Get Rid of Ingrown Hairs
Many people between the ages of 18 and 55 suffer from ingrown hairs that are deep in the skin. In this article, you will learn how they develop, how to get rid of ingrown hairs and how to prevent more from occurring.

Ingrown hairs form when a hair grows back into the skin instead of straight out to the surface. They occur most often from shaving, but waxing or plucking hair can also be the culprits. When an ingrown hair develops, you will notice a small, raised, red bump or group of bumps called papules. If improperly treated, or left to fester, they can become infected pustules.

While most of you are probably familiar with those little, red, shaving bumps on the face, armpits, legs or pubic area, 90% of ingrown hairs actually occur on the scalp. If you have naturally curly hair, you will be even more prone to developing an ingrown hair if your hair has been cut too close to the scalp. This occurs because the sharpened end of the cut hair will bend back, pierce the skin and grow inward.

Often times it is improper shaving techniques that cause ingrown hairs to develop. Razor burn appears on the skin, which is often followed by bumps and imbedded hairs. To avoid this from happening, be sure to lather well before shaving and shave in the direction of the hair growth, not against it. Shaving against the hair growth will also cause the razor burn that leads to the bumps and imbedded hairs.

Sometimes, the cause of an ingrown hair is a clogged hair follicle, usually from an accumulation of dead skin cells. When the hair follicle is blocked, the hair is forced to grow sideways under the skin instead of straight up and out to the surface. This is why it is important to exfoliate your skin before shaving. Exfoliating will remove the dead skin cell debris that can clog the hair follicles.

Cystic acne is another cause of ingrown hairs. The bumps on the face are larger and deeper, and the inflammation creates a tough, pink skin cover. The pore is now blocked and that causes what is known as a cystic hair follicle. People who suffer from acne vulgaris are sometimes prone to cystic acne. These cysts can be quite large and should not be treated with conventional acne treatment methods.

An ingrown hair cyst can be both deep and painful. Ingrown hair cysts occur most often on the face, neck, armpit, thigh or bikini area. They can become boils or abscesses when infected. In cases where there is no infection present they can become confused with sebaceous cysts, however, a sebaceous cyst is not caused by an ingrown hair. Sebaceous cysts form as the result of a blocked sweat gland and can be rather large. Ingrown hair cysts, however, are usually smaller than sebaceous cysts.

Another point of confusion is ingrown hairs being mistaken for Herpes. It is not uncommon to develop an ingrown hair on the genitals or the bikini line, and the bumps associated with them are sometimes mistaken for Herpes. When in doubt, always make an appointment with your physician.

Before we discuss how to get rid of ingrown hairs, you must first be able to recognize the symptoms of a cyst. In addition to red, raised bumps, you can also experience itching, tender skin and even bruising at the site of the cyst. The cyst, itself, is a fluid-filled sac, which is yellow or white in appearance. If it is green in color, it is infected and requires medical treatment. They can develop from an ingrown hair on any part of the body that has hair, including the scalp. This condition is also called folliculitis.

The Symptoms of Ingrown Hairs are as follows:

  • Inflammation and Itching – This is even more likely to happen if the location of the cyst is in an area of friction, such as the armpit, the inner thigh or the bikini area. Cysts in those locations are likely to become painful.
  • Pus Discharge – This is caused by bacteria around the hair follicle. The pus is usually green or yellow. Do not attempt to pop this cyst as popping it can cause greater inflammation.
  • Red, Warm, Tender Bumps – These also indicate an infected hair follicle. The bacteria irritates the skin, and it gets warm and red.

While relatively rare, cysts that do not go away or respond to treatment can be malignant. If you have been treated for folliculitis and it doesn’t resolve or the bumps are recurrent, you should have a biopsy to rule out cancer. Please note that this is a rare occurrence, however, it is always best to err on the side of caution.

Deep and hard cysts on an ingrown hair should be examined by a physician to determine whether they are sebaceous cysts or actually hair follicle cysts.

Now that you know the causes, we can discuss how to get rid of ingrown hairs. The good news is that they often resolve on their own, and some of them you can treat yourself. Remember, however, if you are dealing with an ingrown hair embedded deeply in the skin, if it has become infected or a cyst has grown, it’s time to see a doctor.

How to get rid of ingrown hairs at home:


1. Remove ingrown hairs with Tea Tree Oil

Tea Tree Oil is a natural product that contains anti-inflammatory and antibacterial components.

Here’s how to use it:

  • Mix a few drops of Tea Tree Oil with a little bit of water.
  • Clean the affected area with the Tea Tree Oil and water mixture.
  • Leave it on for a few minutes before rinsing.
  • The antiseptic and antibacterial properties of the Tea Tree Oil will resolve any bacteria quickly.
  • Once the hair is exposed, gently pull it out with tweezers.

2. Remove ingrown hairs and remove the follicle cyst

  • Disinfect the affected area.
  • Use an exfoliating product to remove dead skin cells.
  • Prick the head of the cyst with a sterilized needle or pin.
  • Drain the fluid and dry with a cotton ball.
  • Grab the ingrown hair with a tweezers and remove it.
  • Disinfect the area again and let it air dry.

3. Remove an ingrown hair without a cyst present

  • Apply a warm compress to bring the hair to the surface of your skin.
  • If you see a loop of hair close to the skin, take a sterilized needle and gently tug the one end free.
  • Then take a tweezers and pull it out of the skin.

4. Remove ingrown hairs with an egg membrane

  • Remove the egg membrane from the inside of the egg shell.
  • Place the membrane over the affected area.
  • Let it dry until it shrinks.
  • Pull off the dried membrane and the ingrown hair should come out with it.

5. Remove ingrown hairs with a milk and bread compress

  • Dip a piece of bread in some warm milk.
  • Apply the bread to the affected area.
  • Leave bread on for about two minutes or until it feels cool.
  • Dip the bread a second time and leave on the affected area for ten minutes.
  • The pore should now be open.
  • Use a needle or tweezers to pull up the loop of hair and remove it.

So what’s next?

Now that you know how to get rid of ingrown hairs, let’s talk about how to prevent them. Here are some tips:

  • Exfoliate your skin daily. This will help remove dead skin cells that can clog your hair follicles. If you would rather not buy an exfoliating product, you can make your own with a natural remedy of olive oil and sugar. Apply a liberal amount of extra virgin olive oil to your skin. Smooth some sugar over the olive oil and gently rub for 20-30 seconds. Gently rinse with warm water until all of the oil and sugar are removed from the skin.
  • Always make sure your razor is clean before use and invest in some shaving cream that is formulated to help prevent ingrown hairs.
  • If razor burn or red bumps appear after shaving, apply a moisturizer.
  • Always use a noncomedogenic moisturizer on areas prone to ingrown hairs. Noncomedogenic means it will not clog your pores.
  • The closer you shave, the more likely hair will curl back into the skin. Try using a single blade or electric razor.
  • Don’t shave every day. The more often you shave, the faster most of your hair grows back, but not all of it, making you more prone to developing another ingrown hair.

If you find that your ingrown hair does not respond to these treatments or they recur often despite following the preventative measures listed above, schedule a visit with your primary care physician or dermatologist for more options.

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