There is nothing more irritating that finding ingrown hair on your legs, hands, and face. The ones that seem like pimples are the scariest of the lot. Ingrown hair is very common in people who have curly or coarse hair, but almost everyone faces this problem. It is a condition when instead of the hair growing out of the skin, it curls up beneath the skin’s surface. It usually occurs as a result of dead skin which blocks the hair follicle.
People, who shave, wax or use tweezers to remove unwanted hair on a regular basis are generally prone to ingrown hair. Wearing tight clothes and using incorrect methods of hair removal can also cause ingrown hair. The two most common symptoms of ingrown hair are itchiness and rash on the skin. For many people, ingrown hair is very painful as red bumps similar to those of pimples appear on the skin and can get infected with pus. There are many ways to treat ingrown hair at home without spending a lot of money at the spa.
Home Remedies to Expose Ingrown Hair
1. Warm Compress
To soften the tissues around ingrown hair, apply a warm or moist towel on the affected area. Repeat this until the hair appears close enough to the surface of the skin.
One of the best times to try a warm compress surprisingly is when you are in the shower or bath. The warmth of the water or a warm sponge or bath towel will help to soften up the skin rather easily. Just be sure that you do not pick at your skin or else this will just aggravate it even further.
2. Use Tweezers
After applying the warm compress, once the hair is closer to the surface of the skin, slowly pluck the hair with a point tipped tweezers, so that, the end of the ingrown hair is above the skin. Remember the aim is not to pluck the hair out as this is very painful. Don’t forget to sanitize the tweezer with alcohol before using.
Note: Sometimes the hair may look like a loop but do not worry about that. The ingrown hair is simply growing back into the skin, and hence, the loop alike shape. Simply put a sterilized needle through the loop and gently pull it out.
If you are having a difficult time pulling out the ingrown hair, that just might mean that your skin is not yet ready to be messed with. You may need to soften your skin up a bit more with the heat compress, then come back to it later. It might also mean that the ingrown hair needs a bit more time to grow out so that it can poke through the skin.
3. Benzoyl Peroxide
Benzoyl peroxide is particularly good for those ingrown hair which are filled with pus and seem like pimples. Apply it to the affected area several times during the day, for at least a week. While trying this, remove all the dead skin around the affected area. This will cut the bump or swelling which will make it easier for the hair to grow out.
You never want to mess with the type of ingrown hairs that have developed a small puss filled sack filled area on the top. Doing so can introduce new bacteria into the area and this can possibly lead to an infection.
Be sure to not apply too much pressure when applying the benzoyl peroxide. You want to apply just enough so that you coat the area, but do not irritate it.
4. Milk and Out-of-date Bread
This may sound silly but it does work, especially on a looped ingrown hair. Warm some milk and dip a piece of bread in it. Now place the bread on the area of the skin with the ingrown hair and keep it there for about 2 minutes or until the bread cools. Repeat again for another 10 minutes. Check if the pore has opened up; if so, use a sterile needle to pull the loop out.
Salt not only helps in exfoliation, but also increases blood circulation to aid ingrown hair come out. Take 1½ teaspoons of salt and mix it with 1 cup of warm water. Dip a cotton ball into this solution and dab it on the affected area. Do not wipe it off. Best time to do this would be before going to bed, so that the salt can exfoliate and cleanse the skin over night. Repeat this daily until the tip of the ingrown hair appears.
- Another method is to add Epsom salt to your bath water. Gently exfoliate the skin with a loofah or washcloth while bathing. Apply moisturizer or aloe vera gel after bath. Repeat it daily until the ingrown hair exposes out.
6. Change your Shaving Techniques
Men who have ingrown hair on their face should not apply too much pressure on the blade and should not stretch their skin while shaving as this traps the hair stubs in the follicle. Besides, always use a razor with a single-blade as opposed to a double or triple blade.
If you are shaving your legs, it is ok to shave against the grain of the hair. Just be sure that you do not shave too quickly. Doing so will cause friction that will cause irritation. This is one of the main ways that ingrown hairs develop in the first place.
When you are shaving, be sure that you are not going over the same area more than necessary as well. This too can cause irritation that will lead to ingrown hairs. Lastly, be sure that you do not shave with an old razor either. Old razors have dull blades that can also lead to irritation. In fact, dull razors are often the main culprits of ingrown hairs.
