If you see certain bumps on your face and are unable to recognize them, be aware that they might be what you call ingrown hair. Well, this is about men who can get ingrown hair on face due to shaving. For women, these bumps or ingrown hair can be there on legs, armpits or some other place where they have shaved to get rid of unwanted hair!
What is an Ingrown Hair?
Simply stated, ingrown hair is that hair which has curled round and grown back into your skin. You can see the raised red spots on such areas where one or more of your hair grows inside your skin. Sometimes, these spots fill with pus and become infected ingrown hair. These ingrown hairs are not a serious issue. They are just irritating. However, the painful infected ingrown hair might become serious if not resolved soon. If you do not treat ingrown hair, it will develop into a mass under your skin that gradually thickens your skin and finally becomes a cyst. Ingrown hair cyst might turn red and infected and infection is always a thing to worry about. So, why not get rid of an ingrown hair right when you see it the first time. You can easily do so through certain home remedies. The best thing would be to prevent getting ingrown hair. But how? This we will discuss later. First let’s know what causes ingrown hair so that you have some idea about how to prevent an ingrown hair.
Causes of Ingrown Hair
Men or women, nobody has been spared from getting an ingrown hair. In men, ingrown hair can be seen as small bumps on their chin, cheeks, or neck, usually after shaving. Women develop ingrown hair mostly on their legs, armpits and the pubic area. Sometimes ingrown hairs also develop on buttocks, at the bottom of the tailbone. Men are more prone than women to have an ingrown hair in this area. If these ingrown hairs at buttocks are not treated in time, they fill with puss and get infected to become a cyst, called pilonidal cyst. This makes it clear that ingrown hair is the cause of pilonidal cyst but what are the causes of an ingrown hair!
- Curly or coarse hair. People with curly or coarse hair are more likely to get ingrown hair. Such hair can easily curl back ground and re-enter your skin, especially after you shaving, waxing or tweezing to remove unwanted hair. The hair that grows back has sharper edges and thus it is easier for such hair to re-enter the skin. Sometimes, these hair curls back into the hair follicle without even coming out of your skin!
- Clogged hair follicles. Sometimes, your hair follicles may get clogged due to the dead skin cells. As, such, the hair that grows back doesn’t find its way outside the skin. However, it keeps on growing sideways inside the follicle. This obviously results into ingrown hair.
- Hormonal imbalance. Sometimes, especially in women, higher levels of certain sex hormones result in excessive unwanted hair growth. This condition is medically known as hirsutism. Such women may also get ingrown hair frequently.
So, how to get rid of ingrown hair? Here are certain remedies to get rid of an ingrown hair as well as certain techniques for ingrown hair removal.
How to Get Rid of an Ingrown Hair
Ingrown hair usually goes away on its own. However, if it doesn’t, you may need to interfere and either remove the ingrown hair or treat it with some remedy so that it doesn’t become infected. If you go to your doctor, he might make a small cut onto your skin in order to remove an ingrown hair. He might then give you certain medicines to treat the swelling and infection, if any. Sometimes doctors also prescribe medicines to remove dead skin cells in order to reduce the changes in your skin color due to ingrown hairs. If you want to avoid medicines, you can follow certain home remedies to get rid of ingrown hair and also the dead skin cells that might be causing t hem.
1. Use Salt to Get Rid of Ingrown Hair
The minute granules of salt help exfoliate your skin and slough off the dead cells that might be causing clogged pores, one of the major reasons behind ingrown hair. Not only salt is an excellent exfoliating agent, it also increases your blood circulation and promotes faster healing in order to reduce swelling on your skin.
How to use salt for ingrown hair on face
- Salt- 1 tsp
- Warm water- 1 cup
- Cotton ball
- Add salt to the water and mix well.
- Now soak the cotton ball in this solution and apply this to your ingrown hair site on the face. Rub the cotton gently over the area. The salt helps draw out the ingrown hair by cleansing and exfoliating the skin there.
- Repeat daily. However, if you see that using this salt-water solution is giving you red or irritated skin, stop using it.
How to use salt for ingrown hair on a body
If you have an ingrown hair on legs or bikini area, have a salt bath.
- Epsom salt- 2 cups
- Fill your bathtub with water.
- Add salt to the water
- Soak yourself in the tub filled with such water for 20-30 minutes.
If you have sensitive skin, however, use sugar scrub that is gentler on your skin and is also our next remedy for ingrown hair.
2. Sugar Scrub for Ingrown Hair Remedy
Sugar, although not as minutely granular as salt, is a gentler exfoliating agent than salt is! It also helps get you rid of dead skin cells so that your ingrown hair stuck within can come out and relieve you from pain and irritation. While you can always use sugar with some water but using certain oil like jojoba or olive oil makes your skin soft and hydrated which only helps release the ingrown hair easily. To make this scrub even more effective, use certain essential oils such as tea tree oil or lavender oil. While the first one is really good for an infected ingrown hair due to its ant-bacterial properties, lavender oil soothes the inflammation and redness of your skin due to the ingrown hair.
