Men often suffer from ingrown hairs on the neck after shaving. They appear as small red bumps on neck regions that have been recently shaved. While anyone can get these bumps, men with curly hair are more likely to develop them. Shaving close to the skin or using regular soap in place of shaving gel also increases risk of getting ingrown hairs.
In most cases, medical treatment for ingrown hair on the neck is not necessary. Simple removal techniques which can be done at home are usually enough. This is unless the condition becomes chronic or infected.
What causes ingrown hairs on neck after shaving?
Normally, hair grows straight above the skin after shaving. It sometimes happens that hair curls back and pierces the skin or fails to exit the follicles. As the immune system attempts to get rid of the ingrown hair, irritation and inflammation occurs around hair follicles.
Factors that contribute to ingrown hairs on the neck include:
- Curly hair – shaved curly hair is more likely to grow back into the skin especially after a close shave. Much the same can be said about coarse or thick hair. It is for this reason that African-Americans are more commonly affected by ingrown hairs.
- Clogged skin pores – clogged skin pores make it impossible for hair to exit the follicles. Clogging can be caused by excess sebum secretion or accumulation of dead skin cells. It leads to large ingrown hair follicle
- Dry skin – dry skin encourages ingrown hairs in several ways. For example, shaving on dry skin requires that you shave very close to the skin. Dry skin is also prone to a lot of dead skin cells.
- Hair removal – hair removal methods such as shaving, waxing and plucking often lead to ingrown hairs. It will be helpful if you can learn more on how to shave properly.
So how do you know if you have an ingrown hair? If small, red, and sometimes painful bumps appear in recently shaved areas, they most probably are ingrown hairs.
How to get rid of ingrown hair on the neck
Below are tips on how to get rid of ingrown hair on the neck:
Apply warm compress
A warm compress is a traditional treatment technique popularly used for skin conditions such as ingrown hairs. It works by reducing swelling as well as drawing out pus in case of infected ingrown hairs.
- Start by soaking a thick washcloth in hot water
- Wring it so that no water drips from it
- Cover the affected area for about 5 minutes
- Repeat the treatment 3 times twice in a day.
Remove with a sharp device
Swelling around affected follicles is caused by irritation as the body attempts to get rid of the ingrown hair. If the hair was to be pulled out of the skin it has grown into, the swelling will resolve shortly afterwards. This can be done using a sharp needle or tweezers.
Apply topical mediations
Topical medications work by preventing infection, reducing inflammation and easing symptoms such as itchiness and pain. Hydrocortisone creams are most commonly used. If the ingrown hairs are not responsive, your doctor may prescribe retinoids. Infected ingrown hairs require antibacterial medications.
Exfoliation focuses on removing dead skin cells. On the neck, you can achieve this by scrubbing with a toothbrush. Ensure to clean the area with medicated soap or a mild cleanser twice a day. Immediately after shaving, apply salicylic acid ingrown hair ointment.
Try acne medications
Acne medications that reduce swelling and ease itchiness can also be used to treat ingrown hairs.
Consider medical treatment
If ingrown hair on the neck is getting a bit too bothersome, your doctor can prescribe ingrown hair medicine or have them removed in a number of ways. These include:
- Use of antibiotics – it can be that ingrown hairs on your neck or on the back of the neck are becoming intolerable due to infection. Staph bacteria that thrive on the skin can easily invade ingrown hairs. This results in painful pus-filled bumps that may not heal. Prescription antibiotics are much stronger than topical ones. They will get rid of the infection effectively.
- Chemical depilatories – these are acids that work by weakening the structure of hair. It is a semi-permanent hair removal method. Using it allows enough time for ingrown hairs to resolve before hair grows back.
- Laser hair removal – this is a permanent hair removal method. It takes away the ability of follicles to produce hair.
- Electrolysis – this is another permanent hair removal method. It makes use of electricity to destroy hair follicles.
How to remove ingrown hair on neck
As mentioned earlier, ingrown hair on the neck, under the neck or on the back of the neck can be removed with a sharp device. This treatment method is not advised for when dealing with an infected ingrown hair or for ingrown hair cyst removal. It can spread infection or cause scarring if not done correctly. Below are steps on how to go about the same:
- Clean the affected area and your hands with medicated soap or mild cleanser
- Pat dry with a non-abrasive towel to avoid irritation
- Warm compress on the affected area for 15 minutes
- Locate the ingrown hair. It appears as a black spot at the center of the bump
- Use alcohol to disinfect the tip of a sharp needle or tweezers
- Prick the bump and pull out the ingrown hair
- Apply an antibiotic to prevent infection
Avoid digging out the ingrown hair as this can cause scarring. If you cannot locate it, keep warm compressing thrice a day until it appears. When pulling it out, apply minimum force to avoid breaking it. It should retract from the skin it has grown into easily.
How to prevent ingrown hairs on neck
With the correct prevention measures, you will notice much improvement. Here are tips on how to prevent ingrown hairs on the neck:
Allow the hair to grow
The best thing you can do to prevent ingrown hairs is to allow enough recovery time. Most ingrown hairs will break through the skin after about 4 weeks. In that time, avoid shaving or waxing. You can trim the hair with scissors instead of shaving with a razor.
Keep the skin moisturized
Moisturizing the skin keeps from skin dryness. For best results, use non-greasy and alcohol-free products. You can consider essential oils for this task.
Avoid tight clothing
Tight clothing in the neck region prevents aeration and pushes back hair towards the skin.
Prepare before shaving
Before shaving, use a wet wash cloth to dislodge curly hair. Apply lubricating oil and shaving gel. When shaving, shave along grains and only stroke the same area once. After shaving, apply salicylic acid ointment and a moisturizer.
How to treat ingrown hairs on neck with home remedies
Below are tips on how to use natural remedies for ingrown hair:
- Soak a cotton ball in diluted tea tree oil and apply directly. Leave it for 15 minutes before rinsing with warm water. This should prevent infection.
- Massage affected areas in a circular motion with aloe vera gel. Leave it to dry. Rinse with water. Aloe vera is a powerful antimicrobial. It also soothes irritated skin.
- Add baking soda to water so that it forms a paste. Make sure that the paste is not too thick to not stick to the skin. Apply the paste to affected neck regions. Rinse after 5 minutes. Baking soda works by getting rid of dead skin cells. It also keeps the skin soft enough for ingrown hairs to break through.
- Apply a thick layer of castor oil all over the neck region for infected ingrown hairs. Leave it to dry. Castor oil draws out infection and prevents it from spreading.
- Mix a cup of white sugar and half cup of extra virgin oil. Use some of the mixture to rub the affected area. Rinse with warm water after 5 minutes. Sugar is a mild but effective exfoliating remedy.
- Use your fingertips to apply honey all over the affected areas. Honey fights bacterial infections and also soothes irritated skin. It has long been used for skin conditions like ingrown hairs.
Anytime you are considering treatment at home, ensure that it is ingrown hairs you are dealing with. Topics such as difference between ingrown hair and herpes can help.
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