How to Alleviate Ingrown Hairs

Ingrown hairs occur when the sharp end of coarse and thick hairs curl over and embed in the skin. While the condition is not serious, it can lead to secondary infections, scarring and discoloration of the skin. The condition usually occurs with hair removal techniques such as shaving. The symptoms of an ingrown hair include itching, irritation, small red bumps and inflammation. An evaluation from a physician is necessary for severe skin infections caused by an ingrown hair.


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    Loosen the ingrown hair. In mild cases of ingrown hairs, it may be possible to loosen the hair and release it from the skin. The ingrown hair is typically visible below the surface of the skin.
    • Use a washcloth or soft brush when washing the face to loosen the hair from the skin.
    • Over the counter depilatories can loosen the hair and release it from the skin. Apply the topical solution or cream to the affected area.
    • Use a sterilized needle to lift the hair from the skin by inserting the needle beneath the loop of hair and gently lifting.
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    Apply topical antibacterial treatments such as benzoyl peroxide to reduce skin bacteria and the chance of skin infection. Acne medications and washes contain benzoyl peroxide, which is helpful in keeping the skin clean and free of bacteria.
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    Seek medical attention for the surgical removal of an ingrown hair in severe cases.
    • Physicians may prescribe a topical antibiotic to treat secondary infections in the skin.
    • For severe infections, the doctor may prescribe oral antibiotics. Physicians may also prescribe corticosteroid ointments to treat inflammation.
    • The doctor may prescribe a retinoid cream to reduce the darkening of the skin that can occur with ingrown hairs.


  • Preparing the skin before shaving can help to reduce the incidence of ingrown hairs. Wet the hair and use shave gels to prepare the hair for shaving. Exfoliate the skin before shaving to remove dead skin cells.
  • Electrolysis is a permanent hair removal method that damages the hair follicle, which prevents the growth of hair and the incidence of ingrown hairs.
  • An electric razor and chemical hair removers can remove hair while reducing the risk of ingrown hairs. When using a manual razor, use a single blade and avoid shaving too close to the surface of the skin to reduce the risk of ingrown hairs.
  • Laser treatment can remove hair and reduce the possibility of ingrown hairs. Laser hair removal procedures remove the hair follicle, which eliminates the chance of ingrown hairs.
  • Shave the hair in the direction of growth and apply compresses to the skin after shaving.


  • Do not use chemical depilatories every day to avoid skin irritation. Every other or every two days can help remove the hair without causing redness and irritation.
  • A physician should evaluate bacterial infections and severe inflammation. Skin abscesses are infections beneath the surface of the skin, which a physician must surgically cut and allow to drain.

Things You'll Need

  • Depilatory solution
  • Sterilized needle
  • Antibacterial wash
  • Washcloth or soft bristled brush

Article Info

Categories: Hair Removal