- Sugar- 1 cup
- Oil (olive/jojoba)- 1/2 cup
- Tea tree oil (optional)- 10 drops
- Lavender oil (optional)- 10 drops
- Mix all the ingredients well.
- Apply some of it to your affected skin area.
- Scrub gently in a circular motion until the sugar granules get dissolved or do it for about 2-5 minutes.
- Wash off with water.
- Initially, repeat daily for about 7 days and then do it once or twice a week or whenever necessary.
- If you feel your skin getting irritated with the scrub, stop using it and opt for some other remedy.
- You can store the prepared scrub in an airtight container and keep it away from direct heat.
3. Castor Oil for Ingrown Hair
This is particularly useful for infected ingrown hair where you have also put into your skin bumps surrounding the ingrown hair. Castor oil helps open the clogged pores and has a drawing effect on the pus. The pus is released when you apply castor oil. This cleans off the area making it easier for the ingrown hair to come out. You can even try this remedy for ingrown hair cyst.
- Castor oil- 1-2 tbsp
- Take the oil and apply a thick layer of it on your ingrown hair affected area.
- Let it sit there for about 10-15 minutes.
- Now wet the washcloth and wring out the excessive water.
- Wipe away the area where you had applied the oil with this washcloth.
- Repeat at least 2-3 times a day till you get rid of ingrown hair.
4. Baking Soda for Ingrown Hair
Baking soda is a very good friend of your skin as it not only maintains its pH level to discourage bacterial growth but also exfoliates the skin gently to slough off the dead skin cells and open up the clogged pores. This helps ingrown hair come out and give you relief from all the discomforts. It is also good for infected ingrown hair but stays gentle while using it on your skin.
- Baking soda- 1 tbsp
- Water- 1 tsp
- Mix both the ingredients, baking soda and water to make a paste.
- Now apply this to your ingrown hair affected skin.
- Gently rub it there in a circular motion for about 2 minutes.
- Now wash off with water.
5. Tea Tree Oil for Ingrown Hair
While tea tree oil does not necessarily treat ingrown hair but it prevents any infection from developing in the area. It is due to its antibacterial and antiseptic properties. You also get relief from swelling and redness due to the anti-inflammatory properties of the tea tree oil.
- Tea tree oil- 3-5 drops
- Water- 2 tbsp OR Carrier oil (olive/jojoba)- 1 tbsp
- Add tea tree oil to water or the carrier oil, whatever you are using.
- Apply this to your ingrown hair affected area.
- Leave for about 10 minutes.
- Wash off with lukewarm water.
- Repeat two times a day.
6. Apple Cider Vinegar for Ingrown Hair
The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar makes it an excellent anti-microbial agent. As its anti-bacterial properties prevent infection, it has also been used for acne remedy which is again caused by almost the same cause as for ingrown hair, clogged pores!
- Apple cider vinegar- 1-2 tbsp
- Cotton ball
- Soak the cotton ball in the vinegar.
- Now apply this to your ingrown hair affected site.
- Let it be there for few hours, preferably overnight.
- Repeat this daily till you get rid of ingrown hair or the cyst formed by it.
7. Garlic for Ingrown Hair
Garlic has fine anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. Crushed fresh garlic can cure a wide range of bacterial infections. The sulphur compounds of garlic also exhibit excellent anti-inflammatory properties that can help you get rid of swelling and redness related to ingrown hair.
- Garlic cloves- 1-2
- Empty tea bag – 1 Or a clean cloth piece (optional)
- adhesive tape
- Crush the garlic to get its paste.
- Now apply this paste to the affected area.
- You may want to fill an empty tea bag with this paste. You can also put this in a clean piece of cloth and tie it to make a small bag.
- Now place this bag over the affected area.
- Try to keep it restricted to the area having ingrown hair only as healthy skin might get burning effect due to the strength of garlic.
- Leave it thereby securing it with tape for some time, maybe for 20-30 minutes.
- Repeat it daily till you get rid of ingrown hair.
8. Black Tea Bags for Ingrown Hair
Black tea is rich in tannic acid. Tannic acid helps reduce inflammation and redness. Thus, you can use a black tea bag to get rid of an ingrown hair. Here’s how to do so.
- Warm water- 1 cup
- Black tea bag- 1
- Dip the tea bag into the warm water.
- Let it there for a couple of minutes.
- Now take the tea bag out and press out some of the water from it. Let some remain in it.
- Take this wet warm tea bag and press it against your affected skin.
