Hair Loss and Ingrown HairsQ: I just went through a long period of loosing lots of hairs, now they are starting to pop up again. I'm getting red bumps almost like pimples. What can I do to ensure that they don't become ingrown? I've heard that shaving my head, applying eucalyptus oil, and harshly combing help. Are these any good?
A: While I can see the concept behind these suggestions in trying to prevent ingrown hairs, they aren't likely to be of significant use. In situations like yours, ingrown hairs are often the result of constrained or clogged follicles. When the previous hair is shed, and the follicle is dormant for a period, the opening can sometimes become slightly constricted or even clogged by dead skin cells and sebum. Once the new hair starts to grow and tries to emerge, it can be impeded by the clogging or decreased opening size.
My concern is that if you are already having "red bumps" as the hair is re-growing then you already have ingrown hairs. In such cases, and in order to prevent the ingrown hairs in other areas, you should use a skin cleanser containing salicylic acid, and gently buff the skin with a soft cloth to exfoliate dead skin cells and prevent clogging of the pores and follicles. A light moisturizer is also helpful to provide some lubrication to the skin and possibly ease the passage of the hairs as they emerge.
If these red bumps start to get inflamed, develop heads or erupt, (or in any way worsen) you may want to consult your dermatologist about treatment plans. Such conditions fall under the medical spectrum and are beyond my rights to advise you regarding treatment.
So, in a nutshell, keep the area clean and exfoliated to keep the pores and follicles of the skin open and able to easily allow the passage of the hairs as they grow<.
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