How to get rid of ingrown hairs: Expert’s ‘go-to’ treatment you can create at home
Ingrown hairs can occur from tweezing, waxing and shaving and usually form a bump in the skin which can be itchy and/or painful and easily become infected. Either due to infection or an ingrown hair being a ‘foreign invader’, the area can become swollen with inflammation. When scratched or picked, these often leave scars.
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In some cases, if ingrown hairs become badly infected, they may require oral antibiotic therapy, which can have a subsequent negative impact on digestive health and innate immunity.
So what can you do to treat ingrown hairs at home?
Senior consultant at Pulse Light Clinic, Lucy Dawe shared with Express Health her top tips for treating ingrown hairs and her go-to exfoliating recipe.
Lucy’s five tips for treating ingrown hairs
- To reduce inflammation apply ice or a cold compress to the area to reduce swelling. This can help with itching too.
- Applying one or two drops of Tea Tree Essential Oil to an ingrown hair can help prevent infection and reduce inflammation.
- Patience is a virtue when it comes to ingrown hairs. As long as it is not infected, avoid friction and scratching, and in most cases they sort themselves out.
- Gently exfoliating the area using a soft bristled toothbrush or a textured mitt in circular movements can help. Use unscented soap and warm water, or see later for my go-to exfoliating recipe.
- Avoid tight clothing at all costs by wearing loose fitting garments and avoid clothing that touches the face if that is the site of the ingrown hair. Aim for air circulation as much as possible.
Lucy’s exfoliating recipe includes a few cupboard ingredients.
You will need:
- A glass jar with a lid (any type from used foods etc. thoroughly sterilised with boiling water and left to completely air-dry)
- A ceramic bowl for initial mixing
- Coarse Sea Salt (not the rock pebble kind, but not fine either!)
- Coconut Oil
- Tea Tree Oil
- Raw Honey
- A Tablespoon
- A Cup
- A Dollop of creativity
In a ceramic bowl, mix together:
- 1 Cup Coarse Sea Salt
- 4 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
- 1 Tablespoon Raw Honey
- 10 drops Tea Tree Oil
Lucy said: “The mixing is going to take you a good 7-10 minutes to really get it thoroughly and properly blended. I suggest creatively dancing to a favourite jazz number or similar for the duration.
“When done, transfer your blend to the glass jar, fasten the lid, label it with your creative title and pop it in the fridge.”
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How to use:
- Always work in one small area at a time
- Take ½ teaspoon of your blend and transfer to your finger tips; apply gently but firmly to the area; gently rub in circular motions for approximately 30 seconds.
- Taking increments of ½ teaspoons at a time, work over all areas you have recently performed hair removal on.
- You can place 1 tablespoon of your blend onto a bath mitt for large areas like legs, back (get someone else to do the back), chest or buttocks.
- Work in circular motions always and towards the heart (for legs that would mean starting at the ankle, for arms you would start at the wrist etc.)
Lucy advised: “The above is highly recommended for those of you who perform hair removal frequently to high-risk areas for ingrown hair, like upper thigh, bikini, peri, groin, underarm, neck and beard.
“I recommend doing it prior to shaving, at night before bed at least twice weekly, before you take a shower.”
Better than treating ingrown hairs is preventing them. While ingrown hairs can’t always be prevented, Lucy recommends the following:
- Avoid Dry Shaving
- Choose wisely in your hair removal options (laser is best if you are suitable)
- When shaving, apply a warm compress to the area first, then lather up the shaving gel / cream and apply generously. Leave on for at least 3 minutes before you start shaving. This helps to soften the hair.
- Shave in the direction of hair growth and rinse the blade frequently
- Replace the blade often and use a single blade rather than multi-blade razors
- Always apply a natural moisturiser to the area after shaving
- Between shaves, exfoliate the area regularly to ensure the pores stay clean, clear of dead skin cells, and open for the newly growing hair to emerge from.
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