We’ve all had them. Those painful little (or big) red bumps that really ruin that suave, smooth look you were going for when you shaved or waxed. But it’s more than just the look-ingrown hairs are dang painful and downright irritating.
Normally, hair develops at the follicle and grows up and out of the skin. An ingrown hair, as its name suggests, will either grow sideways into the skin, or curl back down and grow into the skin. Folliculitis, an infection of the hair follicle, will often times follow, possibly accompanied by the formation of a pustule that resembles a little pus-filled pimple. Ingrown hairs are caused by waxing or shaving, and are most common with thicker, curlier hair (hence why they are more prevalent in the pubic and facial regions-you know, the two WORST places that you could suffer those nasty bumps.)
While there is no cure as long as we deem it necessary to shave or wax, there are some home remedies for ingrown hairs and razor bumps that can bring some measure of relief and quickened healing. And if you can’t bring yourself to even look at the traitorous little hair, don’t panic-it will eventually clear up on its own, so long as you don’t scratch or pick at it.
1. Get That Sucker Out! (The right way)
It’s not spoken of much, but there is a certain sense of relief and satisfaction when you get the hair out. It’s icky-hair growing back into your skin? It’s so unnatural, and it hurts, and you just want it gone so your body can heal up and get back to normal. There is a right and wrong way to go about it though. Do it wrong, and you’ll end up with a nasty infection that sticks around forever.
The wrong way is to dig around and squeeze and try and pull it out with your fingernails. If you can’t see the hair yet, you’re going to need to coax it out. Once it’s out, use sterilized tools to remove it to prevent further irritation.
You will need…
Sugar and olive oil (or a store-bought exfoliator)
-A tweezers (preferably pointed)
-Coconut oil (optional)
Prepare by laying out your supplies. Soak the tweezers in rubbing alcohol and then rinse them off to sterilize them. First, you’ll want to exfoliate the area to clear away any dead skin cells that may be blocking the hair. You can use a mild store-bought exfoliator, or (what I prefer), is to simply mix a little olive oil (or another neutral liquid oil) with some sugar until you get a thick pasty texture. You don’t need much oil for this. Rub in a circular motion to dislodge any “debris” and then rinse it off. Next, run a clean wash cloth under hot water (as hot as you can stand without burning yourself) and rest it directly over the hair for 10 minutes. You may need to run the washcloth under water a second time to keep it hot. This helps “soften” the hair and skin. Finally, use your sterilized tweezers to firmly grasp the hair, as close to the skin as you can get without actually irritating it, and give a nice firm yank. Rinse it one more time, and if you like, apply a dab of coconut oil to ease irritation and help the skin heal up smoothly.
IF the hair is not showing, just use a hot washcloth over it for 10 minutes twice a day until it pokes through. Some folks think the warmth helps the hair pop out sooner, but mainly it is to keep it “soft” and minimize irritation until it can be removed. Resist the temptation to break the skin and dig the hair out. Also note that pointed tweezers are the best, as they allow you to accurately grab the hair without pinching your skin.