How to Get Rid of Ingrown Hairs
Shaving, waxing, and plucking are an unfortunate part of life. But most of us must do these things on a regular basis.
And with those proven methods of hair removal comes one pesky side effect: ingrown hairs.
Ingrown hairs can be unsightly and painful, but the good news is that there are some practical ways to treat them and prevent them from returning.
Ready to rid yourself of ingrown hairs forever?
Keep reading for our complete guide on how to get rid of ingrown hairs once and for all.
Table of Contents
What Are Ingrown Hairs?
So what exactly are ingrown hairs? And what causes them?
Well, here’s the deal:
Traditional methods of hair removal, such as shaving and waxing, involve cutting the hair off at the skin. But shaving doesn’t remove the entire hair — it only removes the part that you can see.
The rest of the hair, with an attached follicle, is still alive and well beneath the surface of the skin. This is what makes the hair grow back (and why you’ll have to shave again in a day or two).
Most of those hairs grow back as expected, causing you to need another shave. But sometimes hairs aren’t able to make their way through the surface of the skin. Some grow back into the body, causing the surface of the skin to swell (and sometimes resulting in pimples).
Ingrown hairs can happen anywhere on the body. People with thick or curly hair tend to experience them the most.
Related: Laser Removal vs. Waxing [Which Is Better?]
How to Get Rid of Ingrown Hairs
There are a few ways to get rid of ingrown hairs:
The DIY Method for Ingrown Hair Removal
***Full disclosure: We do NOT recommend this method. If your ingrown hairs are painful or irritating, it’s always best to see a dermatologist before attempting to remove them yourself.***
Start by soaking a washcloth in warm water and placing it on the skin. The warm compress will help to push the hair up through the skin’s surface.
Why? Because heat promotes circulation, and that increased circulation can help drive the hair upward.
If you can see that the hair is starting to emerge, pull it out gently with sterile tweezers. Don’t pluck it out completely — just coax it out so that the edge of the hair is above the surface layer of the skin.
If you can’t see the hair, stop immediately and call a doctor. What makes the DIY method so dangerous is that people often dig into the skin to get at the hair, which can cause an infection.
With any luck, you’ll be able to get the edge of the hair out so that it doesn’t continue to grow under the skin. If you’re able to do so, complete the process by washing and exfoliating the area thoroughly.
Instead of trying to pluck the hair, use a topical treatment instead. There are a variety of safe skincare products that can help draw the hair out and soothe irritation.
Tea tree oil, retinoids, glycolic acid, and salicylic acid are all effective methods. Exfoliant products can also help. You can buy these items over the counter from any pharmacy.
Laser Hair Removal
Laser hair removal is another effective method. With this method, you can get rid of your ingrown hairs and prevent them from returning in the future.
Here’s how laser hair removal works:
A technician applies a pulse of light onto the surface of the skin, killing not just the hair but the entire hair follicle.
Hair needs a healthy follicle to grow, so destroying it prevents the hair from growing back.
Laser hair removal is a safe and effective method that can be performed on any area of the body (except around the eyes).
Learn more about laser hair removal!
How to Prevent Ingrown Hairs
Knowing how to treat ingrown hair is nice, but it’s more important to know how to prevent them.
Laser hair removal will prevent them from returning, but only in the area where you have laser treatment. So unless you’re going to have laser treatment on your entire body, you’ll still run the risk of getting ingrown hair in other areas.
To prevent ingrown hairs, you need to develop a smart and proactive skin care routine.
Here are a few things you should do to prevent them from happening again:
It’s essential to use an exfoliator wherever hair grows. Exfoliating removes dead skin cells from the outer layer of the skin. And it’s those dead skin cells that cause the hair to get clogged in the first place.
Avoid Shaving Too Much
Every time you shave, you run the risk of developing ingrown hairs. So, try to shave as little as possible.
And when you do shave, use a shaving cream or gel on the area.
Shave in the Proper Direction
How you shave is also a factor.
If you’re prone to ingrown hairs, shave in the direction that your hair grows. Shaving in the opposite direction will cause the hairs to be cut at a sharper angle, and sharply cut hairs are more likely to become ingrown.
Use the Right Type of Razor
Shave with a sharp, fresh blade and use a single-blade razor for the best results.
If you can live without a super smooth shave, switch to an electric razor. This will give you a close shave but leaves the tip of the hair above your skin’s surface. As long as the edge of the hair is above the surface of the skin, it won’t be able to curl around and grow inwards.
Laser Hair Removal is the Best Solution for Ingrown Hairs
What is the best way to get rid of ingrown hair?
Laser hair removal.
Lasers are the most effective tool for getting rid of all unwanted hair, including ingrowns. The laser destroys the follicle, which no amount of lotion or moisturizer can do.
And once the follicle is dead, you won’t have to worry about any nasty little ingrown hairs popping up again.