What Causes Ingrown Hairs: 4 Major Factors

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Are you looking for information on what causes ingrown hairs? Then this is the right article for you. When you cut hair close to the skin, it will create a tiny, sharp tip. Through this tip, the hair can easily pierce its way back into the skin thus causing an ingrown hair. Therefore, improper shaving is the main cause of ingrown hairs.

However, aggressive or improper hair removal isn't the only cause of ingrown hair. In some cases, the condition may occur naturally. For instance, if there is too much dead debris on the skin, hair follicles block up. This will cause the hair to grow sideways leading to more ingrown hairs. Read on to find out more about what causes ingrown hairs

Common Causes of Ingrown Hairs

1. Improper Shaving 
Using double- edged razors can also force hair back into the skin. The first blade will pull out the hair after which the second blade will cut it. This allows hair to retract back into the skin.

Ingrown hairs in men will often pop up as bunches of little bumps on the neck, cheeks, chin or neck after you shave them. Among women, ingrown hairs are more common on the legs and within the pubic area and the armpits. Some women will also develop ingrown hairs around the buttocks.

a) Extrafollicular Penetration
Shaving hair will create a sharper edge in this kind of hair, especially if you shave when the hair is dry. As the shaved hair continues growing out, it will curl back and re- enter the skin through extrafollicular penetration.

b) Transfollicular Penetration
On the other hand, if you pull the skin taut as you shave, newly cut hair will draw back into the skin and re-enter without growing out first. This causes transfollicular penetration.

Transfollicular penetration occurs while tweezing. This leaves hair fragments under the surface of the skin.

When hair finds its way back to the skin, your body will react as it normally would to other foreign objects. This means that your skin will become inflamed.

2. Dead Cells 
Dead cells will accumulate at the irritated site and form papule, which will contain pus as the skin heals. Over the course of this process, hair particles located close by will be trapped in the formation. The hair will not be able to leave the skin naturally thus leading to ingrown hair. 

Dead skin may also clog up hair follicles. Instead of the hair inside the dead skin growing upward and outward, it will grow sideways and get under the skin thus causing an ingrown hair

3. Direction of Hair Growth
On the other hand, the direction of hair growth and the hair structure are determinants in what causes ingrown hairs. For instance, curved hair follicles, which produce tightly curled hair, will encourage hair to go back into the skin and start growing back when you cut the hair.

4. Genetics 
At times, genetic makeup is causes ingrown hairs in some people. This is especially among people who have coarse or very curly hair. Curly and coarse hair is more likely to actually bend and find its way back into the skin. Of course, this mostly happens after you cut or shave your hair.

Additionally, those who have higher levels of some sex hormones will experience faster hair growth than others. This increases the likelihood of getting more ingrown hairs.

Most Hispanics, Africans and those with curly and thick hair may also develop a common variety of ingrown hair referred to as pseudofolliculitis. This is more commonly referred to as razor bumps. In this case, shaving, tweezing and waxing will cause the ingrown hairs.

Summary on What Causes Ingrown Hairs

In summary, the following are some of the common causes of ingrown hair:

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– Lack of moisture on the skin
– Stiff beard hair
– Embedding of oil within the hair follicles
– The accumulation of dead skin cells on the skin surface and pores. This condition depends on your genetic makeup 
– Course and curly hair may also cause hair follicles to grow in 
– Improper shaving techniques using blades (such as shaving too close to the skin)
– Home hair removal methods that cause irritation to hair follicles. These include electrolysis, tweezing, waxing and shaving. 
– Friction from wearing tight clothing 

In conclusion, what causes ingrown hairs will vary depending on your genetic makeup and the hair removal methods you adopt. Knowing what causes ingrown hairs will help you adopt the right home hair removal.

Ginny Mcknight


Ginny is the editor of HomeHairRemovalBlog.com.

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