Did you notice a strange outgrowth over your skin that is painful, red and inflamed? They are not exactly pimples, neither hives. They are ingrown hair. Ingrown hair is a result of frequent waxing, shaving and using various methods to remove hair on the regular basis. They can even be a consequence of dead skin that clogs up hair follicles and forces the hair inside it to grow sideways. These are also known as razor bumps and are characterized by raised, pimple-like red bump and curled hair, which grows back into the skin instead of rising out from it. It can cause pain, swelling and irritation on the skin. Usually, these are most common in people with curly hair. Ingrown hair appears most frequently in legs, beard area, bikini area and legs. These will go away with time, but there are various homemade treatments that will relieve you of the uneasy feeling quickly. Find out some of the home remedies to get rid of ingrown hair fast.
Home Remedies for Ingrown Hair
1. Baking Soda
Due to its anti-inflammatory properties and soothing effects, baking soda is a good option to prevent ingrown hair. It helps reduce itching and redness and acts as a natural exfoliator. Make a concentrated solution of baking soda and water and apply it over the affected area with the help of a cotton ball. Leave it for 5-10 minutes and then wash it off with lukewarm water. Repeat this daily for at least a week to get the desired results.
Alternatively, you can also make a homemade scrub of ground oatmeal, baking soda, and water.
Mix equal quantity of ground oatmeal, yogurt, and honey. Apply it over the affected area. Leave it for ½ an hour and then wash it off with cold water. This method checks the growth of ingrown hair.
Sugar acts as a natural exfoliator (3) that helps remove the dead skin cells and brings out the ingrown hair. Mix some white sugar, extra virgin olive oil or jojoba oil and ten drops of tea tree oil and lavender oil. Apply this scrub on the affected area and gently rub in a circular motion for a few minutes. Leave it for 5 minutes. Then wash off with lukewarm water. Apply this remedy once daily.
Note: This scrub can be kept in an airtight container in a refrigerator for further use.
In addition to moisturizing the skin, honey also acts as a good antiseptic and reduces swelling and inflammation (4). Apply a layer of honey directly to the affected area and leave it for 10 minutes. Rinse it off with cold water afterward. Repeat this remedy 2-3 times a day.
Note: Raw unprocessed honey is more effective than the processed one.
Mix some cornstarch with water and apply the resultant paste to the affected area. It has the same properties as baking soda; thus, helps reduce pain, inflammation and swelling due to ingrown hair.
Aspirin is another important home remedy to treat inflammation and redness caused as a result of ingrown hair. The salicylic acid present in aspirin loosens the ingrown hair (5). For this, dissolve two aspirin in some water to make a fine paste. Add some honey to the mixture and apply it to the affected area. Leave it for 10 minutes and then wash it off with warm water. This remedy must be followed once or twice a week till the symptoms of infection go away.
Note: Do a skin test before application of this remedy, as it may not be suitable for people with highly sensitive skin (6).
Cucumber contains a lot of water which helps deal with pain, skin inflammation, irritation, redness and swelling (7). Refrigerate the cucumber for half an hour and cut it into slices. Put these slices into the affected area. This remedy is very simple and must be done every day till the symptoms of ingrown hair subside.
Alternatively, make cucumber puree and add some milk into it. Refrigerate this mixture and apply it to the affected area with the help of cotton swab. Let it stay for 15 minutes. Finally, wash off with lukewarm water.
8. Sea salt
From exfoliating the skin to increasing the blood circulation to reduce swelling and speeding up the healing process, sea salt does it all (8). All you are required to do is make a paste of sea salt and water and apply it with the help of cotton ball in the affected area. Leave it for 10-15 minutes and then wash it off with water. It must be done twice daily until the ingrown hair gets cured.
Alternatively, mix some Epsom salt in bathing water and soak yourself in it. It will help loosen the ingrown hair and bring them to the surface.
Note: Do not use this remedy if your skin is sensitive to salt.
9. Lemon Juice
Apply some lemon juice on the ingrown hair and leave it till it dries off. Wash off with lukewarm water afterward.
Note: Take care not to use this remedy, if you have sensitive skin. Lemon juice can cause skin reactions in some people (9).
10. Potato Peel
Peel a potato and use the fleshy inner side to cover up the affected area. Secure the peel with a band-aid, if required. Leave it for 24 hours. It is very effective in bringing out the hair on the surface.
11. Black Tea Bags
Alternatively, steep a tea bag in a cup of water for 5 minutes. Strain the mixture and add coconut water to it. Soak a cotton ball in this mixture and apply it over the affected area. Do it for at least a week to alleviate the irritated skin.
12. Apple Cider Vinegar
Dunk a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar and apply it directly to the affected area. People with sensitive skin must dilute the ACV with some water before application.
13. Warm Compress
Soak a towel in the hot water. Squeeze it. Put it on the affected area. Repeat it several times a day, until you find the tip of the hair coming out of the skin.
