How to Get Rid of Ingrown Hairs

Ingrown hairs, (pseudofolliculitis barbae), happen when the end of the hair shaft is shaved very low, curling back into the same hair follicle as it grows. While ingrown hair is more common with people who have curly hair, almost everybody will get one at some time. 

An ingrown hair cause an inflammatory response, which includes itchiness, swelling, redness, and pain. However, this is not a serious issue. In most cases, ingrown hairs go away on their own, but there are several things you can do to speed up the healing process. Read on to learn how to get rid of ingrown hairs.

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How to Get Rid of Ingrown Hairs

1. Exfoliation

Gently scrub the ingrown hair twice a day. This will help remove dead skin cells, and oils that might be trapping the ingrown hair. Try to hit the ingrown hair from a variety of directions. This may also physically nudge the tip of the hair out of your skin.

  • You’ll need to exfoliate enough to achieve this effect, but not so much that the area surrounding the ingrown hair starts to bleed.
2. Loosening

The ingrown hair is typically visible below the surface of the skin. In mild cases, it may be possible to loosen the hair and release it from the skin.

  • When trying to loosen the hair, use a washcloth or soft brush.
  • You can also use a sterilized needle to lift the hair from the skin. To do this, insert the needle beneath the loop of hair and lift gently.
3. Softening

Softening the affected skin area may help you loosen the ingrown hair. In order to do this, apply a warm, moist compress to the area for a few minutes.

  • If you can see the ingrown hair embedded in the skin, this treatment will soften the hair and bring it closer to the surface.
  • If you still can’t see any sign of hair after ten minutes, this means that you’re not going to be able to remove it yourself.
4. Egg Membrane

This remedy may help you get rid of the ingrown hair very quickly.

  • After removing the membrane from inside an eggshell, cover the affected area with it.
  • Let it dry and shrink around the ingrown hair.
  • Once dry, pull it off. The ingrown hair should come out with it.
5. Salt 

Salt helps increase circulation, reduce swelling and promote healing.

  • Mix 2 teaspoons of table salt in one cup of lukewarm water.
  • Dip a cotton ball in the mixture and gently rub it over the affected skin.
  • Leave it on for a few minutes and then rinse it off with water.
  • Do this twice a day until the ingrown hair clears up.
  • Do not use this remedy if your skin gets red or irritated.
6. Warm Milk and Bread Compress
  • Warm up small amount of milk. Don’t make it too hot.
  • Dip a piece of bread into the milk and place the bread on the ingrown hair.
  • Leave the bread on for 2 minutes and then remove it.
  • Repeat this process for 5-6 times.
  • If you can see an opening, use a needle to pull up the ingrown hair.
  • If you can’t see an opening, repeat the dip and hold. If it fails to open, see your health professional for advice.
7. Sugar

Sugar exfoliates the skin, and helps you remove the ingrown out of the skin.

  • Put one cup of white sugar into 1/2 cup of olive oil.
  • Apply a small amount of this mixture on the affected area.
  • Gently scrub the skin in circular motions for a few minutes.
  • Then rinse it off with lukewarm water.
  • Follow this remedy once or twice a week as needed.
8. Acne Medication

Ingrown hairs are like pimples, especially when the ingrown hair is accompanied by pus. Apply benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid several times a day for a few days. This is often enough to remove the ingrown hair, since swelling will be reduced, giving the hair more room to grow out (not in).

How to Prevent Ingrown Hairs

Exfoliate before you shave. Exfoliating is removing dead skin cells. While it is a great beauty practice, it is also indispensable for a great shave.

  • You can use a light scrub to exfoliate your skin for a minute or so before you plan on shaving that area. This will help you prevent ingrown hairs.

Prepare your hair before you shave. Dry and brittle hair is harder to shave than hair that is wet and pliant. So, it is helpful to prepare your hair before you shave. You can use a shaving cream to provide lubrication, which helps the razor slide over hairs easier.

  • Never shave without a cream, lotion, or foam. These lubricants are specifically designed to make shaving easier and to prevent ingrown hairs and razor burn.

Shave with the right blade. Using the right blade and applying the right pressure is helpful in preventing ingrown hairs.

  • Clean the blade regularly.

Shave with the grain. Shaving with the proper technique can go a long way toward reducing ingrown hairs. The grain is the direction your hair grows in. If your hair angles a certain way, shave in that direction. If you need to shave against the grain, make your first pass a shave with the grain, then go against the grain very lightly and carefully.

  • This will mean that you won’t get as close of a shave. However, the closer the shave, the more likely you are to get ingrown hairs.

Shave with an electric razor. Electric razors have a barrier between the blade and your skin. This makes it very difficult to cut the hair under the follicle. This also means less close of a shave, but for many people who shave every day, it’s worth it.

  • Avoid the closest setting, and understand that it’s still possible to cut yourself using an electric razor.

Use glycolic acid or salicylic acid. These agents both help exfoliate the skin and prevent ingrown hairs by keeping pores unclogged.

  • You can either look for a shaving cream that has these two ingredients in it, or use a moisturizer that has them. Choose one or the other; using both is probably overkill.
  • If you’ve never used salicylic acid before, be prepared for a little bit of accompanying irritation. This irritation should grow manageable with continued use after a couple of weeks.

Treat your skin after you shave. Rinse your skin with cool water to tighten the pores. If you shaved your face, treat it with a good-quality aftershave, but preferably one that doesn’t have alcohol in it, as they can cause dryness, inflammation, and cellular damage.

WARNINGS

  • Seek medical attention for the surgical removal of an ingrown hair in severe cases.
  • If the inflammation extends beyond the immediate area of the hair follicle or persists for more than a few days after the hair has been freed, consider visiting a dermatologist or your primary care physician.

TIPS

  • Make sure to keep the area very clean. Washing the specific area very thoroughly everytime you take a shower will help.
  • If you can’t see the hair initially, leave the warm, moist compress in place for a while longer.
  • If it burns or has reddish bumps after, use a moisturizing cream to spot away redness. Vaseline works very well too.
  • Always use a fresh blade when shaving the very sensitive areas, like your bikini line.

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