- Hold it against your skin for few minutes.
- Repeat every day till you get rid of ingrown hair.
9. Warm Compress for Ingrown Hair
A warm and moist compress help soften the skin so that the ingrown hair can come out easily to relieve you of all pain and irritation. In fact, it also softens the ingrown hair and brings it to the surface of the skin from where you can easily remove it with the help of tweezers.
- Hot water
- Soak the washcloth in the hot water.
- Wring out the excessive water.
- Place it on the affected area and gently press it against your skin surface.
- Once the cloth cools down, make it warm again by dipping in the hot water.
- Keep on doing this for about 10-15 minutes.
- By this time, you would be able to see the hair tip close to your skin’s surface. If not, take help of your doctor.
- If you are able to see the hair, remove the ingrown hair with the help of tweezers as explained in the next remedy.
10. Remove an Ingrown Hair with Tweezers
Once you make the skin and the ingrown hair soft with a warm compress, you may use tweezers to easily pull out the hair. However, never dig for the hair. Do this only if you are able to see the tip of the hair close to your skin surface. Digging can worsen your condition and even lead to some serious infections. Also, never pluck the hair out when trying to remove it with tweezers after a warm compress treatment. You just need to let the tip of the hair out of your skin so that it grows in its normal direction and not within your skin. You can remove it after few days when your skin heals itself. This will prevent scab or any scar that might follow if you pluck your hair right after picking up its tip. Keep patience while doing so and if you are not confident enough, please go to your doctor.
How to remove ingrown hair with tweezers
- Tweezers (Pointed)
- Rubbing alcohol
- Washcloth or loofah sponge
- Warm water
- Clean cloth or cotton ball
- Witch hazel or aloe vera gel
- Dip the loofah sponge or washcloth in warm water.
- Rub it over your affected area in circular motion. This exfoliates your skin and also makes it ready to remove the ingrown hair.
- Take a clean cloth and pour some rubbing alcohol on it.
- Wipe your tweezers with this to sanitize the same.
- Also, wipe your skin with rubbing alcohol.
- Due to the effect of warm water and exfoliation, you would be able to see the tip of the hair close to the skin surface.
- Place the tip of the tweezers underneath your ingrown hair, close to the follicle and pull up gently on the tweezers and the hair along with it.
- Don’t pluck the hair; just pull it out of the skin. Plucking now will form a scab that might lead to another ingrown hair.
- Let your skin heal for 4-5 days and then if needed, remove the hair.
- After few days, if you still need to remove the hair, pull your skin taut while doing so.
- Sterilize your tweezers using rubbing alcohol.
- Grasp the hair with tweezers as close to the root as you can.
- Now pull it up and out just in one quick motion.
- Dab some witch hazel or aloe vera gel over the spot.
How to Prevent Ingrown Hair
Prevention is better than cure. So why not prevent ingrown hair so that you do not need to remove it or treat it with remedies and medicines. And the major cause of ingrown hair is the wrong way of shaving. Let’s know some tips on how to shave the right way in order to prevent ingrown hairs. These tips are more useful for men as they need to shave every day. However, some of them may be taken heed of by women too who often shave the unwanted hair of their various body parts.
- Exfoliate every day. If you are prone to have an ingrown hair, it’s better to exfoliate your skin every day. You will just need a wet washcloth to do so. Rub your face with this washcloth in a circular motion. You may also use some gentle scrub like baking soda to exfoliate skin, if not every day then twice or thrice a week.
- Shave in the direction of your hair grows. The hair on face grows downward, on the cheeks and straight out on the chin, downward below the jawbone, and upward along your lower neck, usually below Adam’s apple. Shave in these directions to avoid having an ingrown hair.
- Shave daily. Yes, when you shave frequently, it prevents ingrown hair. However, shave lightly and don’t exert too much pressure.
- Soften skin before shaving. Use warm water for this purpose. Wet a towel or a cloth with warm water and rub it on your face. This will warm up and soften the skin as well as the hair. Apply soap or gel on the wet face only.
- Use a sharp blade. Always use a sharp and single-bladed razor. Double or multiple blade razor shave too close to the skin. It’s better to leave a little stubble if you are all right with it. This prevents bacteria from entering the tiny openings of your just shaved skin. A blunt razor blade also worsens the condition by not cutting the hair properly. This gives rise to ingrown hair.
- Avoid electric razors or use them properly. Hold them slightly above the surface of your skin when shaving and when you cannot do without them.
- Use as few strokes of the razor as you can while shaving. And also rinse the razor after every stroke.
- Cool down your face after shaving. Do this either with a cool washcloth or cold water. This helps reduce irritation.
Taking all these precautions while shaving will prevent ingrown hair. And if you still get some, take help of remedies for ingrown hairs to deal with them!