There are two types of people in this world: people who consistently struggle with how to get rid of ingrown hairs fast– and those who don’t.
If you’re someone who does not suffer from ingrown hairs – consider yourself very, very lucky (and it might be a good idea to say a small thank-you prayer to the skin gods). Unfortunately, I fall on the former end of the spectrum, and let me tell you, ingrown hairs are a nightmare if you don’t have a combat strategy in place.
What’s interesting is that everyone’s experience with ingrown hair tends to differ; for some, they appear on the arms, face, or pubic area – as for me, it’s the legs. I swear, it’s like they have a mind of their own.
Okay, so how do you get rid of ingrown hairs fast?
We’ll get to that in a minute, but first, let’s start with the basics:
What Is An Ingrown Hair?
An ingrown hair is an awkward hair.
Instead of growing outward, as most hairs do, it’s blocked from reaching above the surface, having no choice but to grow back into the skin- it’s gross, I know. Typically, if you use hair removal methods like if you frequently shave your legs, you’re much more prone to ingrown hairs.
The severity varies, though.
More extreme cases can become infected with pus, but often you may notice small red bumps on your skin, similar to pimples. They can be irritating, to say the least, but its best to resist the urge and avoid picking at them to prevent future scarring or worsening the condition.
What Causes Ingrown Hairs to Form?
Your hair type plays a prominent role here.
Curls, beware. I love my curly hair, but it does not help in any shape or form to prevent the formation of ingrown hairs. In fact, it just makes me more susceptible. You see, coiled hair has a curved hair follicle, which means it can bend in any direction, including towards the skin – now it all makes sense!
Do you tend to notice ingrown hairs after you shave or wax? Well, this is no surprise. Removal methods can also impact the creation of ingrown hairs. It all depends on what angle the hair grows back in.
Moral of the story: if your hair does not grow back in a straight outward direction, then it’s time to look at treatment options.
What Are My Treatment Options?
Exfoliation helps shed dead skin cells and therefore, can support the health of your skin. If there is an accumulation of dead skin cells, chances are, the hair is blocked from reaching the surface, making it the perfect opportunity for an ingrown hair to form.
This is where an exfoliator, like a retinoid-based cream, can help. It promotes cell turnover, helping to eliminate dead skin and unblock the hair so it can extend up and out. Plus, it doubles up as a dark spot treatment – this is a win, especially if you have scarring that needs a little extra TLC.
But this isn’t your only option.
Other exfoliators exist, which can work just as effectively as a retinoid. Products containing salicylic acid or alpha-hydroxy acids are great options to consider as well.
2. A Topical Steroid
Steroid creams work best to manage pain and swelling associated with ingrown hairs. If you notice inflammation surrounding the ingrown hair area, a topical steroid may be your best bet at alleviating this symptom.
For more severe conditions, a topical antibiotic treatment can help reduce existing inflammation and infection and prevent future infections from occurring.
Before you get started with any of these treatment options, it’s best to speak with your doctor about your skin’s current state so that they can decide on the most suitable plan for you.
Products We Love
Tend Skin Solution
One of the most recommended products to treat and manage ingrown hairs, Tend Skin Solution, is widely praised for its effectiveness. This easy-to-use solution contains salicylic acid, which, as we already know, is a powerful exfoliator that will help unblock the hair from the skin’s surface.
I will say, proceed with Tend Skin cautiously as it’s highly potent and can cause stinging – mainly if you use it after you shave or wax. It’s best to do a small patch test on your skin to see if the solution is tolerable and then proceed from there. And don’t forget to follow up with a moisturizer or body oil to prevent your skin from drying out.
Fur Ingrown Concentrate
A personal favorite at Preim HQ, Fur Ingrown Concentrate has catapulted its way to the top of our must-have list, addressing our stubborn skin concerns in the most natural way possible – it’s pretty amazing.
Ingrown Concentrate is tailored to soothe irritated skin, treat razor burns, and encourage the healing process for ingrown hairs. A unique blend of ingredients works together to safely and effectively return hairs to their normal state – keeping your skin in optimal condition.
