Any man who takes a blade to chin will know the frustration that is razor burn, but there’s another just as infuriating problem that’s been ruining Movember since forever, and that’s ingrown hairs.
Unlike skin which is irritated from shaving, an ingrown hair is exactly that - a hair that has curled inwards and ‘grown in’ on itself. Because the hair is trapped but wants to come out, it ends up causing redness and inflammation, especially if you irritate it, something that’s easily done by, you guessed it, shaving. Essentially it’s a vicious cycle.
While anyone who shaves is likely to suffer from ingrown hairs at some point, those with curly hair are most at risk. This is because when their hair is cut, it’s more likely to curl inwards. How to avoid them
Tackling ingrown hair can be tricky, but there are several things you can do to reduce your risk. One is to ensure that you always use a sharp blade, and that you shave in the direction of the growth of your hair, not against it. If you go against the grain, each hair gets cut at a sharper angle, increasing its likelihood of getting trapped beneath your skin. Shaving cream is also your friend. This creates a smoother shave and prevents your skin from becoming irritated by a dragging blade.
Alternatively, you could use an electric shaver. It won’t be able to give you as close a shave as a blade, but it will minimise the likelihood of ingrowns as the hair will be cut a little further out of the follicle. A small sacrifice for a life of less red and bumpy skin.
Exfoliate like a boss
You’ve heard it time and time and again. Exfoliation is important. But it’s how you do it that makes all the difference. If you use a grainy scrub, there’s a good chance you’ll irritate existing acne and make it worse by causing inflammation and spreading bacteria. A chemical exfoliator, however, despite sounding harsh, will actually be a lot more gentle on your skin.
Chemical exfoliators are products that contain enzymes or alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) like glycolic or lactic acid. These help to loosen the bonds that hold dry, dead skin cells together so they can be easily rinsed away the next time you wash your face. You’ll find many face washes contains enzymes or AHAs, but the most effective are those that you leave on, things like lotions or creams, as they give the chemical exfoliant a lot more time to work its magic. You’ll find several of these in our Online Skin Shop. One of our top picks is NeoStrata’s Ultra Smoothing lotion as it contains 10% AHA.
Another great way to exfoliate is via regular in-office peels. We offer several that range from mild to intensive and our highly trained therapists are able to suggest which would suit your skin best. Aside from helping to keep ingrown hairs at bay, they’ll also be able to improve the look of pigmentation and acne scarring while softening fine lines and wrinkles. They can also help you create an effective skin care regime for home use, one that’s suited to your skin type and can best treat any particular concern, be it to beat acne or premature ageing. A permanent solution
As we’ve explained, preventing ingrown hairs is possible but its also a lot of work. If you’d rather not have to deal with the admin you’re going to have to ditch your razor, and that leaves you with two options - grow a glorious beard or get rid of your hair for good. We can totally help you out with the latter via laser hair removal.
New technology allows us to use a ‘colourblind’ long-pulsed Nd: YAG laser suited to any skin colour, be it very pale or very dark. (In the past, laser hair removal was only most effective on those with lighter skin and darker hair.) You’ll need around 8 to 12 treatments at 4 to 6-week intervals.
Not keen on committing to permanent removal? There’s another way our lasers can help you out. If you’re experiencing an ingrown hair flare up and want to speed up the healing process a quick session with our Laser Genesis machine can help you out. It’s a fantastic way to reduce redness and inflammation fast and can be a lifesaver if you’re having to do “damage control” before a big event.
Lumps and bumps
Did you know that if you’re a man who shaves you’re at a higher risk of developing warts? Contrary to popular belief, you don’t get warts from picking up frogs. Much like the flu, they’re caused by a virus. In this case, it’s the highly contagious human papillomavirus (HPV) that enters your skin via a nick or cut. This means that if you don’t handle that razor carefully, you could be opening yourself up, quite literally, to a wart.
Another unwanted growth that often appears in men’s beard and neck areas are skin tags. This is because they’re caused by friction, be it due to rubbing against your shirt’s collar or your own skin. While they’re often confused with warts, skin tags are smooth and, if they get big enough, can be held between your fingers and pulled away from your skin. Warts, however, have a bumpy texture and ‘sit tight’. What the two have in common, however, is that they’re almost never welcome.
Fortunately, Skin Renewal has been blitzing unwanted warts and skin tags, for years. When it comes to warts, we’ll either zap it with a long-pulsed Nd: YAG laser or freeze it off via cryotherapy, a procedure that involves using liquid nitrogen. The latter is also how we get rid of skin tags, although sometime the doctor will simply cut it off. The method used will depend on the location and size. Either way, all our removal procedures are painless thanks to topical anaesthetic and are so quick and easy that you can do them in your lunch break.
To find out more about our male grooming solutions, and all the great products we have to help you look your best, visit Skin Renewal on www.skinrenewal.co.za.Read More