Hair free, hassle-free: Say goodbye to pesky ingrown hair

Ingrown hairs are hairs that curl and grow back into your skin and can plague anyone

Najla Kaddour

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Ingrown hairs are hairs that curl and grow back into your skin after shaving or waxing. They cause redness and irritation and make your skin feel bumpy. You can get ingrown hairs anywhere you grow hair, whether it’s ingrown on the legs, face, armpits or elsewhere. People that have naturally thick and curly hair tend to be more prone to getting ingrown hairs compared to those with thin and fine hair.

Luckily, there’s a lot you can do to keep these red bumps from appearing in the first place and to make them disappear if they do make an unwanted appearance.

The most effective way in getting rid of ingrown hairs is by not removing hair at all. However, that can’t be an option for everyone, follow these instructions to treat the issue and to keep them from coming back.

Change your hair removal technique

Any removal technique that removes hair below the surface of the skin can lead to ingrown including shaving, tweezing and waxing. Pulling the hair completely out of its follicle can sometimes change the direction the hair grows. It also means that the hair has to start over when it’s growing and that can cause the hair to start pushing through your skin. When you wax, tweeze and epilate it enables the hairs to not grow back as fast as shaving does so make sure to use that time to treat your skin with the right treatments which will prevent the hairs from growing in the wrong direction.

Shave properly

If you prefer shaving over any other hair-removal technique, it’s very important to pay attention to the following points:

- Shave with a sharp and clean blade
- Wet the skin before shaving
- Use a lubricating gel
- Shave in the same direction your hair is growing
- Rinse the razor with clean water after every stroke.
- Apply a cool cloth on the skin after shaving; this prevents irritation to the skin

Avoid tight clothing

Once the hairs are ready to grow back, try to avoid wearing tight clothes. Tight outfits create friction, putting pressure on your hair follicles and making hairs more likely to curl down into the skin instead of growing normally.

Exfoliate regularly

When suffering from ingrown hairs, exfoliating the skin is extremely essential since it removes dead skin cells. The thicker the layer of dead skin is, the harder it is for a hair to break through and grow straight. When it comes to exfoliating there are many different ways to do that. These are the different exfoliators you can use according to your personal preference:

Scrubs: depending on the ingredients and your skin type, scrubs can be used all over the body and face.

Exfoliating gloves: is recommended to use on the body only as it might be too harsh for the face.

Body peels: Works great to keep the skin supple while clearing out clogged pores and hair follicles.

Dry brush: It helps to boost the blood circulation in your body, which results in helping the hairs to grow in the right direction and creating smoother skin.

Facial cleansing brushes: These are great to use if you have facial ingrown hairs. It can be used daily combined with your favorite face wash, it cleanses out oil and dead skin cells out of the pores, which means less ingrown hairs.

Wash with anti-bacterial soap

The bump created by ingrown hairs can be inflammatory and may infect other areas of your skin. When there’s a small cut in the razor bump (caused by shaving, waxing or tweezing) it can create a bacterial infection on the skin. Use a fragrance-free anti-bacterial soap to prevent that from happening. Wash the area around the ingrown hair with warm water and the soap. Apply an antiseptic to provide extra protection against infections.


Before removing any ingrown hairs, it’s important to compress the area first. If you can see the ingrown hair embedded in the skin, a warm compress is a great way to soften the hair and relieve the irritation, Doing this for a couple of minutes a few times a day will make the red bump begin to disappear. Wet a washcloth with hot water, wring it out, and press it against the ingrown hair. When the washcloth cools down, run it under hot water again. Repeat this for several times until the redness disappears, this technique will soften the hair and bring it closer to the surface, which makes it easier to remove the hair without harming the skin.

Extract the ingrown hair

Before trying to remove an ingrown hair, use the warm compress first – this should bring the hair to the surface. Don’t dig for the hair if you can’t easily reach it because that will damage the skin and cause scars. Make sure you use needles, tweezers, or a rotable medical device that have been sterilized by boiling into hot water or cleaned with rubbing alcohol. Grab the ingrown hair by the root but don’t pluck the hair out completely if you can avoid doing so; just make sure that the ingrown end is out of the skin – this helps the hair to grow in the right direction.


Ingrown hairs are similar to pimples, especially when they become infected (which they often do). Use a similar plan of attack and apply benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid several times a day for a few days. This, combined with daily exfoliation, is often enough to remove the ingrown hair since swelling will be reduced, giving the hair more room to grow out (rather than in).