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Ingrown Hair Removal: A Guide To Getting Rid Of Ingrown Hairs

UPGUYS > Blog > Hair > Ingrown Hair Removal: A Guide to Getting Rid of Ingrown Hairs
The person who wrote this article

Written by the UPGUYS Editorial Team
Published on August 10, 2022

Most commonly known as razor bumps, ingrown hairs are something that plague Canadian men of all ages. In fact, ingrown hair removal is one of the most common searches, particularly in men who shave their face, neck, and pubic region.

If you've ever had ingrown hair, then you'll know just how painful and annoying they can get (they don't look pretty, after all, especially if you've got a big date coming up). And while there are numerous ingrown hair treatment options, it's helpful to know what causes them first.

Not treating ingrown hair properly can lead to hyperpigmentation, permanent scarring, or even hair follicle destruction. None of those are great for men who want to protect their skin and their sensitive regions.

In this article, we talk about the following:

Now, let's get started walking you through everything you need to know about ingrown hair removal and prevention.

What Is Ingrown Hair?

You've likely seen 'em before, but what actually is an ingrown hair? It looks like a pimple, but underneath the surface, there's a hair there that's growing, well, inward.

Clinically, ingrown hair is a condition where the hair grows back into the skin instead of up to the surface. This can happen after shaving, waxing, or tweezing because the hair is cut or removed at an angle that causes it to get caught under the skin and cause irritation.

Most often, ingrown hairs in men appear on the face, neck, chest, and all around the pubic region. Basically, areas where we typically shave or wax. You'll likely notice more ingrown hairs in areas where your hair is coarser, like your beard or around your penis or scrotum.

But they can really show up anywhere on the body. Ingrown hairs can be annoying, but they're usually nothing to worry about. Let's explore what causes them so you know what to look out for.

Read more: 5 Precautions When You Have Alopecia Areata

Symptoms & Causes of Ingrown Hair

We've all been there. You see an ingrown hair "down there" and start to worry that it's something serious. So, what's the difference between ingrown hair and, let's say, a worrisome lesion from an STD?

Ingrown hairs and STD bumps can both cause a lot of discomforts. They can both be itchy, sore, and red. So, how can you tell the difference? First, let's start with ingrown hairs.

Ingrown hairs are caused when a hair follicle becomes embedded in the skin. This can happen when the hair is cut too short or if the skin around the hair is irritated. Ingrown hairs are most commonly found on the legs, arms, and pubic areas. The symptoms include:

  1. Redness
  2. Itchiness
  3. Tenderness
  4. Swelling

STD bumps, on the other hand, are usually more painful than ingrown hairs and can last for weeks or even months. Ingrown hair bumps, while often itchy, don't necessarily hurt.

Likewise, you'll usually be able to easily identify ingrown hair because they appear about one to three days after shaving or waxing. Sometimes, you can even see the dark, coarse hair underneath the skin trying to pop out.

Read more: Hair loss and alcohol

How To Remove Ingrown Hair

So you're sure you've got ingrown hair. Now, how the heck do you remove it? If you're like most people on the planet, you've surely tried to pop the bump in order to make it go away and let the hair pop out, right? No shame; we've all done it.

However, that's actually not the best method (surprise!). Similar to not popping bumps on your face, the reason behind this is that you can damage your skin, cause more irritation, or even create the potential for permanent scarring.

Here are some great, safe ways to remove ingrown hair from various regions of your body.

How To Remove Ingrown Hair in Your Private Areas

If you're dealing with ingrown hair around your buttocks, scrotum, or penis, don't panic. There are a few simple steps you can take to get rid of it.

First, use a warm compress to soften the skin and help loosen the hair. Then, gently exfoliate the area with a soft washcloth or loofah. This will help to remove any dead skin cells that could be trapping the hair. 

What you're looking for is that the region around the bump is clean and that it has formed, hopefully, a white tip. It's even better if you can see the hair just under the skin so that you're able to easily locate it in order to pull it out.

