Natural Treatment of Ingrown Hairs


Hairs that curl back and grow into the skin are considered ingrown hairs, explains the Mayo Clinic. Often referred to as razor bumps, or pseudofolliculitis barbae, they often develop as a result of shaving, since the shorn hairs are left sharp and tight to the skin. Once the hair penetrates the epidermis, it triggers an immune response from the body, leading to inflammation and the formation of a small papule or pustule along the skin. While there are medications available to help correct ingrown hairs, more natural methods can also treat this skin condition.


One of the most natural treatment options for ingrown hairs is manual extraction. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends extracting the tip of the ingrown hair with sterilized tweezers or a needle. Sometimes, you can actually see the curved shaft protruding from the skin. By carefully hooking or grasping the shaft and then gently pulling it away from the skin, you can free the embedded tip.


Another natural treatment for ingrown hairs is friction. This method is of benefit for those hairs lacking the visible curved shaft protruding from the skin. Rubbing the bristles of a toothbrush over the papule or pustule of an ingrown hair can loosen the embedded tip from the skin, advises the Mayo Clinic. You can also achieve the same results with a washcloth.


The National Institutes of Health also recommend draining any fluid or pus that has accumulated within the affected follicle. This is done by holding a hot, wet washcloth or compress over the area of the skin suffering from the ingrown hairs. A few minutes are typically all that is necessary to encourage drainage. If the bump is solid, there are most likely no fluids to drain.


Once the tip of the embedded hair is removed, the body’s immune response should quell. This brings about a reduction in inflammation, and thereby shrinks the size of the razor bumps associated with the ingrown hair. But if the ingrown hair caused an infection, you need a topical antibiotic to help kill the bacteria.


Besides treatment methods to correct ingrown hairs, it’s also important to put in place preventative measures that can stop ingrown hairs from forming. These measures typically involve shaving techniques, such as applying shaving creams, using single-bladed razors, not tightening the skin during shaving and reducing razor strokes. People also benefit from changing hair removal methods, like opting for an electric razor, depilatories or professional hair removal.