What’s a black man got to do to get rid of ingrown hairs? Those painful little bumps pop up around my jawline and under my neck every time I shave. If this sounds like you, welcome to the club, my friend. Between 60% and 80% of all black men suffer from ingrown hairs. We here at Dapper Mane understand your frustrations, and we want to help. Here are some tips on how to get rid of ingrown hair.
How to Get Rid of Ingrown Hair
A lot of times, ingrown hairs will heal on its own. But most of us want it cleared up ASAP. We do have a reputation for being the best looking brother at work to uphold. But before we get to how to remove ingrown hairs, let me point out that trying too hard to remove an ingrown hair can lead to scarring. If you have a darker skin tone, scars will show up more than your light-skinned friends.
If you notice a bump that you think is an ingrown hair, the first thing to do is stop shaving it. Continuing to shave will keep the hair beneath the surface, where it will grow and get infected. Plus, you’re irritating the bump, which can scab over, further preventing the ingrown hair from escaping.
There are a few different methods to treat ingrown hairs. You may have to try a few to find the one that works for you. Or you may want to do a combo treatment. Here are a few tips on how to get rid of ingrown hairs.
- Warm compresses
- Using natural remedies
- Removing hair
Warm compresses are a great way to soothe a painful ingrown hair. Wet a soft washcloth with warm water and place it over the affected area for 10 to 15 minutes. The heat will soften your skin and can often make the hair come out.
Before you remove the compress, attempt to rub it in slow circles over the bump. This will exfoliate your skin, which removes dead skin cells. Ingrown hairs often break through the surface afterwards. If you experience pain while exfoliating, skip it.
As a black man, your skin is more sensitive to the harsh chemicals you find in most brand name products. These products will often cause dry, irritated skin. It’s better to choose products made with natural ingredients. When treating ingrown hair, there are a few simple all-natural remedies you can try.
Manuka honey is an excellent moisturizer. But more than that, it can also treat ingrown hairs. Honey has anti-inflammatory properties, as well as glucose oxidase, to help reduce the swelling around an ingrown hair. And the high sugar content makes it work as an antibacterial on infected bumps. Apply a bit of honey to the bump and let it dry. It usually takes 20 to 30 minutes. Using honey twice a day can help the ingrown hair work through the skin so you can remove it.
If you have swelling around the ingrown hair, apply a small amount of aloe Vera gel to the area twice a day. Not only will aloe reduce any inflammation, but it will also soothe any itchiness you may be experiencing. I won’t lie. When I get ingrown hairs, I typically scratch so much they get infected. Don’t do like me. Think smart. An added benefit of aloe is that it also works as a moisturizer too.
Tea Tree Oil
You may already use tea tree oil to treat dandruff. But tea tree oil can also work for ingrown hairs. As a natural astringent, this oil gets into the hair follicles and causes them to loosen, which reduces swelling and itching around the affected spot. And it makes the hair easier to come out.
Another way to get rid of ingrown hair is to exfoliate. You should exfoliate twice a day – once in the morning and again at night. When you exfoliate, you’re removing dried dead skin. This technique helps clear your pores and soften the skin of the ingrown hair. You might notice after exfoliating that a small amount of the hair is now sticking from the bump.
Natural Homemade Remedy
There are chemical or natural exfoliating products you can purchase to help soothe an ingrown hair, but you can also make your own. All you need is baking soda, sugar, sea salt, and olive oil. Mix these ingredients and apply it over the affected area. Rinse with warm water. Doing this twice a day can help pull the hair out of the follicle.
Salt may be bad for your cholesterol, but surprisingly, it’s good for your skin. Applying salt to an ingrown hair will help the area heal faster and reduce swelling. Mix a bit of salt and water until it’s a paste. Apply to the infected hair and let it sit for 10 minutes. Then rinse with warm water.
Baking Soda Exfoliation
Baking soda works as an anti-inflammatory to reduce swelling. It also eliminates itching and removes any redness around the ingrown hair. Mix water and baking soda together until it becomes a paste. Then apply it to the problem area for five minutes. Rinse with warm water. Using this mixture twice a day will speed up the healing process of an ingrown hair.
Pulling the Ingrown Hair Free
Experts recommend that you don’t dig beneath your skin to try and remove an ingrown hair. That’s why we’ve offered so many different ways to get the ingrown hair to come out. Once the hair is free of the skin, you can safely remove it.
There are a few different ways you can do this. However, some people prefer to leave their hair alone once it has broken free. Whichever decision you prefer is okay. But for those of you who want it out, try these methods.
Tweezers are great for controlling your unibrow, but it can also assist with grabbing an ingrown hair. You don’t need a particular technique. Just place the end of the tweezers at the tip of the hair and pinch down. Now you give a gentle tug and viola. It’s out.
If your hair has a loop due to being curly, it’s even easier to remove using tweezers or any other type of utensil. Grab the curled hair around the middle of the loop and tug. The good thing about tweezers is you can altogether remove the ingrown hair, rather than just pulling one end out of the skin.
Sharp tipped utensil
You can also use a sharp-tipped tool such as a sterile needle or toothpick. In this case, you’ll poke the bump so that it has an opening for the ingrown hair to escape. If the hair curls under, you can use the tip of your utensil to hook the loop and pull one end free.
When using a pointed tool, you should understand that all you can do is help the hair come out of your skin. These types of devices won’t remove the hair. But some experts recommend not removing an ingrown hair anyway. The choice is yours.
If you get severe ingrown hair, you should consider visiting a dermatologist. They might prescribe medications to help treat your condition. A few medicines they might give you are:
- Antibiotic gels
- Topical steroid or retinoids
- Oral antibiotics
- Eflornithine cream which reduces hair growth
Removing Ingrown Hairs Isn’t Difficult
Now you should know how to get rid of ingrown hairs. As you can see, there are plenty of home remedies to try. You probably already have most of the ingredients at home. But let me share a secret with you, my friends. Preventing ingrown hair is a lot easier than treating them. Change the way you groom your face and watch the ingrown hairs disappear.