Next, use sharp, sterilized tweezers to carefully pull the hair out. If the hair is too embedded to be pulled out easily, you may need to make a small incision with a sterile razor blade and then tweeze the hair out. 

Finally, apply an antibacterial ointment to the area to help prevent infection. With a little care and patience, you should be able to get rid of that pesky ingrown hair in no time!

How To Remove Ingrown Hair on Your Face & Neck

What if you have ingrown hair on your face or neck? The process of ingrown hair removal is quite similar. 

The biggest difference is that you'll likely be able to withstand a little bit more heat on your face and neck than you might when applying a warm compress to your penis or scrotum (please, please, test the heat before you start applying warm things down there!).

And, because the skin on your face and neck are a little bit thicker, you have two main options here.

Removing ingrown hair on your face and head can be a challenge. The first step is to identify the problem areas. If you see small, red bumps around your hairline or on your cheeks, these may be ingrown hairs. Once you've identified the problem areas, there are a few things you can do to remove the ingrown hairs.

One option is to use a tweezer to carefully pull the hair out. This can be tricky, as you don't want to accidentally pull out healthy hair along with ingrown hair. Simply pull the hair out in the direction that the hair is growing.

Another option is to use an exfoliating scrub. This will help to loosen the skin and make it easier to remove the ingrown hair. Finally, you can try using a warm compress. This will help to open up the pores and make it easier to remove the hair.

Whichever method you choose, be sure to take care not to damage the skin. Ingrown hairs can often become infected, so it's important to avoid unnecessarily irritating the skin. 

If you're having trouble removing ingrown hair or if the area becomes red and inflamed, see a doctor or dermatologist for help. Likewise, we'll walk through some other treatment options below that might help.

How To Remove Ingrown Hair on Your Body

Finally, what happens if you need to remove ingrown hair from any other place on your body? For men, this usually means their chest, armpits, and legs.

The process is the same as the two methods mentioned above! However, you might try first exfoliating with a soft loofah in the shower, depending on where the ingrown hair is located.

Likewise, be sure to avoid using deodorant or any body creams on the areas where you're getting ingrown hair. This can lead to clogged pores that will only make the bumps worse or larger.

Regardless of where the ingrown hair is or how you remove it, it's important to ensure you're disinfecting and cleaning the area before and after removal. Why? Ingrown hair can easily become infected, and that can lead to scarring or even embarrassing sexual encounters. Here's what to do if that happens.

How To Deal With Infected Ingrown Hair

So you've tried to remove ingrown hair, and now it's infected. What now? If you find yourself dealing with infected ingrown hair, you can do a few things to help clear up the infection and ease your symptoms. 

First, it's important to recognize the signs of infected ingrown hair. An infected ingrown hair can cause redness, swelling, pain, and pus. The difference between this and a regular ingrown hair bump is that they can be more painful, have more pus, and even turn darker red or purple.

If you notice any of these signs, it's important to see a doctor. They can prescribe antibiotics to help clear up the infection. In some cases, they may also need to perform a small surgery to remove the ingrown hair. Surgery is a strong word here, as we're mostly talking about a simple hair extraction.

In the meantime, there are a few things you can do at home to help relieve the pain and reduce the chances of the infection spreading.

Start by gently washing the area with warm water and soap. Then apply a warm compress to the area for 10-15 minutes several times a day. This will help reduce inflammation and pain. Avoid picking or squeezing the ingrown hair, as this can worsen the infection.

If you can, go to the pharmacy and get an over-the-counter topical antibiotic cream to keep the infection at bay. Usually, this does the trick, and you don't need to visit a doctor.

And, just for cleanliness, avoid having sex with any partner while you've got infected ingrown hair. They're not "contagious," but the friction, irritation, sweat, and other bodily fluids can sometimes make the infection worse.

