How to Get Rid of Ingrown Hair: The Best Natural Ways

How to Get Rid of Ingrown Hair
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One of the consequences of shaving is that sooner or later you will probably get an ingrown hair which can cause a red, swollen lump around the hair follicle. Ingrown hairs are also called razor bumps and they occur when one or more hairs curl back and start growing back into the skin. The first symptom of an ingrown hair may be just a small pimple-like bump, but if you don’t remove the ingrown hair, it can cause infection leading to inflammation, swelling and a large painful bump containing pus.

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Razor bumps and ingrown hairs usually occur on areas of the body where people shave. Men tend to get ingrown hairs on their cheeks, neck, chin, and even on their head after shaving. Women usually find that ingrown hairs pop up around their bikini area, on their legs, and armpits. Although ingrown hairs can affect anyone who removes hair by shaving, plucking, or waxing, the Mayo Clinic says that it affects more people who have tightly curled hair.1

Dermatologist, Dr. Stephanie S. Gardner says that ingrown hairs will often go away on their own.2 However, to avoid the appearance of razor bumps and to avoid hair follicles becoming infected, you can remove ingrown hairs if possible.

There are many effective natural home remedies to prevent a hair growing in on itself and reduce the redness and swelling they cause. These natural treatments exfoliate the skin to remove dead skin cells and also contain ingredients to soothe the skin and prevent infections from occurring. You can use these remedies to quickly get rid of the discomfort caused by ingrown hairs.

Best Natural Methods to Remove an Ingrown Hair

The only method to completely prevent hairs growing back into the skin is to stop removing hair. However, for most people this isn’t an option, so having a good skin care regime is necessary to reduce the frequency of razor bumps and ingrown hairs.

Warm Compress

One of the best and easiest ways to remove an ingrown hair is to use a warm compress. The heat from the compress helps to soften the skin and may help draw the ingrown hair closer to the surface.

Soak a washcloth with hot water and press on the ingrown hair. Keep the cloth hot by soaking it in hot water every so often and then reapply. Apply the compress for up to 10 minutes twice a day. When you can see the hair under the skin, you can carefully remove it with a sterile needle and tweezers.

To sterilize the needle, place the end of the needle through a flame and wipe it with an alcohol wipe. Carefully put the needle under the loop and gently coax the hair out. When some of the hair is out, you can pluck the hair using the clean tweezers.

One word of warning: never squeeze hard on the inflamed lump or start picking or digging to get the ingrown hair out. Doing so could spread infection deeper into the skin and damage it, leaving you with a scar. Also, if you notice that the hair hasn’t appeared after using the warm compress, you should use one of the remedies below to try to get rid of the ingrown hair by other methods.

Olive Oil and Sugar Scrub

Because dead skin cells can cause a hair follicle to become clogged, exfoliating the skin with olive oil and sugar is an effective way to prevent ingrown hairs from occurring because it removes old skin cells.

This home remedy for ingrown hairs uses extra virgin olive oil, sugar, tea tree oil and lavender essential oil. Extra virgin olive oil is a great natural ingredient for your skin because studies show that it contains many antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds which can help reduce swelling. The fatty acids can also help moisturize your skin, keeping it soft. Tea tree oil and lavender oil have powerful antibacterial properties which can help to reduce inflammation and stop infections from spreading.3

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To make the olive oil and sugar scrub to get rid of an ingrown hair, you should mix equal amounts of sugar and extra virgin olive oil. Add a few drops each of tea tree oil and lavender oil. Put in an airtight glass container to store the scrub. Apply the natural sugar scrub to the affected area by gently massaging a small amount into the affected skin area. Rinse off with warm water. Exfoliate the area around the ingrown hair twice a week until you can remove the ingrown hair.

Your other option is to make a sea salt body scrub, and you can read about it in my article on how to use sea salt for a beautiful skin.

Baking Soda and Coconut Oil

The grainy texture of baking soda makes it a great natural ingredient to remove dead skin cells that can clog pores and help get rid of ingrown hairs. When combined with coconut oil it makes a natural anti-inflammatory scrub that helps to reduce redness and swelling, as well as preventing bacteria from spreading.

For example, the journal Pharmaceutical Biology reported on the fact that virgin coconut oil contains anti-inflammatory properties and can help soothe redness and alleviate swelling.4 Studies into the compounds of baking soda show that it effectively kills off bacteria that can cause skin infections.5

Mix together 2 tbsp. coconut oil and 1 tbsp. baking soda to make a thick paste (if you have a sensitive skin you can increase the amount of the coconut oil). Gently massage the homemade exfoliating paste onto the affected area and leave for a few minutes. Rinse off with warm water. Repeat the process 2 times a day until the swelling and redness has disappeared completely.

