How to Get Rid of Ingrown Hair on Head: Natural Ways that Really Work

How to Get Rid of Ingrown Hair on Head
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Ingrown hair on your head can cause small red bumps on your scalp, sides of your head, and the upper back of your neck. Ingrown hair on your scalp form when a hair curls around and grows back into your skin. Sometimes, dead skin cells on your head can block the hair follicles and cause the growing hair to go sideways and not exit the scalp.

Very often, ingrown hair on your head cause hair follicles to become inflamed. This can leave you with one or more bumps on your head that resemble pimples. If the head bumps become infected, the scalp follicle with the ingrown hair can become sore and fill with pus.

Ingrown hair can sometimes cause folliculitis (inflamed hair follicles) or razor bumps (medical name, pseudofolliculitis barbae).

In this article, you will find out what causes ingrown hair on your head. You will also learn about the best natural ways to get rid of ingrown hair from your scalp for good.

What Causes Ingrown Hair on the Head

Shaving is generally one of the most common causes of ingrown hair. Very often, men who keep their hair short or regularly shave their head suffer from ingrown hair on their scalp.

Dr. Gary Cole on MedicineNet says that ingrown hair tend to affect men with darker skin; however, anyone can be affected by ingrown hair. Shaving the scalp or skin too closely can result in the hair growing under the surface of the skin causing pimple-like bumps on the scalp.1

Dr. Cole says that sometimes razor bumps can appear on the shaved skin area. These small red bumps on the scalp, face, neck, or other shaved areas can be aggravated by repeated shaving.

Symptoms of Ingrown Hair on the Scalp

The most visible sign of an ingrown hair on the scalp is when the infected follicle becomes red and forms into a hair bump.

Dr. Stephanie Gardner on WebMD says that when a hair grows under the skin or scalp, it will cause irritation and a raised red lump. The hair bumps can become itchy and uncomfortable and, if an infection gets into to the ingrown hair, they can grow into a painful sore that looks like a boil.2

Natural Ways to Get Rid of Ingrown Hair on the Head

Now that you know what causes ingrown hair to appear on the scalp, areas around the ears, and on the upper neck, let’s look at some of the best home remedies for preventing and treating ingrown hair.

Warm compress

A warm compress can help any kind of boil-like skin infection and it’s effective natural way to get rid of an ingrown hair that is causing irritation. The heat and moisture from the compress help to increase blood flow to the affected area and moisten the scalp.

Doctors from the Mayo Clinic recommend a warm compress home treatment for inflamed follicles. They say that the heat and moisture help to relieve discomfort caused by infected follicles and is an effective way to treat razor bumps. The compress can help to relieve red bumps that are filled with pus and are tender to touch.3

How to use:

To use a warm compress to help remove ingrown hairs from your head quickly and naturally, this is what you should do:

  1. Soak a clean washcloth in hot water. Make sure that the cloth isn’t so hot that it burns your skin.
  2. Press the warm compress on the affected skin area on your scalp.
  3. Hold on the infected ingrown hair for 10 minutes. Keep the compress warm by soaking it in hot water every so often.
  4. Use the natural remedy twice a day to help drain the infected follicle and draw the ingrown hair closer to the surface of the scalp.

When you can see the ingrown hair, you can carefully remove it with a sterile needle and tweezers by doing this:

  1. Sterilize the needle by putting through a flame and then wipe clean with an alcohol wipe.
  2. Carefully put the needle under the curled hair and lift it out.
  3. When you see the end of the hair, use the tweezers to pluck out the offending hair.
  4. Apply a little aloe vera gel to help soothe the razor bump and get rid of the redness and inflammation.

Please remember not to squeeze out the hair from the red bump or try to dig the hair out. This may cause the infection to go deeper into your scalp and may even cause scarring.

Baking soda and coconut oil

You can make a great natural remedy to remove ingrown hair by making a baking soda and virgin coconut oil exfoliating scrub. The grainy texture of baking soda is perfect to naturally remove dead skin cells that can block scalp follicles. Coconut oil helps to soften and moisturize your skin and also prevents skin infections from getting worse.

