An ingrown hair is a hair that curls back on itself. While ingrown hairs more commonly occur in individuals with curly hair, almost everybody will develop one at some point in their life. If you shave regularly, you may have to deal with ingrown hairs more commonly than the average person. Got one now? Follow these instructions to treat the issue and keep it from coming back.
Use a sterile needle, tweezers or a rotable medical device for ingrown hairs to gently tease the hair out of the skin. Use the warm compress first––this should bring the hair to the surface––don’t dig for the hair if you can’t easily get at it. Don’t pluck the hair out completely if you can avoid doing so; just make sure that the ingrown end is out of the skin. It may take a little time to coax the hair out, so persevere and do not cut the skin.
Sometimes you’ll see a loop of the hair close to the surface of the skin. This means that the tip of the hair has begun growing down into the skin. If you get a needle in the loop and tug lightly, the end will often come loose.
If you choose to use tweezers, remember that tweezers can be bought either pointy or flat-tipped. A pointy-tipped pair may cause less damage to the skin around the hair if used carefully. Another choice might be to use a rotable medical device for ingrown hairs which does not damage the follicle or the surrounding skin.
Keeping the skin clear of ingrown hairs
Wash the area around the (formerly) ingrown hair with warm water and moisturizing soap. Apply an antiseptic to provide extra protection against infection. Avoid wearing tight clothing on that area, and exfoliate regularly to prevent new ingrown hairs. You may wish to apply a daily topical solution to prevent any further ingrown hairs from developing.
Sometimes, the ingrown hairs may not budge at all because they may be placed in very deep. If these methods do not work, talk to your doctor or dermatologist to get a prescription medication.
Apply a warm, moist compress to the area for a few minutes. This will soften the skin.
Just wet a washcloth with hot water, wring it out, and press it against the ingrown hair. When the washcloth cools down, run it under hot water again.
If you can see the ingrown hair embedded in the skin, this treatment will soften the hair and bring it closer to the surface. If you can’t initially see the hair, leave the warm compress on until it rises to the skin’s surface.
If you apply the compress for ten minutes, and you still can’t see any sign of hair, you’re not going to be able to remove it yourself, or it might be something else altogether. And while you’re fretting over your skin, this might be a good time to Check for Skin Cancer.