Ingrown hairs may be painful, prone to infection and definitely unsightly. They are common in men around the face and neck and women on the legs, face and groin area. People don't have to rush to the doctor to treat an ingrown hair, unless it's badly infected. Some simple home remedies will bring soothing relief.
Ingrown hairs are caused when a hair is either blocked from growing out of a follicle or curls around and grows back down into the follicle. The former is often caused by shaving too closely, which can scratch the top of the follicle and cause it to be blocked. The latter happens frequently to people with thick, curly hair that tends to curl and stay close to the skin.
A soothing concoction for ingrown hair can be created with simple ingredients. Mix the juice of half a lemon with 1 cup sugar, 1 ½ teaspoon cornstarch and ¼ cup honey. Microwave until warm, allow to cool, then add 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar. Dab a bit of cornstarch around the affected area and apply the mixture with a flat utensil. Rinse well with warm water after 20 minutes. Use this remedy sparingly. One application should do the job.
Salt or Sugar Scrub
Salt or sugar each make for a great exfoliating scrub that can loosen ingrown hairs. Do not use both together, but pick one or the other and pour it in a small container. Dampen the area around the ingrown hair and gently rub the salt or sugar in a circular motion. Do not dig too deep, but apply enough pressure that the grains exfoliate the skin. Rinse well with warm water and pat dry.
Aspirin contains salicylic acid, another great exfoliator for the skin. Crush up three to four uncoated tablets in a bowl, mixing it with 1 teaspoon and ½ teaspoon of either water or Jojoba oil. Use the water for oily skin, the vegetable-based Jojoba oil for skin that tends to be dry. Smear the mixture on the affected area and allow to sit for about 10 minutes before rinsing in warm water.
A container of aloe vera that is at least 99 percent pure can be bought at most drug or health stores. Dab a bit of the aloe on the ingrown hair twice a day for at least three days. This soothing medicinal salve, which also works wonders on cuts, burns and abrasions, should quell itching and inflammation.
Use an antibacterial soap, such as Panoxyl, which contains 10 percent benzoyl peroxide, because it is another proven remedy. This soap is also available at most drug or health stores and should be used to wash area surrounding the ingrown hair twice a day. This, too, will quell the inflammation and itching.
Another method for soothing and healing an ingrown hair is using a cortisone cream. Cortaid is just one of several over-the-counter products that can be applied. Most drug stores will have a supply of these hydrocortisone applications.
While an ingrown hair is still in its healing stages and may remain infected, make sure to use a new razor blade for each shaving session. The old blade can trap bacteria and re-infect the area.
The best way to deal with ingrown hairs is to prevent them from happening in the first place. Shaving instead of waxing is one way to cut down on their possibility. People can also try dampening the hair or even exfoliating before shaving, both of which will help hair rise from the surface so it does not curl under and into the skin.