A true athlete will seek to gain a competitive advantage any way that they can. For some, that advantage involves a strict training program. For others, it involves a dietary regimen. And some just rely on superstition to get the job done.

For Swimmers and cyclists, it's the little things that give them a competitive edge, like shaving the hair on their arms and legs to promote speed and aerodynamics. Along with shaving body hair comes an added risk, however, the risk of ingrown hairs.

If you lead an active lifestyle, fear not! With the right blend of technique, care, and conditioning products, ingrown hairs are avoidable. We're going to show you five important tips to help you kiss those painful, unsightly bumps goodbye.

What is an Ingrown Hair?

Ingrown Hairs occur when the hair on your body or face grows back around on itself and cuts through the surface the skin. An ingrown hair is literally a hair growing beneath your skin's surface.

An ingrown hair is irritating, painful, and itchy. Moreover, it is unsightly and embarrassing.

Ingrown hairs are not serious, though. They are highly treatable without the aid of a medical professional. They are generally caused by either dead skin and other gunk clogging up the follicle, or by closely-shaven hairs curling back into the skin's surface.

Ingrown hairs are common, especially in men with coarse hair. While they are easily treatable, if you follow a few simple rules, ingrown hairs are almost entirely preventable. Why not treat the problem before it even starts?

5 Tips for Preventing Ingrown Hairs

The following five tips are skin care best practices. Each individual tip will help you prevent ingrown hairs from ever starting, but if all five are done in sequence, they can be incredibly effective.

1. Take the time to exfoliate and cleanse

It's all too easy to develop a skin care regimen that stops at the face. Your arms and legs need love too. They bear the brunt of your daily activity. Take the time to deep clean the dirt and toxins from their surface and unclog your pores before you shave. H.I.M-istry's Salicylic Acid Wash can help you achieve that deep clean feeling.

2. Take the time to maintain your equipment

Don't shave with a rusty blade, or one that's all gunked up with yesterday's hair. Shaving with a dirty razor creates an uneven and abrasive shave. The remaining hair is much more likely to curl in on itself and grow back beneath the skin.

3. Shave with the grain, not against it

This can be a hard step to follow. Male hair grows wild and sporadic, especially on the arms and legs. It may be hard to establish which way the grain moves.

It might feel like you are making more progress more quickly if you shave against it, but shaving with the grain will yield a smoother, more gentle result. If you make the effort to shave with the grain you will see a decrease in the amount of ingrown hairs you develop.

4. Use a shave gel or cream

Most men were taught to shave using over the counter shaving cream. Name brands get the job done, and are far better than shaving with hot water alone, but the proper shaving cream or gel can nourish and revitalize your skin, preventing painful ingrown hairs.

5. Treat your skin right afterwards

You're busy and goal-oriented. You want to become a faster swimmer or increase your endurance on the bike. It pays to take an extra minute to treat your skin right after shaving though.

Just as you would use aftershave lotion on your face, using an aftershave product on your arms and legs can go a long way towards keeping your pores clear and preventing ingrown hairs.

Gaining that Competitive Edge

Men everywhere are coming around to the fact that skin care is about way more than just looks. It reflects on your confidence, your health, and your competitive edge. Cyclists, swimmers, and all other athletes know that the aerodynamic edge of clean shaven skin is pointless if you develop uncomfortable ingrown hairs.

H.I.M-istry's Naturals product line can help give your skin the aftercare it needs, and the competitive edge that you crave.