If you suffer from acne and pimples, there are many different ways to use baking soda to treat your skin condition and you can read more about it in my article about baking soda for acne and pimples.

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Tea Tree Oil

You can use tea tree oil to speed up the healing process of facial bumps and reduce the inflammation caused by an ingrown hair. Unlike other essential oils, a little amount of tea tree essential oil can be used as a spot treatment on a small area of skin. If however you have a sensitive skin, mix it with a carrier oil.

Many studies have confirmed the fact that tea tree oil contains power anti-inflammatory properties which reduce itchiness, redness, and swelling caused by ingrown hairs and other skin conditions. It is also antibacterial, so it helps to treat skin infections and prevent bacteria from spreading.6

All you have to do is put a few drops of tea tree essential oil onto the end of a cotton swab and apply directly to the ingrown hair. The tea tree oil will reduce redness around the ingrown hair and it may also help to open up the pores to loosen the ingrown hair. Apply the tea tree oil remedy twice daily until the inflammation has reduced.

You could also add 3 drops of tea tree oil to 1 tbsp. olive oil and massage into a swollen razor bump to ease the discomfort that it is causing. Leave the olive oil and tea tree oil mixture on for 10-15 minutes before rinsing with warm water. Repeat 2 times a day until the redness and swelling has gone completely.

Black Tea / Green Tea

Tea (from Camellia sinensis plant) contains tannins which are a natural astringent and can help to reduce redness caused by razor bumps. However, extracts from tea can do more than just reduce the inflammation that ingrown hairs cause. A study published in Pharmacognosy Research found that the tannin content in tea can also effectively combat certain types of bacteria and has an antioxidant effect.7

You can use black tea or green tea bags to get rid of ingrown hairs and soothe the discomfort they cause. It is very easy to make a tea bag compress. Just cover one tea bag with some warm water to extract the tannins. Gently press the tea bag onto the ingrown hair for a few minutes. If you do this a few times every day, you should find that the razor bump and redness go away quickly.

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If the bump is very red and inflamed and is causing you discomfort, you could put the moistened tea bag in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to have a cooling effect on the inflamed skin.

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is an amazing natural home remedy to heal many skin complaints, including providing instant relief from the inflammation and itch caused by an ingrown hair.

According to research into the properties of aloe vera, it can help to reduce excessive inflammation on the skin, soothe redness and swelling, and moisturize the skin to provide a protective barrier from impurities. It also actively heals damaged skin and boosts the skin’s production of collagen.8

To use aloe vera as a home remedy for ingrown hairs, apply pure aloe vera gel to the affected area. You don’t need to rinse it off as the aloe vera will be quickly absorbed into the skin. Use aloe vera gel on the skin area around the ingrown hair 2-3 times a day for a quick relief from inflammation and irritation.

Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)

Apple cider vinegar can also help to remove ingrown hairs and encourage the healing process of razor bumps. Because ACV is a natural antiseptic and helps to reduce inflammation, it can soothe irritated skin.

You should apply diluted ACV to the skin to avoid further irritation. Mix equal parts of apple cider vinegar and water and apply to the affected skin area with a cotton ball. To help the ACV penetrate the skin deeper, try holding the cotton ball on the ingrown hair for a few minutes. After 10 minutes, rinse your skin with warm water. Repeat a few times daily until the skin irritation and the bump caused by the ingrown hair has gone completely. For more information please read my article on why you should wash your face with apple cider vinegar.

You can also add some witch hazel to the apple cider vinegar to make it even more effective.

How to Prevent Ingrown Hairs

To avoid the discomfort that razor bumps cause, it is important to try and prevent hairs from growing back into the skin after shaving. The American Family Physician Journal recommends the following shaving techniques to prevent ingrown hairs from occurring:

  • Always shave in the direction of hair growth
  • Don’t try to get a very close shave
  • When shaving, don’t pull the skin tight
  • Soften the skin and hairs before shaving

Using a sharp razor is essential to stop hairs growing back into the skin and it is also one of the best ways to prevent razor burns on the shaved areas of your body.

Read these related articles:
1. Why You Should Wash Your Face With Apple Cider Vinegar
2. How to Use Baking Soda for Gorgeous Face and Skin
3. Ingrown Hair Vs. Herpes: Find the Differences
4. How To Get Rid Of Keratosis Pilaris: The Best Home Remedies

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