Ingrown Hairs & Eyelash Extensions

Dear Laurel: I shave my bikini area and almost always break out with a bumpy rash and ingrown hairs. What can I do about them?  Sarah ~ Woburn

Dear Sarah: Let’s first start with what is causing your breakouts (also known as razor bumps) and ingrowns. Razor bumps can appear on the skin surface when cut hairs start to grow out and pierce back into the skin causing a red bump. Ingrown hairs form when the hair loops around back into the hair follicle instead of growing out normally. Both conditions usually cause only minor irritation yet can cause the skin to become itchy and inflamed. If left untreated, ingrown hairs can often lead to infection and could require a physician’s attention. Here are some tips to help prevent and soothe your irritated skin: 1. Exfoliate using a loofah sponge and/or grainy scrubs to remove the outermost layer of skin (and dead skin cells) to expose the hair so that it can grow straight out of the follicle. 2. If you shave, always shave in the direction of hair growth. Shaving against the pattern of hair growth is one of the worst things you can do if you are prone to ingrown hairs. Everyone has individual growth patterns, so forego shaving for a few days to get a look at yours if you are unsure. 3. There are several products on the market with specific chemicals designed to prevent ingrown hairs by exfoliating the outer layer of skin. Some also contain pain relievers and soothing products to minimize the irritation. All-natural exfoliants such as tea tree oil are also a good choice. Ask your esthetician what product he/she recommends. 4. Consider an alternative to shaving such as waxing or electrolysis. Waxing actually deters hair growth, the more you wax the slower the hair will grow, and you won’t have to worry about shaving for up to a month while the hair slowly grows back. Electrolysis is a more permanent method of hair removal and uses short pulses of electricity delivered through a thin probe inserted into the hair follicle to destroy the hair in that particular follicle. Results from electrolysis will be achieved with a series of treatments.

Dear Laurel: I’m interested in getting eyelash extensions, but I don’t know much about them. Would you please tell me more about the process?  Julie ~ Lexington

Dear Julie: Lash extensions are a great way to enhance the look of your eyes and create a luxurious and dramatic look that will make your friends envious. The procedure typically takes anywhere from 1 to 2 hours, depending on the expertise of the lash stylist and the number of lashes being applied per eye. The process involves adhering single strands of synthetic lashes that are meticulously applied to your own natural lashes using a safe and long lasting adhesive developed specifically for the delicate eye area. Like your scalp hair, natural eyelashes grow and shed in a cycle, which is typically about 60 days (2 months), but the look can last indefinitely with 45 minute refills every 2-3 weeks. Clients are comfortably reclined on an esthetic bed or massage table with their eyes closed, and lower lashes are covered to prevent the top lashes from adhering to the bottom lashes. The procedure is non-invasive, painless and so relaxing that clients typically fall asleep then awaken to lush, beautiful lashes.

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