"Ingrown hair is a condition where the hair curls back or grows sideways into the skin. It may or may not be accompanied by an infection of the hair follicle (folliculitis) or razor bumps (Pseudofolliculitis barbae). While ingrown hair most commonly appears in areas where the skin is shaved (beard, legs, pubic region), it can appear anywhere.
Anything which causes the hair to be broken off short with a sharp tip can cause ingrown hair. Shaving is the leading cause, followed by tight clothing. The embedded hair causes a localized inflammation (sometimes painful) response in the skin with prostanoid involvement. Sometimes ingrown hair occurs naturally without shaving.
Symptoms include rash, itching skin, hair which remains in spite of shaving, and infection and pus collecting under skin. Treatments for ingrown hairs include putting a warm washcloth over the ingrown hair, shaving in a different direction, exfoliating with facial scrubs, sponges, towels, or creams containing acids, treatment with Ibuprofen or other NSAIDs, and prophylaxis with twice daily topical application of diluted Glycolic acid." (Wikipedia)
Our readers offer information and opinions on Earth Clinic, not as a substitute for professional medical prevention, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician, pharmacist, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements or following any treatment suggested by anyone on this site. Only your health care provider, personal physician, or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs or diagnose your particular medical history.
Apple Cider Vinegar
[YEA] 01/21/2008: Paulo from Sao Paulo, Brazil: "re: ACV for anal warts. A few months ago I was horrified to find out a huge wart in between my butt cheeks. Soon later two more appeared as well very close to my anus. This intrigued me since I had tested negative for HPV on the year before (I am VERY paranoid about safe sex and such). I couldn't tell anyone about it because I couldn't explain how a guy can get this kind of stuff. So I searched online for natural cures (I'm all against Big Pharma , so a natural solution was a must). I searched online and found about ACV to be used topically, so that night I placed a huge moist cotton ball with ACV against my anus and went to bed. The next day was a bit uncomfortable as things got swollen, but I went on with it for another night. On day 3 I woke up and took a shower, and to my surprise the big one just fell off right on my hand! It was all black and seemed very spongee. But after two nights things were burning a bit, so I waited for everything to go back to normal before proceeding with the treatment.
Results: they were all gone by the 3rd application and haven't returned. Since then I have been using ACV on my face and I no longer have ingrown hair problems or razor burns. I also take it internally, 2tbsp with water and blackstrap molasses (I love it! Beats having a pop). My skin is great, BO is not an issue anymore, and things just seem to be going well. Thank you all for posting your comments and saving me from a very embarrassing visit to the doctor that would result in expensive and ineffective burns/freezes. It's nothing short of a miracle."
[BETTER BUT WITH SIDE EFFECTS] 02/05/2013: Mrsg from Jupiter, Fl , Usa : "My daughter had a nasty ingrown hair on her thigh that grew into a big red bump. I tried mashed garlic, put it into an empty tea bag, tied the tea bag with a string, and taped it over the infected area overnight. The next morning, the bump was gone, but the area where the garlic tea bag covered made the skin look like it was burned. Next time I would suggest covering a smaller area, and perhaps not keep it overnight."
01/27/2011: Jane M from Arlington, Virginia: "I love this site and I use it all the time for most smaller health problems! EarthClinic has introduced me to the usefull properties of ACV and Garlic, so benificial! I'm writing because I noticed that your section on ingrown hairs (a problem I have had in my underarms and bikini area since I started shaving, and since then) was very small. I've used a few things to help, though none have really completely fixed the problem for me, but for less severe cases the asprin may be just the trick.
the first thing I tried to get rid of my ingrown hairs was neosporin. The goshdarn things were painful. I don't know about you, but I usually have about 3-5 individual hairs coming from every follicle (is that what the pore is?) and when I get ingrown hairs it gets very inflamed and hard to extract every individual hair or even know if I've got them all. So my boyfriend suggested neosporin and I tried it. I guess it helped with the pain a bit and I'm sure it didn't hurt by preventing infection.
then I went to google, and went through thread after thread of people with the same problem. I found a lot of people had found relief with an asprin mask or tonic made with witch hazel. The same thing has worked for me in the past for stubborn acne, so I was happy to try it and had the uncoated asprin in my medcine cabinet ready to go! The first thing I did while getting ready to make the tonic was put two of the asprin in my hand and added about 5-6 drops of water till they turned into a paste. I just put that directly on all the affected spots. It gets pretty flakey as it dries and if you put it on your face be careful around your nose it REALLY irritates for some reason if you inhale it. I noticed relief right away after it came off. It seemed much calmer. I put it on (either the mask or tonic) about twice a day. This CLEARED all but the most stubborn ingrown hairs within a week and most within a few days. I was very happy, as the asprin cost a dollar from CVS.