Let’s take a closer look at the ingredients because there are a few all-stars worth mentioning:
Coconut oil: nourishes the skin, boosting hydration, and contains anti-microbial properties that help prevent infections from occurring.
Tea tree oil: contains both anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. Which means it helps to reduce redness and swelling caused by ingrown hairs.
Chamomile extract: helps to soothe irritated skin, but did you know it also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent? That’s right, chamomile supports the fight against breakouts and helps reduce inflamed areas on the skin caused by ingrown hairs.
Honestly, if I had to pick one product to address ingrown hairs- it’d be this. It’s safe, contains clean ingredients, it’s not tested on animals, and it’s held in the sleekest bottle imaginable. Usually, my ingrown hair products are stashed away in the back of my bathroom cupboard – but not this one. It’s shining bright, front and center on my countertop.
The Cool Fix
Another outstanding product, The Cool Fix by Shaveworks, focuses all its efforts on tackling ingrown hairs, razor bumps, and reducing redness. It’s essentially a one-stop-shop for all your post-shaving concerns. But what I love most about this soothing, cool gel is the formula; a blend of mighty exfoliating agents work to unleash trapped hairs hiding beneath the skin’s surface while reducing the likelihood of future breakouts. And, it’s safe to use on your legs, arms, and bikini region – all the main areas where hair removal occurs.
Key ingredients include:
Glycolic acid: a powerful AHA that exfoliates the skin and increases cell turnover.
Salicylic acid: mainly used to clear pores and kill bacteria.
Phytic acid: an antioxidant that works to peel away dead skin from the surface, allowing trapped hairs to come through.
Tips on How to Prevent Ingrown Hairs After Shaving:
Finally, we complete our ingrown hair guide with some smart strategies to implement right away in your skincare routine. I swear by these tips and have seen a significant reduction in the number of ingrown hairs on my skin, that is, when coupled with a skin-fixing product.
And this, my friends, is the secret for how to get rid of ingrown hairs fast: combine both a product and these tips for best results. It is the most comprehensive strategy you can put in place that will finally leave you with smooth, clear skin. Failing to abide by these tips might not give you the results you’re after, not to mention could counteract the effectiveness of any product you use.
1. Avoid Hot Showers After Hair Removal.
Avoid taking a hot shower or bath the same day you use a hair removal method. Why? The heat encourages the opening of your pores, making you more susceptible to ingrown hairs. Plus, hot water can actually exacerbate irritation.
2. Reduce the Number of Times You Shave/Wax Per Week.
Ingrown hairs can be relentless, which is why reducing your hair removal frequency can lead to an overall reduction in the appearance of ingrown hairs.
3. Follow Best Practices When Shaving.
These grooming methods all have the same end goal: to reduce the likelihood of hair curling up and penetrating back into the skin. Follow religiously.
- Avoid pulling or tugging at the skin when shaving.
- Don’t shave on dry skin.
- Change your blades once they’re dull.
- Shave in the same direction as the hair.
4. Consider More Permanent Hair Removal Options.
That’s right- if you’re just as fed up as I am with having to deal with ingrown hairs, the ultimate solution that can take you out of your misery and eliminate your post-shaving woes is electrolysis.
Think about it: the sole reason ingrown hairs show up in the first place is that you have hair on your body you want to remove. If there’s no hair, there’s no need for any removal methods. No hair removal methods mean no ingrown hairs! It’s pretty straightforward.
Electrolysis is definitely on the pricier side but is a worthwhile investment in your skin’s health. The next-best option has to be laser hair removal. While not as much of a permanent solution compared to electrolysis, laser hair removal can significantly reduce hair growth, which means less reliance on waxing or shaving. Thus, making it far more difficult for ingrown hairs to form.
The content provided in this article is for general information purposes only and not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice nor used as a medical diagnosis or treatment protocol. PREIM BEAUTY INC. (“PREIM”) is not involved in the provision or rendering of medical advice or services. As health and wellness research continues to advance, we do not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or timeliness of any information presented on PREIM. You understand and agree that PREIM will not be held liable for any claim, loss, or damage connected with the use of our website and its contents.