Research has shown that the combination of baking soda and coconut oil has the potential to treat skin infection. For example, a study from 1997 found that baking soda is antibacterial and can help to prevent bacterial infections.4 The journal Pharmaceutical Biology reported that coconut oil has anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce signs of infection.5

How to use:

It is very easy to make your own anti-inflammatory scrub at home to remove ingrown hair from your scalp.

  1. Mix 1 tablespoon baking soda with about 2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil to form a paste.
  2. Gently massage the coconut oil remedy to the affected skin area of your head to remove dead skin cells.
  3. Leave for a few minutes to let the antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties go to work.
  4. Rinse with warm water and pat your scalp dry.
  5. Repeat the process 1-2 times a day until the red bumps on your head around the ingrown hair have gone completely.

Olive oil and sugar scrub

Another homemade remedy for getting rid of ingrown hair on your head combines olive oil and sugar to make a natural scrub. Sugar helps to gently exfoliate dead skin cells and olive oil helps to reduce swelling and other signs of inflammation. Olive oil is actually a great oil for healthy hair.

The journal International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Medicine reports that olive oil contains compounds that help to reduce inflammation. It can be used topically on the skin to reduce swelling, itchiness, and irritation. Olive oil is also a natural moisturizer to help protect the scalp skin.6

How to use:

This natural remedy for getting rid of ingrown hair and killing off any infection in the follicles incorporates some essential oils to boost the scrub’s antibacterial power. Some of the best essential oils for their antibacterial activity are tea tree oil and lavender oil.

Here is the recipe for making your own olive oil and sugar scrub for treating troublesome ingrown hair:

  1. Mix equal amounts of olive oil and sugar in a bowl.
  2. Add a few drops of tea tree oil and lavender oil to the remedy (aim for 2-3 drops in total for every tablespoon of olive oil).
  3. Gently massage the sugar scrub into your scalp to remove dead skin cells and help ingrown hair grow through the skin.
  4. Rinse with warm water.
  5. Use the olive oil and sugar scrub twice a week to help improve the health of your scalp and prevent ingrown hair from causing discomfort.

You can also use sea salt instead of sugar in this healing remedy. For more information, please read my article on the benefits of a sea salt body scrub.

Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil is great for the health of your scalp. You can use tea tree oil to get rid of the symptoms of razor bumps and infected ingrown hair on your scalp. Tea tree oil has been used for centuries for its antibacterial and antifungal properties. Tea tree oil can be also used on the skin as a spot treatment and will help to get rid of the symptoms of an ingrown hair bump on your head.

The journal Clinical Microbiology Reviews reported that the anti-inflammatory properties of tea tree oil help reduce symptoms associated with infected follicles. For example, tea tree oil soothes itchiness, reduces swelling and redness, and helps infections heal quicker.

How to use:

To use tea tree oil to get rid of hair bumps on your head, you can use it directly on the sore bump or you can mix it with a carrier oil (such as jojoba oil or coconut oil) to soften the skin and draw out the hair. This is how to use tea tree oil for an ingrown head hair:

  1. Put a few drops of tea tree oil on the end of a cotton swab.
  2. Apply directly to the ingrown hair on your head to reduce redness and itching.

Alternatively, you can use tea tree oil in this way for an ingrown hair on your scalp:

  1. Mix 3 drops of tea tree oil in a tablespoon of olive oil
  2. Massage the tea tree oil remedy to the scalp where you have a swollen hair bump.
  3. Leave for 10 minutes to help soothe the scalp discomfort and open up the pores to loosen the hair.
  4. Apply 2 times a day until signs of the ingrown hair bumps have gone completely.

Aloe vera

Aloe vera is a great natural remedy for getting rid of itchiness and swelling caused by ingrown hair on your scalp. In fact, aloe vera is an amazing all around remedy for any kind of skin complaint.

A review into the medicinal and therapeutic properties of aloe vera have shown that it can really help reduce skin inflammation. For example, the components of aloe vera are antibacterial and anti-inflammatory and they have pain-relieving properties. In fact, the antiseptic effect of aloe vera on the scalp means that it can also help get rid of dandruff naturally.8

How to use:

It is very easy to use aloe vera in treating inflamed bumps on your head caused by ingrown hair. All you need is high-quality pure aloe vera gel. You can apply the gel this way to your scalp:

  1. Put a small amount of aloe vera gel on your fingertips.
  2. Gently massage aloe vera onto the red bumps on your head to help soothe the discomfort and inflammation caused by ingrown hair.
  3. Leave to dry.
  4. Apply aloe vera to the ingrown hair 2-3 times a day for best result and to help get rid of the ingrown hair symptoms such as inflammation, redness, itchiness and pain.