Lastly, once you have finished shaving, be sure to take care of your skin afterward. Shaving can often strip the top layer of your skin, leaving your skin vulnerable to ingrown hairs. One of the best ways to avoid this is by moisturizing your skin afterward to lock in hydration.
One of the best ways to lock in moisture is by using a hydrating location. Using oils such as coconut oil and essential vitamins like Vitamin E can work just as well too.
In a bowl, mix together some vinegar and hot water (remember to keep the mixture warm). Dip a cloth into this mixture and lightly press it on the affected area. When the cloth gets cold, dip it again into the warm mixture and apply again to the affected area. This method takes a longer time and so you may have to repeat it for at least a week.
Sugar helps in getting rid of dead skin cells and pushing the ingrown hair out. Mix ½ a cup of jojoba oil with 1 cup of sugar. Add 10 drops of tea tree oil and apply this mixture onto the affected area. Now scrub the area in a circular motion and then wash it off with warm water. Do this for two to four weeks or until the ingrown hair surfaces out.
9. Baking Soda
Mix together one cup of water and 1 tablespoon of baking soda. Dip a cotton ball or a cloth into the solution and apply it on the affected area. Leave it for five to ten minutes and wash it off using cold water. Repeat this two to three times in a day, for faster results.
10. Black Tea Bags
Black tea bags have a high concentration of tannic acid which make the skin smooth and at the same time, reduces inflammation and redness. Rub a warm teabag over the affected area for three minutes every day, for several consecutive days.
- Alternatively, you can keep the tea bag in water for some time and then remove all the excess water from it, into a bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of coconut water to this tea water. Dip a cotton ball into the mixture, and then place it on the affected area. Repeat this twice a day until you see the desired change on your skin.
Apply honey to the affected area and allow it to dry. Then, wash it off with cold water.
Place a few slices of cucumber in a refrigerator, and after about half an hour, gently rub the slices on the affected area. Alternatively, mash ½ a cucumber and mix it in 1/3 cup of milk. Refrigerate the mixture. Dip a cloth or cotton in the mixture and put it on the ingrown hair. After a few minutes, wash off with lukewarm water. Use the remedy twice a day, for a few days.
13. Apple Cider Vinegar
Soak a cotton boil in apple cider vinegar and apply it on the affected area. Let your skin absorb it. Use lukewarm water to wash off the area. Use it two times a day.
Aspirin alleviates symptoms associated with ingrown hair like inflammation and redness. All you need to do is soak 2 aspirin tablets in 1 teaspoon of warm water. Now, add 1 teaspoon of honey to the paste. Apply it over the affected area and let it stay for at least 10 minutes. Rinse with warm water and pat dry. Use it one or two times a week.
Mix together ¼ cup of unused coffee grounds and 1 cup lukewarm water. Massage the mixture on the affected area for a few minutes, in a circular motion. Finally, rinse with lukewarm water. Moisturize with aloe vera gel. The acidic properties of coffee make it easy to expose the trapped hair.
Herbal Remedies for Ingrown Hair
16. Aloe Vera
Use pure aloe Vera gel and rub it on the skin. Let it dry and then rinse it off with warm water. Repeat two to three times in a day, for at least a week.
17. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil helps reduce swelling and redness caused by ingrown hair. On a piece of cotton wool, dab a few drops of tea tree oil and keep it on the area of the ingrown hair. The oil will facilitate the hair come out from beneath the skin and prevents further growth on ingrown hair. Alternatively, add a few drops to your body wash and use it to clean your body.
- Always keep your body moisturized while trying any of the above treatments.
- Before shaving, exfoliate the skin.
- Remove the ingrown hair only when you see the tip of the hair above the skin.
- Always cleanse your skin to get rid of any surface dirt.
- Once you remove the ingrown hair, treat it with some antibiotic cream such as Soframycin.
- Do not jab the tweezers into the skin.
- Avoid shaving for up to four weeks while the skin around the ingrown hair heals.
- Women should avoid using hair removal creams to reduce the risk of irritation.
- Do not use any medications or ointments without consulting your doctor.
- Do not pluck the tip of the ingrown hair, as it will reactivate the problem again.
- Avoid wearing tight clothes around the area which has ingrown hair.