What Is An Ingrown Hair or Razor Bumps?
Ingrown hair is when a hair follicle grows into the skin and does not come out of it and it irritates the skin and creates bumps. Often shaving incorrectly leads to ingrown hair, which is called razor bumps. When we shave and apply too much pressure, we can cut the hair below the skin level. Once that happens hair can continue growing into the skin, sideways, causing razor bumps.
Ingrown Hair – Risk Factors and Symptoms
Ingrown hair or razor bumps are easy to spot as they are raised from the skin and look red or blackish in colour.
Methods To Get Rid Of Ingrown Hair
Ingrown hair is a non-serious physical problem that can occur in any person, but especially in those who have coarse or curly hair. There are various methods that can be used to treat ingrown hair and there is also preventive care. We will discuss below, the remedies for ingrown hair they were already occurred:
A. Exfoliation To Get The Hair Out Of The Skin
There are multiple ways to exfoliate, one of them being aspirin. It contains salicylic acid that helps in exfoliating and removing dead skin cells, which makes the ingrown hair loose. It also has anti-inflammatory properties help in preventing infection and reduces redness and swelling.
- Soak 2 uncoated aspirin tablets in 1/2 tablespoon of warm water to make paste and apply the paste on the affected area and allow it for 30 minutes. Using this daily give better result.
- Use it as a mask for good skin by making a paste of 2 aspirin tablets with half tablespoon warm water and ½ tablespoon of honey. Apply on the skin and leave for one hour and then wash with lukewarm water. Pat the skin dry. Repeat thrice a week.
Salt promotes blood circulation and exfoliates skin. It also promotes healing and reduces swelling.
- Use 2 tablespoons of salt with 1 cup of warm water and rub the solution on the affected area with cotton ball or cloth.
- Leave the mixture overnight and repeat daily or as needed.
- Or alternatively use Epsom salt to exfoliate, rinse and moisturize.
3. Baking Soda
Baking soda relieves itching by exfoliating skin and has soothing effect on skin and reduces inflammation and redness.
- Mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda and 1 cup water to make a thick paste. Apply this on the affected area in circular motion using cotton ball.
- Allow it for 5 min and rinse with cold water
- Repeat this 2-3 times a day
- Alternatively, make homemade scrub by mixing 1 teaspoon each of baking soda, ground oat meal and 1 tablespoon of water. Mix well to make paste and apply on skin for 4-5 min and wash with lukewarm water and pat the skin dry. Follow for twice a day.
4. Olive Oil and Sugar
Although you can exfoliate the skin using any exfoliator, olive oil and sugar seems to get the popular vote. Olive oil is known to have anti-inflammatory properties as well.
- Make sugar scrub by mixing 1 tablespoon of olive oil with enough sugar to make a paste. Add one drop of essential oil optionally such as tea tree oil or lavender oil.
- Apply the mixture using circular motions and rinse with warm water.
- This can be done twice a day.
Read more on Infected Ingrown Hair – Symptoms, Causes, Treatment
B. Using Natural Oils
5. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is antiseptic, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory and makes a suitable remedy for ingrown hair and also prevents skin infection.
- Mix 1 tsp of tea tree oil and 3 teaspoons of olive oil and apply this mixture on the skin.
- Leave on for 15 minutes and rinse with warm water. Repeat daily.
- Alternatively mix 3 drops of tea tree oil with 1 tbsp of olive oil. Apply and massage on the affected skin. Allow it for 5 min and rinse with lukewarm water. Do it twice a day.
6. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is a good moisturizer and soothes skin, will reduce the skin irritation and itchiness when applied. Lauric acid present in coconut oil is antimicrobial agent, so prevent infection.
- Apply virgin coconut oil directly on the affected skin. Wipe it with tissue after 15 min. Use three times a day or as needed.
C. Other Herbal and Natural Remedies
Lemon fights bacteria and is a good cleansing option. It is a natural astringent and a natural antioxidant. It has number of medicinal properties and used in skin afflictions and to get right skin tone.
