Treating Ingrown Hairs -- Product Comparison


    Ingrown hairs occur when hairs that have been waxed or shaved or otherwise removed grow back without exiting the follicle. These hairs coil under the skin and create unsightly and painful bumps or whiteheads.

    Similarly, razor bumps (pseudofolliculitis barbae) occur when hairs that have been shaved exit the follicle and burrow into adjacent skin. They continue to grow under the skin surface and create unsightly and painful bumps that make shaving uncomfortable or impossible. This condition is most common in African American men but will generally affect any frequent shaver of coarse, curly hair.

    There are many products available to treat these conditions. Some are good and some aren't so good. In general, be wary of any products that make unrealistic promises and guarantees. The most effective products for treating ingrown hairs and razor bumps combine alcohol and salicylic acid with some combination of other ingredients.

    The most well known product in this category is Tend Skin. The makers of Tend Skin claim not to fully understand how their product works. Its effectiveness in correcting and preventing ingrown hairs and razor bumps is well documented. The primary complaints about Tend Skin are not about its efficacy but that it is harsh on the skin and has a foul smelling scent. At $20 for just four ounces and $35 for eight ounces many people also complain that Tend Skin is too expensive.

    Like Tend Skin, Tonic 86? is an antiseptic, antibacterial, mild exfoliating liquid that corrects and prevents ingrown hairs, razor bumps and razor burn. Tonic 86? has the same active ingredients as Tend Skin. Tonic 86? works by disinfecting the skin and mildly exfoliating surface cells to keep hair follicles and adjacent areas of skin clean and unobstructed. However, Tonic 86? also features skin softening agents and a unisex, powderfresh fragrance to make it more gentle and better smelling. And, at about $20 for an eight ounce bottle or $38 for a 16 ounce bottle, Tonic 86? costs about half as much as Tend Skin.

    If you suffer from ingrown hairs or razor bumps as a result of your hair removal regimen, either Tonic 86? or Tend Skin will significantly reduce the frequency and appearance of these unsightly and painful bumps. If money is no object and you can put up with the foul smell and harshness Tend Skin is an excellent product choice. For the same efficacy at half the cost with less harshness and a better fragrance, Tonic 86? is a high quality alternative.


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