Ingrown Hair Treatment: At-Home Treatments vs. Clinics

Few people enjoy going to the doctor, especially when it's for something as seemingly "ridiculous" as ingrown hair. You're probably way less likely to want to head into the clinic if you've got ingrown hair on your scrotum, right? That doesn't make you feel sexy.

So what's the difference between ingrown hair treatment at home vs. clinics?

At-home treatments are often cheaper and more convenient than clinic treatments. However, they may not be as effective. Ingrown hairs can be difficult to extract on your own, and you may not have the tools or knowledge to do it properly. This can lead to further inflammation and even scarring. Topical creams can help to soothe the skin, but they will not get rid of ingrown hair.

Antibiotics may be prescribed by a doctor for severe cases of ingrown hair treatment, but they should only be used as a last resort due to the risk of side effects. Ultimately, clinic treatments tend to be more expensive than at-home treatments, but they are usually more effective if the infection has gotten a bit bad.

In addition, clinics often offer other treatments, such as laser hair removal, which can help to prevent ingrown hairs moving forward. Did your ears perk up there? "You mean there's a way to prevent these things for good?" Yep, let's talk about it.

Does Laser Hair Removal Affect Ingrown Hair?

Some people turn to laser hair removal as a way to avoid ingrown hairs, but does this treatment actually provide any benefits?

Laser hair removal works by targeting the hair follicle with a concentrated beam of light. This light energy is absorbed by the pigment in the follicle, which destroys the hair. While laser hair removal can be effective at reducing the overall amount of body hair, it does not guarantee that you will never experience ingrown hair ever again.

However, some people do find that their ingrown hair problem improves after starting laser treatments. This may be because the laser treatments help to weaken the hair follicle, making it less likely to become plugged with sebum and dead skin cells. This is particularly helpful for men!

Why? Men tend to have thicker, more visible body hair than women. This is due to the higher levels of testosterone in men, which causes the hair follicles to produce thicker hairs. This means that targeting those follicles with laser treatment can more effectively weaken them.

And, as an added plus, you might find that laser hair removal is not only a great way to get ingrown hair out but that it also leads to more body confidence (if it's something you've struggled with due to body hair or ingrown hair problems). More body confidence leads to increased sexual performance. That sounds like a win-win to us.

FAQs About Ingrown Hair

Still have questions about how to get rid of ingrown hair or even more in-depth questions about ingrown hair dark spot removal? Let's explore some of the most frequent questions we've seen men in our community ask.

1- Should You Remove Ingrown Hairs?

This is a bit tricky. Ultimately, if you exfoliate regularly and keep the area clean, most ingrown hairs should go away on their own. However, we know they're unsightly and can lead to some sexual anxiety.

Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference. If you're not in pain and the hair is not visible, you may decide to leave it alone. However, if the hair is causing discomfort or is visible beneath the skin, you may want to take action.

2- Do Hair Removal Creams Cause Ingrown Hairs?

There are a few factors that can contribute to whether or not hair removal creams cause ingrown hairs. One is the type of cream you use. Some contain harsh chemicals that can irritate the skin and lead to ingrown hairs.

Another factor is how you use the cream. If you don't follow the directions properly, you're more likely to end up with ingrown hair. Finally, your skin type can also play a role. If you have sensitive skin, you're more likely to experience problems with hair removal creams.

If you're concerned about this, make sure you choose a gentle, hypoallergenic cream. And be careful not to overdo it. Only apply the cream as directed.

3- How To Prevent Ingrown Hair After Shaving

If laser hair removal options don't sound like a good choice to you and waxing is too painful, then shaving might be your only option. That's okay! You can do a few things to prevent ingrown hair when shaving.

First, make sure you use a sharp razor. A dull razor will tug at your hair instead of cutting it cleanly, which can increase your risk of developing ingrown hairs. Second, avoid shaving too closely. If you shave too close to the skin, you are more likely to cut the hair at an angle, which can lead to ingrown hairs.

