Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Why have I suddenly started getting ingrown hairs?"
I'm 27 and have been shaving regularly for like 7 years - until a few months ago, when shaving started giving me horrible ingrown hair problems. I know I can try other ways to get rid of the hair, or justdeal with a beard - but I just don't understand why this is happening?
Numerous ingrown hairs in the beard area is a common enough skin problem that it has its own medical name, pseudofolliculitis barbae. The ingrown hairs occur when hairs curl back on themselves and grow back down into the hair follicle, causing plugging, inflammation, and raised bumps. It is difficult to say exactly why this is getting worse for you now after many years of regular shaving. Skin irritation is a big part of pseudofolliculitis barbae, so it is possible that you are shaving more frequently (e.g., every day) than previously or perhaps shaving too close to the skin. Another possibility is that the condition is worse because of changes in the weather, such as drying out of the skin from dropping air temperatures and humidity. In addition to depilation or permanent hair removal (not shaving) and simply letting the beard grow out, there are a few other things that you can do to help make the ingrown hairs better and prevent their formation. These include keeping the skin well moisturized and using an exfoliating method to clean the area every day (exfoliating will mechanically remove the plugging of the follicles). If this does not work, you may also try an 'acne product' containing salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide.
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