Small, fine bumps on the backs of your arms may indicate the presence of ingrown hairs. Several things cause the appearance of ingrown hairs on your body. Shaving commonly causes ingrown hairs on legs, faces and under arms. Areas of skin that rub against rough fabrics, such as the backs of the arms, can develop ingrown hairs as a result of the constant chafing of the fabric over the emerging hairs. Many people experience an increase in ingrown hairs along their arms during the dry, winter months when long sleeves and rough fabrics create friction against the skin.
1 Wash your arms to cleanse the area and reduce the chances of infection. The Mayo Clinic suggests washing affected areas with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Use a mild cleanser. Wash gently in a circular motion. Rinse well with water and pat dry.
2 Remove individual ingrown hairs if you can see them easily beneath the surface of your skin. Wash your skin. Disinfect a fine-tipped needle by dipping it in rubbing alcohol. Insert the tip of the needle under the visible loop of hair and lift upward to pull the coiled length out from under the skin. Lightly rub a cotton swab soaked in rubbing alcohol over the area after removing the ingrown hair.
3 Apply an exfoliating substance to the affected areas on your arms. The "Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine" recommends using a cream or gel that contains alpha-hydroxy acids once or twice a day to exfoliate the skin. Products containing this ingredient slough away dead skin and promote collagen growth. Use this cream once or twice a day, according to the package instructions, to promote smoother skin and reduce the appearance of ingrown hairs.
4 Reduce the incidence of ingrown hairs by wearing only soft, smooth fabrics against your skin. Layer a soft cotton or silk undershirt beneath rough sweaters, such as those made from wool, to reduce the friction of these fabrics against your arms. Expose your arms to air and sunlight whenever you can to minimize chafing.
Items you will need
- Mild cleanser
- Rubbing alcohol
- Cotton swab
- Alpha-hydroxy cream
- Soft undershirt
- Consult your physician if your ingrown hairs become infected. Pinching, squeezing and scratching can increase the risk of infection near the follicles. If you notice swelling, redness or pus in the area of your ingrown hairs, you may have developed a bacterial infection.
- skin image by Robert Kelly from Fotolia.com