How to Treat and Prevent Ingrown Hairs

Ingrown hairs can be very annoying and sometimes even painful. It's important to know how to treat and prevent them so you're not left with dark marks and scars.
How to Treat and Prevent Ingrown Hairs

Last update: 26 May, 2022

Ingrown hairs are quite painful, and they’re unpleasant to look at as well. Learn how to treat and prevent ingrown hairs in the following article.

Ingrown hairs usually appear after shaving or waxing. They start out as little bumps that then become infected, and they form because a hair wasn’t removed properly. They can turn into a serious issue, which is why in addition to knowing how to treat them, we need to know how to avoid them.

Tips to treat and prevent ingrown hairs

1. Think about your method of hair removal

Some suggest that using wax promotes the formation of ingrown hairs, while others say shaving causes more. What wax does is weaken the roots of the hair follicles, meaning that new hairs won’t have the strength to break through the surface of the skin. Shaving can also cause ingrown hairs, however, the root isn’t totally removed.

2. Care for your skin

When hair follicles get oil, dead skin cells, dirt, or bacteria trapped in them, it’s harder for new hairs to grow. To prevent this, exfoliate the skin on a weekly basis, cleansing and moisturizing your skin every day, and using non-comedogenic products that don’t “clog” your pores.

Someone washing their legs with warm water to prevent ingrown hairs

3. Learn how to shave correctly

If this is the method you choose for hair removal, pay attention to the following steps:

  • Soften the skin with warm water, soap or shaving cream (women can use the same shaving cream as men).
  • Don’t shave against the direction the hair grows.
  • Use light pressure each time you shave.
  • Use a new blade every time (or change it every two or three times).

4. Don’t wear tight clothes

Tight clothing will put pressure on the skin and keep it from “breathing,” and this is also true for the hairs that are growing beneath the dermis. This can eventually cause ingrown hairs. Most importantly, you should only wear cotton materials, and avoid any synthetic clothing to prevent ingrown hairs from appearing.

5. Kill bacteria after hair removal

Use natural antiseptics like tea tree oil to prevent infections. You can apply it to the skin a few hours after shaving or waxing.

6. Dilate the pores with hot water or steam

You can also apply a hot towel to your legs, which makes it easier to remove the ingrown hairs.

7. Avoid using the same wax multiple times

This is in case you wax at home. In waxing salons they reuse the same wax for several days or weeks, so it’s a good idea to always follow the “Spanish” system that advises only using the wax one time.

Smooth waxed legs

8.Witch hazel oil

Dip a cotton ball in witch hazel oil and apply it to the skin where you have an ingrown hair. This home remedy is good for calming irritated skin and helps remove the hairs. It’s also useful for reducing redness and inflammation.

It’s an exfoliant product that moisturizes and unclogs pores. Therefore, it can prevent ingrown hairs from reappearing. Use it before and after hair removal.

9. Tweezers

Remove the skin covering an ingrown hair with tweezers. Ingrown hairs remain “trapped” beneath the first layer of the dermis, but you can remove them by softly scraping the skin. Carefully lift the hair, but don’t pluck it, because you could irritate the area even more and cause it to become infected.

Don’t forget to wash your hands beforehand (with mild soap) and apply a little rubbing alcohol or boiling water to the tweezers before using them.

10. Care for your skin in hot weathers

This will help prevent ingrown hairs from recurring in the summertime or while playing sports.

Perspiration from training, the rubbing of legs or thighs, certain types of athletic clothing, heat, and more can cause ingrown hairs to form – so it’s a good idea to apply some Vaseline, talcum powder, or cornstarch to prevent irritation. When you finish exercising, rinse sensitive areas carefully so the hair follicles can “breathe” again.

11. Aloe vera

Use the gel from the aloe plant, an incredible natural remedy for ingrown hairs. Put it on the affected areas every evening and let it absorb into the skin.

It’s a good idea to keep an aloe plant at home, so you can just cut open a stem and scrape out the gel. Aloe creams and lotions are also available, but are not as fast acting. If you buy aloe vera gel, make sure it doesn’t contain alcohol, which will irritate and burn the skin.

12. Essential oils

Use essential oils like chamomile or lavender. Check the concentration, and dilute them with water if needed because some of these products are very strong and can damage or burn the skin. For best results, use a mixture of oils.

Smooth beautiful legs

Steps to remove an ingrown hair

  • Wash the area with a mild soap, rinsing with cold or lukewarm water.
  • Exfoliate the area where the hair is stuck, once in the morning and again in the evening, to “loosen” the hair. Do this carefully to avoid irritating the follicle or causing bleeding. You should only remove the dead skin, oil, or dirt.
  • Apply a warm (but not hot), soft cloth or canvas to the area with an ingrown hair for a few minutes to soften the skin.
  • Use tweezers that have been dipped in rubbing alcohol or boiling water to sterilize them. Stretch the skin around the area tightly, and use the tweezers to remove the hair with a quick “flip.”
  • Afterwards, apply an antiseptic like tea tree oil or aloe vera gel.
  • Repeat these steps if you get ingrown hairs often, or if they form in multiple locations on your body.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.