Home Remedies for Ingrown Hairs

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Shaving is a natural part of grooming for both men and women, but hair removal doesn’t always go as planned. Sometimes, hairs have a mind of their own and can cause irritation, redness, and inflammation. Ingrown hairs are just one of the many obstacles that stands in your way of achieving a clean shave. However, with home remedies for ingrown hairs, you can encourage quicker healing and prevent future occurrences.

ingrown hair

What is an Ingrown Hair?

When a shaved or tweezed hair grows back into the skin, an ingrown hair is the result – causing irritation and inflammation. Males are the hardest hit because they tend to have thicker, more stubborn hairs that grow on the face. They also shave more frequently, which increases their chances of suffering ingrown hairs. In the end, anyone (male or female) with tightly coiled hair who shaves, tweezes, waxes or uses electrolysis to remove hair is at risk for developing ingrown hairs [1].

Causes and Symptoms

When hair shafts have a sharpened edge after a cut or shave, they may curl back into the same hair follicle when they begin to regrow. If the hair gets trapped under the surface of the skin, an ingrown hair is born. The hair will continue to grow back into the skin – wreaking havoc. As the body attempts to fight it, redness, inflammation, and infection can occur.

An individual faces an ingrown hair when there is a lack of skin moisture, stiff hairs in a beard, oil clogging the hair follicles, dead skin cell buildup, coarse hairs, poor shaving habits, and continuous hair removal. Common symptoms of ingrown hairs include:

• Constantly tender skin
• Small, raised bump caused by inflamed trapped hairs
• Blister containing pus
• Itchy skin
• Tingling sensation
• Mild or severe discomfort
• Hard, irregular scar tissue

Ingrown Hair Home Remedies

From exfoliating the skin to manually lifting hairs out of hiding places, there are plenty of simple home remedies for ingrown hairs to consider. A handful include:

a) Toothbrush:

Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to gently wash affected skin before shaving. A circular motion will help lift wayward hairs from underneath the skin.

b) Needle:

Slip a sterile needle under an ingrown hair and carefully lift the tips embedded in the skin.

c) Tweezers:

A clean pair of tweezers easily plucks out any offending hairs that have grown into your skin. Apply an antiseptic, such as rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide, to prevent irritation and infection.

d) Warm Washcloth:

A warm, damp compress or washcloth applied to an ingrown hair for a few minutes will soften the skin and make it easier to remove.

e) Soap and Water:

Before shaving a beard, a thorough wash of the face with warm water and soap will sterilize the skin and soften hairs, which also cuts down on the risk of infected pores after the shave.

f) Damp Towel:

After shaving, apply a damp towel to your face for a couple of minutes to soften your hairs – making them less apt to reenter the skin.

g) Homemade Oatmeal Facial Scrub:

Exfoliation removes the upper layers of dead skin that can clog pores and increase your chances of suffering ingrown hairs. Create your own oatmeal scrub by combining two teaspoons of ground oatmeal and one teaspoon of baking soda. Stir in water (droplets at a time) until a paste has formed. Apply to the face – gently rubbing in a circular motion. Rinse well and pat dry.

h) Oatmeal and Sugar Facial Scrub:

A combination of oatmeal and sugar not only offers homemade exfoliation, but also makes you feel pampered much like a day spa. Combine two tablespoons of finely ground oatmeal, two tablespoons granulated sugar, two tablespoons brown sugar, 1/2 cup vegetable or almond oil, and one teaspoon nutmeg. Mix the ingredients well and then apply to a wet face. Rub gently, followed by a thorough rinse. Pat dry.

i) Witch Hazel:

Reduce the redness and inflammation of an ingrown hair by applying witch hazel.

j) Rubbing Alcohol:

Cool down skin irritated by ingrown hairs by applying a cotton ball dipped in rubbing alcohol.

k) Proper Shaving Direction:

You can prevent hair from being cut too short if you shave in the proper direction. Men are advised to shave downwards with their cheeks, chin, and moustache, and upwards for the neck. Women should shave their legs downwards. Shaving against the grain will worsen and create new ingrown hairs.

l) Blade Change:

Sometimes, it’s not how you shave, but what you are shaving with. Treat ingrown hairs to a different razor blade, which also prevents infection.

m) Hydrocortisone Cream:

If your bathroom cabinet has an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream (like Cortaid) – apply around an ingrown hair to speed up healing and calm any inflammation.


[1] http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/ingrown-hair/DS01167