14. Use Tweezers
Sterilize your tweezer before use. After application of warm compress when the hair is close to the skin, gently pull it above. Do not pluck the hair as this might be painful.
Note – You can even make use of sterilized needle to pull out the loop of hair above the skin.
Crush a few strawberries and mix some sour cream in it. Apply it over the affected area and leave it for 20 minutes. Wash it off with cold water afterward.
16. Milk and Bread
Milk and bread also treat the ingrown hair by loosening and bringing it to the surface. Soak a piece of bread in warm milk. Apply it on the affected area, or use a band-aid to make it stick there for a while. Repeat this 2-3 times till you find a loop of the hair coming out of the skin. Gently pull it out with a sterilized needle (15).
Make a paste of coffee and lukewarm water. Employ it to the affected area in circular motion. Leave it for 10-15 minutes and then wash it off with lukewarm water.
18. Egg Shell Membrane
The egg is a natural, highly effective home remedy to remove ingrown hair. Remove the egg shell membrane and apply it on the ingrown hair. Leave it there for a while. Pull off the membrane, when it shrinks and dries. The tip of the curled hair will come out along with it.
Mix 1 tbsp of yogurt and 1½ tbsp of honey. Apply the mixture. Leave it for 15 minutes and then wash off with cold water. This remedy must be repeated at least 3-4 times daily to fight the problem of ingrown hair.
20. Castor Oil
Apply some castor oil on the affected area, with the help of a cotton ball. Leave it for 15-20 minutes. Then take a wet wash cloth. Wring out the excess water. Wipe the area with it. Repeating this remedy 2-3 times a day will help you get rid of ingrown hair fast.
Garlic is an easily available ingredient and is helpful in getting rid of ingrown hair. Apply the paste of crushed garlic over the affected area and secure it with the help of a bandage. Leave it for 30-45 minutes and then wash off with mild soap and water. Repeat this twice a day.
Herbal Remedies for Ingrown Hair
22. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil has antiseptic, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that help remove an ingrown hair and also prevent infection.
Apply some tea tree oil with the help of cotton ball. Regular application of this oil will facilitate the hair to come out from beneath the skin and will prevent further growth of ingrown hair.
- Alternatively, dilute tea tree oil with some water and apply it directly to the affected area after cleaning it properly.
- In addition to this, mix 1 tbsp of olive oil and 3 tbsp of tea tree oil and gently massage the affected area with this mixture. Leave it for 10-15 minutes and then wash off the affected area with lukewarm water. Repeat this remedy 3-4 times a day for few days.
- Or else, mix 3 tbsp of coconut oil, seven drops of lavender oil, 12 drops of tea tree oil and rub a small quantity after hair removal. It is a very effective remedy to treat ingrown hair.
- Mix 5-7 drops of tea tree oil with 1 tbsp of olive oil and apply over the affected area. Keep it for 15 minutes. Then wash it off with cold water.
23. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is a very effective herbal remedy to prevent ingrown hair. It soothes the affected area and provides instant relief from itching, redness, and inflammation. It also keeps the skin moisturized and fastens up the healing process. Unlike, the after shave astringents, it doesn’t contain alcohol and thus prevents burning sensation too (16). Apply aloe vera gel over the affected area. Leave it for half an hour and then wash it off with lukewarm water. Repeat this process twice daily for at least a week.
Aloe vera leaves are also used as passive ingredient in tropical creams, which are meant to reduce ingrown hair and razor bumps (17).
24. Witch Hazel
Witch hazel is also a very effective ingrown hair treatment. Dip a cotton ball in the witch hazel extract and apply it over the affected area. Its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties will effectively deal with the problem.
Researches have proven time and again that witch hazel can work as natural astringent, as it has anti-inflammatory properties, which work well with skin inflammation and other dermatological infections(18, 19).
- Moisturize your skin before using any of the home remedies for ingrown hair.
- Lift the ingrown hair out with a sterilized straight pin or a pair of tweezers.
- Exfoliate the skin before shaving.
- Ingrown hair must only be removed only when you find the tip of the hair above the skin.
- Apply some antiseptic ointment over the skin after removing the ingrown hair.
- Regularly use the skin cleanser. Exfoliate and scrub to avoid the accumulation of dirt particles.
- Always make use of razor with a single blade.
- Wash the area surrounding the ingrown hair frequently with mild soap and lukewarm water.
- Women must prefer waxing instead of shaving.
- Do not apply too much pressure while shaving and do not allow the skin to stretch too much.
- Avoid shaving the skin for up to 4 weeks after removal of ingrown hair.
- Women should not make use of hair removing creams for up to 2 weeks, to avoid the risk of irritation.
- Do not wear tight clothes on the areas with ingrown hair.
- Don’t use old razors and blades for shaving purpose.