Finally, try using an exfoliating scrub before you shave. Exfoliating helps to remove dead skin cells and other debris from the surface of the skin, which can clog pores and trap hair underneath the skin.

4- How Much Does Ingrown Hair Removal Cost?

The answer to this question will depend on a few factors, including the type of ingrown hair removal treatment you choose and the number of ingrown hairs you have. The cost of professional ingrown hair removal can range from $50 to $200, depending on the number of sessions you need and the type of treatment you choose.

5- What To Do If Ingrown Hair Bump Won't Go Away

If none of the home remedies mentioned above work, you can see your doctor or dermatologist. They can prescribe medication that can help to get rid of the ingrown hair bump. In some cases, they may also recommend surgery to remove the ingrown hair. However, this is usually only necessary if other treatments haven't worked.

6- How To Remove Ingrown Hair You Can't See

Honestly, our best suggestion is to wait until you can see the hair beneath the skin. If it's not yet reached the surface and you're trying to pick it out, you might find that you're doing more damage than good.

7- What Are the Best Ingrown Hair Removal Tools?

Clean tweezers work wonders! However, one of the most popular ingrown hair removal tools is an ear wax removal tool, which has a small, pointy end that can help to loosen and remove the hair.

Another option is a pair of Tweezerman tweezers, which are designed specifically for ingrown hairs.

Finally, you can also try using a sterile needle or razor to carefully remove the hair. Whichever method you choose, make sure to be gentle so you don't further irritate the skin.

8- Can You Get Laser Hair Removal With Ingrown Hair?

What happens if you go to get laser hair removal but have ingrown hair before your treatment session? The answer is maybe.

It depends on the severity of the ingrown hair. If it's a mild case, then laser hair removal may be possible. However, if the ingrown hair is more severe, then it's likely that laser hair removal will not be effective. In either case, it's always best to consult with a professional to get the best course of treatment.

9- Does Laser Hair Removal Get Rid of Ingrown Hair?

While we can't speak for everybody, as we all have different bodies and react differently to treatments, the general consensus is yes.

In most cases, laser hair removal is an excellent way to treat ingrown hairs. The laser targets the hair follicle, destroying it and preventing future growth. This can help to reduce the risk of ingrown hairs and also leave your skin looking smooth and flawless.

10- Does Laser Hair Removal Cause Ingrown Hair?

Nope. Quite the opposite. As mentioned above, it helps treat ingrown hair problems. However, you might notice your pores are a little red and sensitive after laser hair removal.

Ultimately, the risk may vary depending on the type of laser used and your individual skin type.

11- How To Remove Massive, Deep, or Long Ingrown Hair

If you're worried about massive, deep, or super long ingrown hair, then our best advice is to go see a doctor or dermatologist. In the meantime, apply a topical antibiotic ointment to keep an infection at bay. You can also apply a warm compress every few hours to help with the swelling and irritation.

Key Takeaway: What Is There To Know About Ingrown Hair Removal? 

When it comes down to it, the most important thing to know about ingrown hair removal is that getting ingrown hair is super normal, especially for men with particularly coarse, curly hair. There's nothing to be worried about if you get ingrown hair frequently.

However, know that ingrown hair removal is simple and safe at home when done correctly. Alternatives include ingrown hair treatment at a clinic where they'll extract the hair for you and potentially prescribe a cream for any potential infections. Other than that, though, you might want to look into laser hair removal if it's a persistent problem for you. 

Have other questions about hair growth, hair loss, or even men's sexual health? We've got plenty of resources for you! 

Be sure to check out our other male health articles, including sex tips, hair loss prevention advice, and more body care posts.

This article is written for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information provided in the articles cannot and should not replace advice from a healthcare professional. Talk to your healthcare provider about any physical or mental health concerns or the risks and benefits of any treatment or medication.