How Do I Treat Ingrown Hairs?

by Jay Kang | Updated on February 8th, 2023
Removing ingrown hair with tweezer after shaving legs

Ingrown hairs can be more than just a nuisance–they can be painful and even leave behind unsightly scars. But don’t worry; you can take steps to prevent ingrown hairs and treat existing ones.


This blog post will provide an overview of what causes ingrown hairs and tips on treating them.

How Do I Treat Ingrown Hairs?

Ingrown hair can last several days to weeks. However, you might experience some pain that might be too painful, and you’re looking for the quickest solution. In some cases, when a cyst starts to develop, you should avoid popping it. However, here are a few solutions you can use before that even happens.

Stop Removing the Hair in the Area

To treat ingrown hairs, it’s important to stop removing the hair in the area. This means no waxing, shaving, or plucking until the ingrown hair disappears.

Rub Your Face with a Washcloth or Exfoliating Scrub

Exfoliating your skin can help remove dead skin cells and dirt trapped around the ingrown hair. Rub your face in a circular motion daily using a wet washcloth or an exfoliating scrub to help tease out the ingrown hairs.

You can also use an over-the-counter exfoliator or an exfoliating glove twice daily as part of your regular skincare routine.

Use a Sharp Razor

When shaving, using a single-blade razor is the best way to prevent ingrown hairs. A single blade is less damaging and aggressive to the skin, using only one blade to cut hair. Wet your skin with warm water before shaving, and use a lubricating gel.

Shave in the same direction your hair grows and take short, even strokes. Toss razors when they get old or dull or if they ever drop on the floor. Keeping your razor sharp will help you achieve a good shave with minimal irritation.

Exfoliate with Acids

Exfoliating with acids is an important part of treating ingrown hairs. Glycolic and salicylic acid help prevent bumps and speed up the process of shedding inflamed cells. Lactic acid is a great ingredient in body care products, as it helps remove dead skin cells that can clog the pores and cause ingrown hairs.

After exfoliating, apply a warm compress and a gentle serum containing these acids. This will help to soothe the area and release the trapped hair.

Apply Warm Compresses

After attempting to release the hair, applying warm compresses may help reduce inflammation and itchiness. Wet a washcloth with warm water and press it against the ingrown hair for a few minutes. This will help to soften the top layer of skin, making it easier for the hair to break through. Additionally, warm compresses can speed up the healing process and bring the cyst closer to the surface so it can drain.

Attempt to Release the Hair

If the hair is already visible and sticking out of your skin, you can attempt to tweeze the hair out. Start by applying a warm compress to the area since the heat will soften the skin. Then, very gently, exfoliate the skin trapping the hair using a sterile needle or blade (scalpel).

Gently pull out the hair. Once the hair emerges above the skin, use sterile tweezers or a needle to pull it free gently. For additional relief, you can apply a steroid cream to reduce the swelling and irritation.

However, if tweezing is difficult or uncomfortable, you should try depilatory creams, laser hair removal, or electrolysis.

To remove the ingrown hair, gently exfoliate your skin to remove a dead layer of skin cells and help release the ingrown hair.

Try Aspirin-Honey Treatment

Once you have attempted to release the hair with a warm compress, you can try an aspirin-honey treatment. Take two aspirin tablets, soak them in one tablespoon of hot water (10 ml), and let them sit for a few minutes.

Then add one teaspoon of honey and half a teaspoon of water to make a paste. Apply the paste to the affected area and leave it on for 10 minutes. Wash it off with warm water. Honey is great because it can help heal ingrown hair already showing signs of infection.

Aspirin can also be beneficial as it contains anti-inflammatory properties, which help in reducing inflammation.

Clean and Protect the Area

Once you have removed the hair, cleaning and protecting the area is important. Use a gentle cleanser like tea tree oil soap to help reduce inflammation. Then apply a thin layer of antibiotic ointment to the affected area to help it heal and prevent further infection.

Finally, apply a moisturizing lotion or cream to help keep the skin soft and hydrated, which will also help to reduce itching and irritation. You should also wear loose-fitting clothing in the area so that it does not rub against your skin. This extra care will help your ingrown hairs heal faster and prevent them from returning.

Seek Professional Help

If the ingrown hairs are severe, or if the condition does not improve with self-care, it is important to seek professional help from a dermatologist. A doctor can examine the affected area and determine the best course of treatment.

This may include medications, such as antibiotics or topical steroid creams, to reduce inflammation and the risk of infection. Sometimes, a doctor may use a sterile needle or blade (scalpel) to remove the ingrown hair. In very severe cases, a doctor may recommend laser hair removal as an effective long-term solution.

Prevent Future Ingrown Hairs

To prevent future ingrown hairs, avoiding shaving too closely and exfoliating the area regularly is important. Switching to a sharp razor blade can also help reduce the risk of ingrown hairs. Additionally, salicylic acid products can help open up pores and follicles, preventing them from clogging and forming ingrown hairs. Lastly, regular cleansing and protection of the skin will help keep it healthy and free of irritation.

Last update on 2024-05-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Jay Kang

Just because i'm asian does not mean I don't need shaving. I always wanted to grow a beard when I was young, now I need to shave because hair growth for me is a problem. I'm going through what every man will and has gone through before.