So then I was left with a few very stubborn ingrown hairs. At this point, I was fairly desperate. Every time I shave I get lots of tiny ingrown hairs that mostly resolve themselves in about 3 days with exfoliation in the shower and such, but usually a few are left if I don't treat them with the asprin. Even with treatment when I shave I'm usually left wth at least one I have to extract manually after the area calms down, and even then- problems. Not cool.
I see with further googling that somone suggests putting deoderant on the area. I thought that was a bad idea, so many chemicals in such a delicate area (bikini) is just asking for trouble. Or something. But I was desperate, like I said so I tried it. I hate to even include this one as it's not really an "earth" remedy, but it worked. Amazingly. It got rid of all the ingrown hairs after a few days, with results right away, after 30 min no more pain, no more inflamation. The hairs just worked out of the skin so quickly. If I put some on right after shaving and right out of the shower for a day or two I can shave up to twice a week without having problems, And even then minimal! Now it makes sense to me why my armpits never had the same trouble my bikini line did, even though I shaved those every day! I also plan to try oil pulling, I'll keep an eye out for if that helps!"
03/08/2012: Sajanana from Shaker, Ohio replies: "I'm going to use your remedy... Not trying to put it out there- I shave it into a mohawk it's like I only get razor bumps on the side and I'm really afraid to have sex with my boyfriend. Due to the fact he might thinks something's wrong so I'm going to reply back next week and tell you if it work! -Thank's lots"
05/02/2012: Briannahasit from London, Surrey replies: "Does it matter what form the deodorant is in? I. E spray or roll on. Also, can it be applied to the area (mine bikini specifically) daily to completetly prevent the formation of the ingrown hairs? :s Thanks :)"
[YEA] 08/09/2009: Carlsbad from San Diego, Ca: "Hi. This is my third week of oil pulling, and the oddest thing has happened. I've had ingrown hairs for years. Suddenly when I woke up this morning, those ingrown hairs were no longer hidden beneath my skin. I pulled them with no problem. What in the world does oil pulling have to do with ingrown hairs?
By the way, other results so fair: the whites of my eyes are particularly white. They're usually off-white, even yellow; mucous drains at the back of my throat when I pull (this just began happening a few days ago); my skin is suddenly baby-soft; and facial pockmarks are lightening up.
Oil pulling has become a very peaceful exercise for me. Love it! Thankfuk for the knowledge!"
EC: Thank you for the feedback! Would you mind telling us what type of oil you are using?
09/15/2010: Carlsbad from San Diego, Ca replies: "When I wrote that email last year, I was using EVOO. Eventually, my teeth began to go from that new found white to a scary greenish tint, so I switched to unrefined coconut oil. White teeth days are not consistent, BUT my teeth have shifted a bit; my bottom row used to be terrible crooked; it's noticeably straighter now. Is that possible???
Another long-term result: I do not break out in adult acne (which was a big part of my life before)unless I skip three days straight. Oh, and I can't remember the last time I had flu-like symptoms. I used to be some kind of sick all of the time! EC is a godsend!"
09/08/2011: Helpmealot from Denver, Co replies: "what is ec? I am very interested I have horrible teeth.... Ingrown hairs and a wart that has grown quite alot recently and become quite hard. What do I do???"
