Ingrown hairs, just as the name suggests, are hairs that tend to grow back into the skin as opposed to growing outwards. Since this is not the natural progression following skin growth, you are bound to encounter problems when this hair grows inwardly.
The most common times for the occurrence of these hairs is right after waxing, tweezing or shaving. Ingrown hairs are very uncomfortable, and will always cause redness and itchiness on the affected skin. Note that ingrown hairs can develop virtually anywhere on the skin provided hair grows there. This means that you can get ingrown hair in the armpits, or the groin or the face even on the legs. More importantly, however, is the fact that people with curly hair are predisposed to the development of ingrown hairs as the hair naturally tends to curl inwards.
For this reason, one of the easiest ways to avoid ingrown hairs is to avoid shaving or tweezing, but since this is not always feasible, there are a handful of home remedies that you can use to treat ingrown hairs and reduce the discomfort that arises from the same.
While ingrown hairs will often resolve on their own, these home remedies speed up the process as well as help treat any infections present.Use any of these remedies to get the relief from this seemingly simple yet agonizing condition.
1. Sugar Scrub:
Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: Quarter cup of your preferred oil (olive or jojoba), equivalent amount of sugar, and warm water for rinsing.
Sugar scrub is an integral natural remedy in the home treatment of ingrown hair, largely due to its effective exfoliation characteristics. When prepared as a paste and rubbed against the skin, the sugar crystals act as a gentle abrasive and help lift dead cells from the top layer of the skin. This, in turn, creates room for the ingrown hair to emerge from beneath the skin.
Since sugar does not show any allergic reactions for most people, it is perfect for those with sensitive skin. The addition of the oil is done to create a base for the sugar. Jojoba and olive oil are preferred for their immense benefits when applied topically on the skin. Both oils are rich in Vitamin E which helps nourish the skin and maintain its glow. Regular use of this remedy post-shaving gradually reduces the likelihood of the ingrown hairs.
- Add the sugar to the oil and mix evenly so that you have a granular paste. The amount of sugar and oil will usually vary depending on the area where the remedy is to be used. Ideally, you are supposed to use the ratio of 1:2 for the sugar: oil.
- Scoop some of the paste and use your hands to apply on the affected skin in gentle cyclic motions.
- Do this until the sugar dissolves on the skin.
- Rinse the paste off the skin using warm water and follow this through with the application of an appropriate skin moisturizer.
- Repeat this procedure twice daily until the ingrown hairs emerge from beneath the skin.
2. Baking Soda:
Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: Half cup of warm water, quarter cup of baking soda, cotton wool, warm water to rinse, and oatmeal (optional).
Baking soda is a timeless home remedy for the treatment of different conditions on the skin. In dealing with ingrown hair, baking soda is a preferred remedy because it not only soothes the irritated skin, it also has anti-inflammatory properties which come in handy in the reduction of the redness that results from ingrown hairs.
The paste that is prepared from baking soda also aids in exfoliation, effectively getting rid of dead cells on the skin and thus allowing the root to emerge from below the skin surface. The application of this remedy also has the benefits of normalizing pH on the skin, which is very important if the ingrown hairs occur on the face. Oatmeal can be incorporated into this home remedy because it effectively sponges out dead cells on the skin with the same effect as baking soda. Combining the two ingredients delivers better results.
- Create a paste by mixing the baking soda with the water until you get the desired consistency.
- Dip a piece of the cotton wool into the paste-like substance and scoop some of it.
- Dab this paste onto the affected skin so that the paste comes into contact with the part of the skin where the ingrown hair is buried.
- Let the paste sit on the skin for about 10 minutes.
- Rinse the paste using warm water. Repeat this procedure until the ingrown hairs are no more.
- There’s an alternative method to the preparation of this home remedy, and this involves the use of oatmeal. Simply mix equal portions of the oatmeal and baking soda before adding water to create a paste. Repeat process 3- 5 as outlined above.
3. Salt Paste/Solution:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: Two teaspoons of salt, half cup of warm water, and cotton wool.
Salt paste is used in pretty much the same way as sugar paste, but acts slightly different. This is attributed to the fact that in addition to exfoliating the skin and eliminating dead cells, the salt also enhances healing of the irritated skin. Other benefits of using salt paste for ingrown hairs includes enhancing blood circulation and reducing inflammation. If you’d like, salt can be replaced with Epsom salts which work in more or less the same way. There are different methods of using this salt paste depending on the part of the skin that has been affected. These methods are discussed below.
For Facial Ingrown Hair:
- Dissolve two teaspoons of salt in the warm water and stir to dissolve the salt.
- Take a ball of cotton wool and dissolve it in the salt solution before rubbing in gently on the part of the face that has the ingrown hairs.
- Let the solution dry on the skin. Should you notice any adverse reactions it is advisable to stop natural treatment immediately and consult a dermatologist.
