Here's how to banish any ingrown hairs you have, plus prevent new ones from forming.
Step 1: Don't pluck it Never pluck an ingrown hair; it can spread bacteria, leading to infection and possible scarring.
Step 2: Exfoliate and moisturize Moisturize daily and exfoliate regularly -- daily or every other day as long as you're using a gentle exfoliant; weekly if you have sensitive skin. Keeping skin moist may help a wayward hair find its way out of the follicle on its own. If it doesn't, have a licensed aesthetician remove it.
TIP: Look for a salt-based exfoliating scrub or one containing salicylic acid.
Step 3: Wash with shower gel Always wash before shaving, as dirt can lead to ingrown hairs. Use bath gel instead of bar soap, which is more likely to leave a film that can clog follicles.
Step 4: Rub hair the right way Cleanse skin in an upward, circular motion; this helps prevent hair from growing inward by sweeping it up and away from the way it grows.
Step 5: Soften skin before shaving Soften skin before shaving with either a cream made for that purpose or hair conditioner, and use a sharp razor. A dull blade on dry skin increases the chance that hair will curl back into the skin or grow sideways.
TIP: Try not to shave over the same area twice; the more the blade glides over the same patch, the greater the chance of developing an ingrown hair.
Step 6: Rinse skin with cold water Rinse your skin with very cold water after shaving to make pores contract; then briskly dry with a clean towel to help exfoliate the area.
Step 7: Switch to waxing Consider switching to waxing; it removes the hair at the root, reducing the chance that it will curl back into the skin.
FACT: Clean-shaven legs for women didn't become de rigueur until the 1930s.