Black tea bags or green tea bags

A great way to use your old tea bags is to turn them into a warm compress to get rid of ingrown head hairs. The warm black tea bags work in a similar way to the warm compress method, however, the tannins in black tea also help to speed up the healing process. Tannins are a natural astringent that have antiseptic properties and help reduce skin inflammation.

The journal Pharmacognosy Research published studies on the antibacterial and antioxidant effect of black tea. The research found that compounds in black and green teas are effective enough to kill off various strains of bacteria.9

How to use:

To help loosen ingrown hair and get rid of head hair bumps and the discomfort they cause, this is what you should do:

  1. Dip a black tea bag in a cup of warm water to release the tannins and squeeze out excess water.
  2. Gently press the warm tea bag on the infected bump on your scalp for a few minutes.
  3. To keep the tea bag warm, you can dip the tea bag into the warm water again and reapply to the ingrown hair.
  4. Apply the tea bags to the ingrown hair bump 2-3 times a day to help draw out the hair and get rid of any skin infection.

Green tea bags are just as effective in helping to get rid of razor bumps caused by ingrown hair.

Apple cider vinegar

Raw unprocessed apple cider vinegar (ACV) can be used to treat many skin irritations and treating ingrown hair bumps on your scalp is just one great use. Apple cider vinegar is a natural antiseptic thanks to the acetic acid in it. This helps to reduce the pH level of the itchy and inflamed skin, soothes irritation and relieves itchy scalp. You can also use apple cider vinegar as a natural hair rinse.

The journal Burns reported that applying acetic acid to the damaged and infected skin is a great natural way to help skin heal better. Research has shown that acetic acid is effective against a number of bacteria strains and can help to accelerate the healing process.10

How to use:

The best way to use apple cider vinegar to treat infected ingrown hair follicles on your scalp is to add some witch hazel. This home remedy will help to quickly treat any pimple-like bumps on your head that are caused by ingrown hair. This is how to use the ACV home remedy:

  1. Mix equal amounts of witch hazel and raw apple cider vinegar.
  2. Using a cotton ball dipped in the ACV solution, dab the apple cider vinegar remedy to the affected skin of your scalp.
  3. Hold the cotton ball on the hair bump for about 10 minutes.
  4. Rinse with warm water.
  5. Repeat 2-3 times a day to reduce the discomfort and inflammation of the ingrown hair bump.

Remember to do a test patch on your scalp and if the remedy stings too much, add more water.

How to Prevent Ingrown Hair on Scalp

If you regularly shave your head or you are troubled by ingrown hair on your scalp, then it’s important to try to prevent ingrown hair. Dr. Gary Cole on MedicineNet recommends the following ways to prevent ingrown hair on your head becoming a problem:11

  • Moisturize your scalp to soften your skin before and after removing hair.
  • Always shave in the direction of the hair growth.
  • Don’t try to get a very close shave.
  • Exfoliate your scalp regularly and especially if you have redness and irritation caused by ingrown hair on your head.

Read these related articles:

Article Sources

  1. MedicineNet. Ingrown hairs.
  2. WebMD. Ingrown hair.
  3. MayoClinic. Folliculitis.
  4. Compend Contin Educ Dent Suppl. 1997;18(21):S17-21;quiz S46.
  5. Pharm Biol. 2010 Feb;48(2):151-7.
  6. Int J Clin Exp Med. 2015; 8(7): 11000–11006.
  7. Clin Microbiol Rev. 2006 Jan; 19(1): 50–62.
  8. Indian J Dermatol. 2008; 53(4): 163–166.
  9. Pharmacognosy Res. 2011 Oct-Dec; 3(4): 266–272.
  10. Burns. 2009 Aug;35(5):695-700.
  11. MedicineNet. Ingrown hair.
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