our everyday life

Ingrown Whisker Removal

by Tom Ryan, studioD

Ingrown hairs on your face aren't just irritating and noticeable -- if left in place, they can lead to infection, pus buildup and scarring. While the occasional ingrown hair isn't necessarily something you should worry about, it is still something you should remove before the site becomes irritated. The best way to deal with these hairs, which get trapped beneath the surface of your skin and grow in sideways, is to prevent them. When you see one staring back at you in the mirror, you need to do a bit of digging to get it out.

Wash your face with a mildly abrasive, oil-free exfoliant. Use your hands or a clean washcloth instead of a scrunchy or loofah, which can harbor bacteria. With warm water, gently scrub and rinse the affected area, then press it with a fresh, warm, moist washcloth for a few minutes to make the ingrown whisker softer.

Use a sharp-tipped pair of tweezers to grab any exposed part of the whisker. If need be, use the tweezers to gently scrape away any dead skin still left behind after exfoliating -- ingrown hairs get trapped beneath dead skin, which is one reason they grow in the first place.

Sterilize a needle by holding its tip in an open flame for about 30 seconds and allowing it to cool. If your tweezers are unable to pinch the whisker, or if it is still slightly buried beneath the skin, use the sterile needle to try to coax it out. If a loop of the whisker is exposed above the surface, slide the needle through it and gently pull to extract the hair. If not, gently pick at the skin with the needle's tip to expose the hair -- do this at your own discretion, though, and only if you can see that the hair is near the surface already.

Items you will need
  •  Mildly abrasive, oil-free exfoliant
  •  Clean washcloths
  •  Fine-tipped tweezers
  •  Sterile needle


  • See a professional, like a dermatologist or aesthetician, if you cannot remove it yourself. She may need to make a small incision with a scalpel or sterile needle.
  • Exfoliate your face every day, especially after shaving, to remove the dead skin cells that can trap whiskers and lead to ingrown hairs.
  • A salicylic acid treatment after every shave can help prevent ingrown hairs.
  • Give your skin time to breath by removing makeup and lotions daily.

About the Author

Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

Photo Credits

  • Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images