For Groin Ingrown Hair:
- Apply the warm water to the affected skin to soften it.
- Take some of the salt and apply it directly on the area in gentle but firm motions.
- Let the salt remain on the skin for about 10 minutes before rinsing and patting dry.
- Repeat this procedure twice daily or until the ingrown hairs are healed.
4. Fresh Potato Peels:
Time Required: Works best overnight.
What You Need: Medium sized potato (or two if the area affected by ingrown hairs is extensive), band aid, and a knife.
Potato peels are an excellent remedy used in dealing with ingrown hairs. Potatoes are a rich source of starch which is effective in drawing out the hair from the dermal layer of the skin and onto the surface. The starch also plays a protective role as it helps protect the skin from damage after shaving. Other advantages of using fresh potato peels include soothing the affected skin and improving the process of skin cell regeneration.
- Wash the raw potato and peel it.
- Using the fleshy side, rub the raw peels on the affected area.
- For quick relief, use band aid to hold the peel in place overnight.
- Remove the peel from the skin and clean as usual.
- Repeat this procedure daily until you notice an improvement in the condition of your skin.
5. Raw Organic Honey:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: Two tablespoons of raw organic honey and warm water to rinse.
Raw organic honey has a myriad of benefits when used on the skin, and one of these benefits is the treatment of ingrown hairs. Honey’s antibacterial properties means that when applied for the treatment of ingrown hairs, it helps prevent the development of an infection on the skin’s pores. Honey also soothes the affected skin, while reducing the inflammation associated with the appearance of ingrown hairs. Remember to use raw unprocessed honey as this has the most benefits for your skin.
- Scoop some of the honey and rub it on the palms of your hands to make it easy to, massage on the affected skin.
- Slather a generous amount of the honey on the area, making sure to apply an even layer.
- Let the honey sit on the skin for about 15 minutes before rinsing with warm water and patting dry.
- Repeat this procedure daily until you notice the ingrown hair has emerged from beneath the skin.
6. Aloe Vera Gel:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: Freshly cut Aloe Vera leaf.
Aloe vera is one of the most popular remedies when it comes to treating different conditions on the skin. This is attributed to its anti-inflammatory properties that reduce swelling around the ingrown hair while soothing the affected skin. The gel obtained from the leaves of the aloe plant is particularly helpful for ingrown hairs that show the presence of an infection. When the gel is applied topically, it speeds up the healing process and prevents the spread of the infection on the skin. Aloe gel also has the advantage of ensuring that the skin remains hydrated.
- Collect the gel from the freshly cut leaves and massage some of the gel on the affected skin.
- Let the gel sit on the skin for about 15 minutes to allow it to air dry.
- Rinse the skin with warm water and apply an appropriate moisturizer.
- Repeat this procedure thrice daily or as many times as is convenient or until the affected skin is healed.
7. Garlic Cloves:
Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: 2 Cloves of fresh garlic, a pestle and mortar, emptied tea bag, and some tape.
Garlic is best known for its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, thanks to the presence of sulfur compounds known as allicin. Since these compounds are only released when the cloves are crushed, this remedy requires you to make a paste-like substance to apply on the affected skin. This remedy works best for ingrown hairs that exhibit infection.
- Crush the garlic using a pestle and mortar to get minced garlic.
- Apply the minced garlic on the affected skin. The emptied tea bag comes in handy because you can use it to stock the minced garlic before placing the ‘garlic bag’ on the skin.
- Let the bag containing the minced garlic remain on the affected skin. You could keep the bag in place by securing it with adhesive tape. This prevents the action of the garlic on the parts of the skin that are unaffected.
- Get rid of the garlic bag after about 20 minutes.
- Repeat this procedure until the ingrown hairs heal.
8. Milk and Bread:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: Half cup of warm milk and a slice of bread.
Milk and bread may sound a little odd in the treatment of ingrown hairs, but it is an age-old remedy that actually works to help you ease the discomfort. The soaked slice of bread acts as a compress that helps lift the hair from underneath the skin. The use of warm milk not only improves the circulation of blood in the affected skin, it also nourishes the skin by providing the necessary nutrients required for the regeneration of skin cells.
- Dip a slice of bread in the warm milk, and allow it to soak just enough so that you can transfer the bread to the affected skin.
- Let the soaked slice stay on the skin for about 15 minutes.
- When the slice cools down, discard it and repeat the procedure until you notice the ingrown hairs have healed.
Other natural remedies used for the treatment of ingrown hairs include castor oil which helps unclog blocked pores, tea tree oil which prevents infections at the point of the ingrown hairs and black tea bags whose high concentration of tannins help reduce inflammation while soothing the affected area. While these remedies work over a period of time, they must be accompanied by proper skin care routines. If need be, change your shaving techniques to reduce the occurrence of these ingrown hairs.