I have been shaving my legs since high school. The first time I did it was when I was a sophomore. And, just like you, I didn’t really think much of it. Shaving was a great way to remove unwanted hair quickly. Years have passed, and I see why I should have thought twice. I now have unsightly ingrown hair on my legs and I’ve been dealing with it for years.
Everything You Need To Know About Ingrown Hair On Your Legs
It may not be a big deal to some of you reading this, but there was a point in my life when I was too insecure to wear shorts. I’m sure that other women feel the same way, or that other women have a similar insecurity. That’s why I’m putting this guide together.
What are ingrown hairs?
As the name suggests, ingrown hairs are strands of hair that have grown into your skin. Instead of sprouting out, breaking the surface like what normal hairs do, these pesky strands stay underneath your skin, appearing as bumps or dark spots. They can also get infected easily, forming red bumps that are even more unsightly.
Above is what my legs look like right now. I’ve been consistently waxing and have stayed off the razor for about 2 months. FYI, I enhanced the color of the photo so everyone can see the dark spots on my legs. Some of the dots are hairs that have not grown out yet, but most of it are ingrown hairs.
How do ingrown hairs grow?
People who have curly or coarse hair are susceptible to ingrown hair. They can grow anywhere, and not just on your legs. Any area that you shave frequently can have this problem. In a nutshell, ingrown hairs do not break through the skin because of a number of factors:
- Dead skin cells clog the pores, preventing the shaft of hair from breaking through.
- In the case of curly hair, the hair is coiled inwards instead of standing straight up.
- The hair strand has curved back and penetrated the skin.
What are the common causes ingrown hair?
There are three common causes of ingrown hair: not shaving the right way, not waxing the right way, and not exfoliating the skin on your legs regularly. Below are helpful resources that have helped me understand why the mentioned methods cause ingrown hair:
- Shaving the wrong way – read the explanation here.
- Waxing the wrong way – read the explanation here.
- Not exfoliating regularly promotes build up of dead skin cells on your legs.
Why are ingrown hairs bad?
For starters, they look unattractive. The ones I have on my legs are very minimal but there are those whose ingrown hair look like bigger bumps and darker spots. They can also cause irritation on your skin, not to mention that trapped hair can be itchy as heck. Everytime you scratch it, it’s going to cause damage to your skin. Damage can also mean scarring, which is my case.
The Best Way To Treat Ingrown Hairs
There are plenty of treatments in the market for ingrown hair on legs. Laser hair removal is a good example of this, but it’s too expensive for me. You’d have to go in repeatedly for the procedure to have long-term benefits. One session costs an arm and a leg. To solve my ingrown hair problem, I am doing an approach the makes sense for me.
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1. Wax Regularly
I have started to wax regularly. It’s been, I think, 2 months straight that I have been waxing. I used to wax but I found it really time consuming. Now, I realized that I have to do it with all the bumps and scars on my legs caused by ingrown hair.
Waxing pulls out the bulb or root of your hair. Doing so regularly will allow your hair growth or hair cycle to be reset. Overtime, the root of your hair is going to weaken with repeated waxing sessions. Eventually, your hair will grow thinner and you will need less waxing.
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From a practical sense, waxing salons can eat up a big chunk from your monthly budget. Personally, I always look for cheaper alternatives. In the long run, a reliable waxing kit will save you both time and money. If you buy a kit with a wax melter, the only thing you would have to restock on are the wax and application sticks.
2. Exfoliate Regularly
It’s not enough that you wax regularly. You also have to exfoliate regularly to get rid of dead skin cells. Exfoliating also loosens up the skin that’s blocking the ingrown hairs you already have. Right now, I would say that I am exfoliating everyday. I’m not very consistent with it but I will be.
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I didn’t want to waste the shower gel I was already using. If you don’t want to switch out whatever it is that you’re using as well, an exfoliating brush or mitt will do the trick.
If you look at the photo closely, the skin on my legs is dry. It has been dry because of regular shaving. Shaving actually strips off the natural oils on your skin. To remedy this, I have been using Hair Food Co’s rose hip oil.
The reason why I am using an oil instead of a lotion is because I want the moisture to be locked in. Oils evaporate slower on skin. On top of that, this oil won’t clog my pores whenever I apply it after my scrub. I specifically chose rosehip oil because it helps with scars, damaged skin, skin texture.
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You can use any oil you want. You can use lavender, jojoba, argan or whatever floats your boat. The main idea is to provide intense moisture on your legs. You can even use thicker creams or petroleum jelly. What I like to do is wear knee-high socks after I apply the oil, right before I sleep. In the morning, I soap it off. This makes my skin really plump and smooth.
As mentioned, it has just been two months. I will update this post and show you all what my legs look like after five or so months of doing this regimen. Do share this post if you found it helpful. Thanks for reading!