Ingrown hairs, commonly known as razor bumps, are hairs that have curled around and grown back into the skin instead of rising up from it.
According to the University of Alabama at Birmingham Health System, ingrown hairs or razor bumps appear most frequently among people of the African American community or people who have curly hair.
An ingrown hair can produce a raised, red bump that looks like a little pimple. At times, there may be pus inside the bump. It also causes redness, swelling, inflammation, pain and irritation in the area.
The condition occurs most frequently where people shave to get rid of unwanted hair, such as the beard area, legs, underarms and bikini area.
This is not a serious issue, but definitely an irritating problem affecting many people. In most cases, ingrown hairs go away on their own as the hair eventually grows out of the skin. But some simple home remedies can speed up the healing process and diminish the inflammation and redness.
As for the hair growing back into the skin, you can simply lift it out with a sterile straight pin or a pair of tweezers; do not pick or dig at your ingrown hair though.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for ingrown hairs.
1. Sugar Scrub
Sugar is a great skin scrub that can help get rid of ingrown hair. It gently exfoliates the skin, removing dead cells and helping the ingrown hair come out of the skin. Plus, it will make your skin silky smooth.
- Mix one cup of white sugar with one-half cup of extra-virgin olive oil or jojoba oil.
- Stir in 10 drops each of tea tree oil and lavender essential oil.
- Apply a small amount of this homemade scrub on the affected area.
- Gently scrub the skin in circular motions for a few minutes. Then rinse it off with lukewarm water.
- Follow this remedy once or twice a week as needed.
You can store the remaining scrub in an airtight container for future use.
2. Baking Soda
Baking soda has a soothing effect on the skin due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Plus, it helps relieve itching by exfoliating the skin and also reduces redness caused by ingrown hairs.
- Mix one tablespoon of baking soda and one cup of water. Dip a cotton ball in the solution. Dab it on the affected skin. Leave it on for five minutes and then wash it off with cold water. Repeat two or three times daily as needed.
- You can also make a homemade scrub with one teaspoon each of baking soda and ground oatmeal and one tablespoon of water. Mix the ingredients together to create a paste. Apply it gently on the skin and leave it on for not more than five minutes. Then rinse if off with lukewarm water and gently pat the skin dry. Follow this remedy twice daily as needed.
3. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil has antibacterial, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties that help heal the skin and also prevent infection.
- Add five drops of tea tree oil to two tablespoons of distilled water. Apply the diluted tea tree oil on the affected skin after cleansing the area with antibacterial soap. Leave it on for 10 minutes and then rinse the area with lukewarm water. Do this twice daily as needed.
- Mix three drops of tea tree oil in one tablespoon of olive oil. Apply the mixture on the affected area and gently massage it for a few minutes. Leave it on for 10 minutes and then rinse with lukewarm water. Follow this remedy twice daily as needed.
Aspirin can help reduce redness and inflammation, the two most common symptoms of ingrown hair. The anti-inflammatory property of aspirin reduces swelling, fights inflammation and treats mild infection. Plus, the salicylic acid present in aspirin scrubs away dead skin to loosen the offending hair.
- Soak two aspirin tablets in one teaspoon of warm water until it forms a paste-like consistency.
- Add one teaspoon of honey to the paste.
- Apply the paste to the affected area.
- Leave it on for 10 minutes. Wash it off with warm water and then gently pat the skin dry.
- Follow this remedy once or twice a week as needed.
Note: Those with highly sensitive skin should not follow this remedy.
Salt works as a great exfoliating agent and at the same time helps increase circulation, promote healing and reduce swelling.
- Mix one and one-half teaspoons of table salt in one cup of lukewarm water.
- Dip a cotton ball in the mixture and gently rub it over the affected skin.
- Leave it on for a few minutes and then rinse it off with water.
- Do this twice daily until the ingrown hair clears up.
Note: Do not use this remedy if your skin gets red or irritated.
6. Black Tea Bags
Black tea bags can also help get rid of ingrown hairs. Black tea contains tannic acid, which reduces redness and inflammation and helps soothe the skin.
- Moisten a black tea bag in warm water. Rub it over the affected area for two to three minutes. Repeat several times daily as needed.
- Alternatively, steep a black tea bag in hot water for a few minutes. Remove it from the water and squeeze out the liquid into a bowl. Mix in one teaspoon of coconut water. Soak a cotton ball in the mixture and then press it gently on the irritated skin. Do this twice daily for a few days until you see improvement.
7. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is another very effective home remedy for ingrown hair or razor bump. The soothing as well as cooling nature of aloe vera provides instant relief from itchiness and inflammation. Also, aloe vera will keep the skin moisturized and speed up the healing process.
- Extract the gel from an aloe vera leaf.
- Rub the gel on the irritated skin. Allow it to dry on its own for about half an hour.
- Rinse it off with lukewarm water.
- Do this two or three times daily for a few days.
Honey contains antibacterial properties that will prevent the affected area from becoming infected. Plus, honey moisturizes the skin and reduces swelling as well as inflammation.
- Apply a layer of honey directly on the irritated skin.
- Let it air dry for about 10 minutes. Then rinse it off with cold water.
- Follow this remedy three or four times a day for as long as needed.
9. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce inflammation and soothe the skin. Plus, it helps destroy skin bacteria and yeast, which in turn reduces the risk of infection.
- Using a cotton ball, apply apple cider vinegar on the affected area.
- Allow time for the skin to absorb it. Then wash the area with lukewarm water.
- Follow this simple remedy twice daily.
Cucumbers have hydrating and anti-inflammatory properties that effectively deal with the irritating symptoms of ingrown hair. Plus, cucumbers contain vitamins C and helps relieve pain and itchiness.
- Put fresh cucumber slices in the refrigerator for half an hour. Gently rub the chilled cucumber slices on the affected area. Do this several times daily for several days.
- Make puree of half a cucumber. Mix in one-third cup of milk. Put the mixture in the refrigerator for a few minutes until it is cold. Soak a cloth in the mixture and apply it to the irritated area for a few minutes. Then rinse it off with lukewarm water. Follow this remedy twice daily for a few days until your condition improves.
If these home remedies do not give you the desired results or if an ingrown hair has become infected, consult a doctor for proper treatment.