- Cut lemon and squeeze to extract juice. Apply lemon juice on the affected area using cotton ball and leave for 20 minutes.
- Rinse and pat dry. Moisturize after this method as it tends to leave the skin very dry.
- Repeat it twice daily for a week.
Honey is used for multiple skin ailments and home remedies as it is very beneficial for skin and hair. It is highly anti-inflammatory and can be used to soothe painful razor bumps. It is an emollient and antibacterial and used to prevent infection.
- You can apply thin layer of honey directly on the affected area and leave on for 10 min before rinsing with lukewarm water. Use this twice daily if required.
Cucumber has anti inflammatory and hydrating properties and also has vitamin C which helps in relieving irritation, inflammation, itchiness and pain.
- Cut cumber into slices and massage the skin. Leave overnight if required. Cucumber will reduce the itchiness of the bumps.
- Alternatively cut slices and keep it in refrigerator for 30 min and rub gently on the affected skin, do it for several times a day.
- You can also use puree from half cucumber and 1/3 cup of milk after keeping in refrigerator for 30 min. Soak cloth in the mixture and apply on affected area before rinsing with lukewarm water.
10. Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera moisturizes skin, and has soothing and cooling nature, so reduces itchiness and is overall very good for the skin. It also quickens healing process. It also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agents.
- Extract the gel from the Aloe Vera plant and apply on skin. Leave on for 30 minutes then rinse with lukewarm water. Repeat thrice a week.
This technique was used in olden days to remove ingrown hair as it exfoliates as well as moisturize skin. Scrubbing sugar will unclog pores of the skin making ingrown hair to come out and also help in normal hair growth.
- Mix 2 cups of sugar, a quarter cup of lemon juice to an eighth cup of water. Let the mixture boil to 250 degrees and let it cool.
- Once cooled apply on the skin then rinse and pat dry.
- A paste of sugar and lemon can be applied in the opposite direction of hair growth and then towards the hair growth to avoid hair breakage.
E. Warm Compress
12. Normal Water Compress
A normal hot compress can unclog pores and give a chance to the ingrown hair to grow out. Pluck out hair by using sterilized tweezers once it grows on to the surface.
- Dip a towel in warm water and wring out to remove excess water and apply the compress on the affected skin for few minutes. This will reduce the pain and itchiness. Do it few times a day.
13. Black/Green Tea Compress
Black tea bags can be used to reduce irritation and inflammation of the skin caused by razor bumps.
- Dip a tea bag in warm water for a few minutes. Rub the bag against the skin for few minutes and repeat 2-3 times a day. It will help in reducing the swelling and getting the pus out.
F. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar will reduce itchiness as it has anti-inflammatory properties and take away dead skin cells and reduce infection as it is natural antibacterial agent. It dries up the skin and brings ingrown hair to the surface. Dilute Apple cider vinegar with equal proportions of water if you have sensitive skin.
- Apply the vinegar on the affected area by using cotton ball and allow it dry out. Rinse with water after 15 minutes. This can be done daily, but moisturizing is necessary after this procedure.
After the remedies mentioned above, you can also try to bring the hair out of the skin. This is done usually after exfoliation or after the top layer of skin has been dried. Using tweezers, one can carefully pull the hair out if it is visible. If it is not visible, it’s better to leave it undisturbed.
Preventing Ingrown Hair/ Razor Bumps
The above remedies talk about reducing the problems after an ingrown hair is formed, but there are ways in which it can be prevented too.
- Wear loose clothing as tight clothes can cause friction and put pressure on the hair follicles.
- Shave carefully by holding the skin taut. Also, do not apply too much pressure as it will cut the hair below the skin level leading to razor bumps.
- Waxing is considered a better hair removal technique as there is a lesser chance of ingrown hair.
- Follow a good skin care routine of exfoliating, cleansing and moisturizing.
Ingrown hair is manageable with good skin care. It is common and unavoidable, as such it is better to take care and groom carefully for best results.