your pits with a noncomedogenic lotion or moisturizer to keep the skin smooth and hydrated. Try products with aloe vera extracts to soothe the underarm area and prevent irritation.

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  5. Consider a different hair removal method

    If ingrown hair keeps recurring, it might be time to try a different hair removal method. Hair removing creams or electric clippers are alternatives to the razor that offer significantly fewer chances of ingrown hair. You can also look into laser hair removal if you want a more permanent solution.

How to treat ingrown armpit hair

Sometimes, you can do everything in your power to prevent ingrown hair, but it still manages to make an appearance. Should it happen to you, here are some pointers to keep in mind until the problem goes away.

  1. Resist the itch to scratch

    As tempting as it feels to scratch the raised bump, doing so can lead to skin irritation or bacterial infection should you break the skin. Mayo Clinic recommends using a steroid cream to help calm the itch. 

  2. Apply a warm compress

    If the bump is filled with pus, try applying a warm compress to help drain the fluid and tame the swelling. 

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  3. Skip deodorants for now

    The harsh chemicals in your underarm products might trigger a worse reaction. Until the ingrown hair sitch goes away, skip the deo and just keep your armpits clean with water and a mild antibacterial soap or cleanser.

  4. See a dermatologist in case of an infection

    If the bump doesn’t subside after three days, it’s time to book an appointment with your derma to have that ingrown hair professionally treated. Even if you suspect an infection, never EVER take antibiotics without a doctor’s prescription.

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