Ingrown hair on the face mostly occurs on the chin, cheeks and the neck. These are areas that often require shaving.
Poor shaving skills are the most common causes of ingrown hairs. The bumps appear as small red raised spots on skin regions where hair has recently been removed. Although they are not serious skin conditions, they can lead to complications such as infection and scarring. Luckily, there are ways to safely remove, treat and prevent these bumps.
What causes ingrown hairs on face?
Basically, ingrown hairs form when hair grows into rather than above the skin. Shaved hair can take a U-turn and pierce the skin. It may also be that deeply-shaved hair fails to break through the skin and instead grows sideways into the wall of a hair follicle. Either way, a bump will result around the affected hair follicle.
People with thick and curly hair tend to develop ingrown hairs more often. This is commonly seen in Latinos and African-Americans. Dry skin is prone to dead skin cells accumulation. Dead skin cells end up blocking hair follicles and thus making it impossible for hair to exit the hair follicles. People with oily skin, excess sex hormones or overactive sebaceous glands are also more prone to ingrown hairs.
In most cases, you will experience tingling, pain or itchiness after shaving. Rash-like bumps will appear 2 or 3 days after. Round and hard ingrown hairs are known as papules. When infected, ingrown hairs develop into pustules. Pustules can develop into boils or abscesses if not treated. It is common for infected ingrown hairs to leave a scar behind after recovery.
How to get rid of ingrown hair on face
You can get rid of an ingrown hair on the face easily at home. Below are steps on how to get rid of an ingrown hair on the face:
- Soak a clean thick piece of cloth in hot water.
- Wring out the washcloth and place it on the affected area for 5 minutes.
- Repeat the treatment 5 times, soaking the washcloth first every time.
- Dip the tip of a sharp ingrown hair removal needle or tweezers in alcohol.
- Locate the tip of the ingrown hair. It usually appears as a dark spot in the middle of the bump.
- Gently, prick the bump and use the tweezers to tug the ingrown hair from the skin it has grown into.
- The hair should retract easily without being forced. Before tugging it, locate the end that has pierced the skin.
- Apply an antibacterial ointment thereafter.
- After 24 hours, repeat the warm compress treatment. It helps keep the skin soft to prevent recurring ingrown hairs.
You can purchase an ingrown hair extraction tool over the counter. The tool is more effective and easier to use compared to a needle or a pin.
How to stop ingrown hairs on face
Below are some tips that can help with how to stop ingrown hairs on the face:
Leave it alone
A common mistake that people do is scratch or shave on already affected areas. This will guarantee chronic ingrown hairs. Instead, allow the ingrown hairs to resolve before the next shaving. Always resist the urge to scratch. Scratching causes irritation which in turn causes inflammation.
Keep your face clean
Clogged hair follicles are common causes of ingrown hairs. Use mild cleansers to get rid of dead skin cells and other forms of dirt that may clog your skin pores. The difference between cleansers and water is that water doesn’t exfoliate the skin.
Replace your shaving razor regularly
Blunt shaving razors force you to shave too close to the skin. Replace the razor after 2 or 3 shaves. Additionally, use a single-edged shaving razor.
Shave along grain
Shaving against the grain leaves the hair with sharp tips. This makes it possible for the hair to pierce the skin.
Stroke once when shaving
Stroking the same area more than once when shaving encourages close shaving. As the hair grows back, chances are that some will grow sideways into the wall of hair follicles. Additionally, clean the razor after every stroke. This ensures that you will not have to press too hard or spread bacteria.
Avoid regular soap or shampoo
Regular soap ends up clogging skin pores when used for shaving. Rather, apply lubricating oil and shaving cream. Apply a moisturizer once you are done shaving.
How to treat infected ingrown hair on face
Infected ingrown hair on the face is likely to cause scarring after recovery. It may also spread to other areas or turn into boils. The best approach is to get medical treatment. Below are the available options for how to treat an infected ingrown hair on the face:
Bacterial infections are managed with antibiotics. Minor infections respond well to antibacterial creams. For severe infections, your doctor will prescribe oral antibacterial medications.
These are creams and lotions that weaken the structure of hair. They are used to remove unwanted hair such as on the face for women and how to prevent ingrown hairs on bikini area.
Laser hair removal
Chronic ingrown hairs can be quite frustrating to treat. Laser hair removal inhibits the ability of hair to grow from follicles. It is quite effective but a bit expensive. It is a considerable option for deep ingrown pubic hair.
This is a permanent hair removal method. It destroys hair follicles so that no hair will grow thereafter. While it is very effective, it requires several appointments before fully taking effect.
How to prevent ingrown hair on the face for women
Ingrown hair on the face for women can be embarrassing. Below are tips for what to do for such ingrown hair:
- Apply a facial cream containing exfoliating products such as salicylic acid. Don’t use the cream on already affected areas.
- Use a gentle body scrub to massage affected areas. This will remove dead skin and keep the skin soft. You can make a body scrub at home using white sugar and olive oil.
- After about 5 minutes, rinse your face with warm water.
- Soak a thick washcloth in hot water. Wring out the washcloth and cover the affected area. Leave it in place for 5 minutes and repeat 3 times per day. This will draw the ingrown hair towards the surface as well as keep your skin soft.
- Avoid picking or plucking at the ingrown hairs. If you are not familiar with the removal process at home or if ingrown hair hurts intolerably, see your dermatologist.
How to treat ingrown hair on the face with home remedies
Home remedies are quite effective for treating skin conditions such as ingrown hairs. It is important to note that such remedies have not been verified. You should therefore consider other options if you notice no improvements after about 2 weeks. Some home remedies you can try include:
We have discussed warm compresses earlier in this article. This treatment is quite effective in drawing ingrown hair and pus towards the surface of the skin.
Tea tree oil
This remedy is notable for its anti-microbial properties. It may also reduce swelling and soothe irritated skin. Before applying it directly with a cotton ball, ensure to dilute with carrier oil or water.
Aloe vera prevents infection and eases itchiness. It would be best if you can access fresh gel from the plant itself. Alternatively, you can use purchased gel. Just massage it in circular motion on the affected areas. Rinse with water after the gel has dried. Aloe vera is fairly mild and can therefore be used on sensitive areas such as ingrown pubic hair on the penis or the face.
Mix one cup of white sugar with half cup of olive oil. You can add several drops of honey into the mixture but this is not a must. Gently scrub the affected areas with some of the mixture. Rinse with water after 5 minutes.
Salt is a good exfoliating remedy. You can use regular salt or Epsom salt in bath water. For regular salt, add 2 tablespoons to a cup of water and apply directly with a cotton ball. For an Epsom salt bath, add 2 cups of Epsom salt to bath water.
Baking soda is yet another effective home remedy for exfoliation. To use it, add enough powder to water to make a paste. Massage the paste on the affected area in a circular motion. Rinse with warm water after 5 minutes.
Castor oil is best used for clogged hair follicles and ingrown hairs containing pus. It works by drawing the pus to the surface. Just apply a thick layer of the oil to the ingrown hairs and leave for 15 minutes.
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