Homemade Body Scrub to Help Prevent Ingrown Hairs
Ingrown hairs are a common problem for women. And, apparently, I’ve been lucky enough to be assigned a body that deals with an insane amount of ingrown hairs, particularly as a result of shaving (but, magically not in my armpits – go figure). I don’t know about you, but if you’re “lucky” like me, you’ve been driving yourself insane trying to find a way to shave your legs but also be able to wear shorts, skirts, and *gasp!* a bathing suit. It took me 5 or so years to figure out the main source of itching on my legs. My legs were so itchy a few years ago that I’d sleep with ice packs on them at night, blast myself with icy-cold showers, and wake up to claw-marks up and down my legs – sometimes they were scratched raw and bleeding, and other times they had long bruises from the pressure I’d used to scratch them in the middle of the night.
The best I knew to do was keep my fingernails regularly trimmed short, and try to distract myself whenever I was itchy. Which was often. So often. I can’t even describe to you how itchy my body had been even 2 years ago.
- Aveeno lotions (the anti-itch one with menthol, and the extra-dry skin overnight one)
- Gold Bond medicated lotion
- Tea tree oil (drying, but helps heal skin)
- Using tweezers to tease out the ingrown hairs, one by one. This was a time-consuming, never-ending cycle.
- CeraVe (recommended by a close friend, my doctor and a dermatologist) – my skin breaks out from this, too, so I can’t use it often (or at all).
There’s no point in listing more (believe me, there are more). These things didn’t work. The best I could do was hold ice on my legs and watch a TV show in the hopes that I’d forget how itchy I was (hah!).
After several months of not shaving my legs, I realized that disposable razors were a big issue for my legs, even when I’d shave in the direction of hair growth and use minimal pressure. Eventually, I came across Tend Skin.
Tend Skin has things like Aspirin and alcohol in it to either thin or exfoliate the top layer of skin so that hairs can’t get stuck under it – essentially, you’re losing your top layer of skin fast enough that hairs don’t have time to get trapped. This was the only thing that worked for me, other than never shaving (ew), which still left me with the occasional ingrown hair due to the natural cycle of hair growth. It left my legs dry, but I didn’t care. It was working!
For the first time in a very, very long time, I was sticking my bare legs out for the world to see! The scarring from shaving and ingrowns was at a new minimum, and I was feeling relieved and happy.
I knew that the ingredients I was putting on my legs were probably being absorbed into my body, so I started experimenting again, hoping to find a more natural, healthy way to keep being able to shave.
Enter, coconut oil. Coconut oil and sugar, massaged into my legs in the shower on a daily basis, pretty much had the same effect as Tend Skin. It was amazing, and my legs were moisturized! (The only downside was that my skin, lovely skin that it is, chose to react to the oil and break out occasionally.) A lot of people don’t break out when they use it, which is totally unfair... Two of my close friends regularly use coconut oil as a moisturizer and love it.
But seriously, if my skin didn’t ever break out from coconut oil, I’d be using this scrub again daily (in conjunction with an electric shaver), and that’s all I’d need. Ever. Well, plus watermelon for a snack. I do love me some juicy watermelon…
Here is what I use now (which is still a bit of trial and error):
- A naturally-bristled brush to brush away dead skin cells (used on dry skin) and/or an exfoliator while showering (white sugar and/or baking soda, or loofah gloves)
- An electric razor that doesn’t shave nearly as close as a disposable (thank goodness)
- A prescription exfoliator cream, prescribed by a dermatologist (or Tend Skin)
Want to make an exfoliating shower scrub? It couldn't be easier!
- white granular sugar
- coconut oil (melt, if needed)
Put a pile of sugar in a bowl. Add your soft coconut oil (less is more – you can always add more after, if you’d like). Mix thoroughly. I mash it up with a spoon. Transfer to a water-tight container to keep in the shower. Next time you shower, scoop some up in your hands and massage into your skin. Rinse off with warm water. To rinse more of it off, rinse with hotter water. Be careful to not scald yourself. This scrub doubles as a moisturizer, so there’s no need to use a lotion or moisturizer after you shower (unless you want to). If you decide your skin needs a little more moisturizing, try applying a bit more coconut oil (on its own) to your skin.
- Nutiva is the only brand of coconut oil I’ll use now. Get the organic, virgin, cold-pressed stuff. It’s awesome. I get mine from Superstore for $18. It lasts longer if you don’t eat it, as well. (I have reacted more to 2 other brands I’ve tried – no idea why.)
- Be very careful in the shower. Coconut oil is s-l-i-p-p-e-r-y. Maybe warn the people you live with to give the shower an extra rinse before hopping in (you know, so they don’t). With that in mind, use on the bottoms of your feet at your own risk.
- Glass jars with metal lids lead to struggles. The sugar will crystalize and you’ll have a hard time unscrewing the lid. Also, who wants glass in the shower?
- If you get coconut oil on your clothes, it might stain them. I’ve only had this happen 1x, and it may have even been from BioOil instead.
- Coconut oil is a solid when cold, and melts into a liquid when warm. Be aware of this in the summer when it’s sitting at room temperature.
- Some people are allergic to coconut. If that’s you, maybe don’t use coconut oil…
- Some people, like me, have bizarre skin that can’t find anything that compares to the moisturizing quality of coconut oil, but that also breaks out from its application. If this is you, use it very sparingly, on alternate days, or even in cycles every couple of weeks.
- This scrub tastes delicious. Seriously, I’ve tasted it a couple of times in the shower, just because I can. Add a little vinegar, and you’ve got yourself a wonderful salad dressing base!