EC: EC=Earth Clinic
02/16/2011: Janeasher from Calgary, Alberta, Canada: "Hey everyone. I love this site and I'm glad we are all looking out for each other. I recently had an ingrown hair on my cheek and I picked at it (I have a serious problem controlling myself and find I am constantly picking at my face... Another issue I am dealing with. ) I put some ACV on it and have been treating it as well with some fresh Aloe Vera as well as a little bit of VCO. It's been 2 days now and its quite red and looks horrible. I'm scared I might have done some damage to my face and would love to hear some advice for what I should do as I'm feeling guilty that I caused this and I want to try and fix it. Thank you so much and god bless."Replies
[YEA] 09/08/2011: Maeryn from Calgary, Ab replies: "Hey all. I have always had ingrown hairs on the backs of my thighs and on my knees. They do not usually get infected. I keep them away by using an exfoliator brush and regular soap to the area. Really helps :)
And a shoutout to the other awesome lady from Calgary too :P"
05/10/2012: Hopelesslyconfused from Scotland replies: "I get the odd ingrown hair from various methods of hair removal on my legs and bikini area, I exfoliate and moisturise and they generally don't bother me. However, directly below my belly button I have a small area (about two fingers widths) that grows long dark hairs. I don't mind the fine light hair on the rest of my abdomen but this was bothering me and I started to pluck them out. The problem is they ALWAYS become ingrown. I've tried No Bumps and Ingrow Go, as well as ACV and none of these things work. The hairs were getting itchy and were very unsightly but now I have scarring from trying to remove the ingrown hairs and further ingrowing hairs even worse!!! Does anyone have any suggestions on how to avoid the ingrown hairs and reduce the scarring? Thanks in advance."
05/10/2012: Jennifer from Sunrise, Fl, Usa replies: "I am prone to ingrown hairs too, and I've found that I absolutely cannot wax in that area or I will get ingrown hairs. I followed every instruction for aftercare and used every product that my esthetician recommended and I still got lots and lots of ingrowns everytime. Now I shave only and I have no problems. Exfoliating the area is key, it will keep the hair follicle from clogging up. You can use a glycolic acid body wash (I like Aqua Glycolic Body Cleanser, not sure of the availability outside the US) or one with AHAs.
Some people make their own No Bump/Tendskin solution using crushed uncoated aspirin (salicylic acid) and water:
1) Crush 18 tablets of uncoated aspirin
2) Dissolve these in 5. 5 oz of 70% rubbing alcohol
3) Crush 8 tablets of uncoated aspirin
4) Dissolve these in 2. 5 oz of witch hazel
5) Combine the rubbing alcohol and witch hazel solutions. Some settling of aspirin may occur, just shake it well before you use it.
Apply everyday after waxing or tweezing.
Good luck! Jennifer"
09/08/2012: Cherie from Nashua, Nh, Usa replies: "As far as in grown hairs go, Nuetragina oil free acne wash (it's an orange liquid soap in a pump bottle) is a great help, that and maybe any soap that has salacidic acis=d in it (i know I spelled that wrong sorry)."
[YEA] 07/18/2009: Kathy from Stanwood, WA: "I used to get razor bumps and ingrown hairs along my bikini line where I shaved. I found that applying a small amount of product containing 2% salicylic acid prevented them. You can find products like this in the acne or psoriasis treatments at the local drugstore. Just read the label. I preferred a light lotion rather than liquid."
[YEA] 11/21/2009: Jenny from Perth, Australia: "My whole life I have had terrible dry skin and little bumps on my legs and arms (which I later discovered are in grown hairs). I was so self conscious about it I would not wear shorts even in summer. I now dry ex-foliate regularly and apply pure shea butter over my whole body every two or three days and the results are amazing."Replies
09/15/2010: Shan from London, UK replies: "Dear Jenny
Please let me know after how many days did you get amazing results? and by amazing results do u mean your skin is without any bumps and completely clear?"
09/15/2010: Janice from Coloma, Mi replies: "I love shea butter. I just purchased some shea butter soap and also some pure shea butter for my face. I had to go out of town to purchase it. Do you buy yours locally or on-line?"
06/11/2011: Aquines from Philadelphia, Pa replies: "hi amazon.com sells shea butter and other essential oil and soaps for you like coconut oil, she butter soaps, eucalyptus oil.. Ect.. Hope that helps you plus they offer great deals and discounts... You might even be able to find an amazon coupon code online by typing in mazon. com coupons."
07/15/2012: Valentina from Philadelphia, Pa replies: "You can also buy shea butter and other natural products from coastalscents.com they run a fair trade market with a small town in Africa and their stuff is great quality and it helps a good cause. They deliver quite fast too."
06/24/2012: Assaf from Tel-aviv, Israel: "Hello, I have had a problem with ingrown hairs on my beard area for now about 6 years. I have some scarring from that. I've found that talcum powder on the ingrown hair, resolves it in about a day. I usually use it in the morning and in the evening. I don't put in on regularly, just when I have an ingrown hair.
Talcum makes the skin smoother, and has magnesium in it, I think, which helps the skin, or something. Perhaps some drying or protecting effect, too. Anyway, this really has shown itself many times to work very well."