How to Remove Deep Ingrown Hair

Deep ingrown hair can be difficult to remove. The hair curls back and gets embedded deep in the skin. You can get deep ingrowing hairs in the pubic area, on scalp, in armpit, legs, face and even chin. When irritated, you can get an ingrown hair cyst that will get infected. Here’s how to remove ingrown hairs with home remedies.

An ingrown hair follicle occurs when a shaved or tweezed hair grows back deep in the skin. It can cause inflammation, pain and tiny bumps in the area where the hair was removed.

Deep ingrown hair
Deep embedded hair forming a cyst.

Ingrown follicles is a common condition that results from hair removal or shaving. It is most common prevalent in black men who shave facial hair. But embedded hair can affect anyone with tightly curled hair who shaves, tweezes or waxes to remove hair.

Usually, ingrown hair improves without treatment. You can avoid deep ingrown hair by not removing hair. If that is not an option, you can use hair removal methods that lessen risk of developing ingrown hairs.

  • Ingrown hairs are hairs that have curled round and grown back into the skin.
  • They produce raised red spots, which can sometimes become infected and turn into painful pus-filled sores (or hair cysts).
  • The resultant bumps can be embarrassing, but they often go away on their own without doing anything.

What causes deep ingrown hair on neck, leg, face?

It not common to have ingrown hairs on the neck. However, when you are shaving, you might accidentally cut the hairs on the neck so short that they curl back and grow into the skin. This results into an inflammatory effect, resulting in a red papule, that is at times known as a razor bump.

Men who have curlier are most likely to suffer from this condition unlike others. It is worth noting that any person is likely to suffer from razor bumps after shaving, waxing or plucking.

Ingrown hairs on the legs: This is a condition that is common in those who are fond of shaving their legs. This is mostly among women who practice leg hair removal. Any activity on the legs that causes hair to be broken off unevenly with a sharp tip can cause embedded hairs. In this case, shaving is the leading cause.

Deep ingrown hair on the face: It is caused by hair getting trapped inside the follicles of facial hair and grows back into the skin. This causes a scarring, redness and swelling on the face. This in medical terms is referred to as pseudofollicullitis. The condition is very prevalent in men who improperly shave their beards. The major causes are as below:

1. Naturally thick curly hair

Swollen ingrown hair bumps
Swollen ingrown hair bumps

Individuals with thick hair tend to have them remain in the skin instead of growing out wards. Curly hair on the skin also have a tendency of growing back into the skin, causing deep ingrown hair.

People who have fine hair tend to suffer less episodes of ingrown hair since the thin hair will penetrate the skin and grow without any problems.

2. Dead skin

Dead skin cells that normally develop on the skin surface may block the pores and make it difficult for new growing hair to appear outside the skin as required. It is therefore important to keep removing them especially if you are a regular shaver.

Exfoliating the skin regularly and before shaving can help prevent deeply rooted curled hairs. If not, you are likely to work hard to remove deep ingrown hair.

3. Use of blunt blade when shaving

Always insist on using a sharp razor blade as a blunt blade will only cause you several ingrown hairs after shaving. A blunt blade will push the hair back into the soft skin instead of removing them as expected. It will also leave a lot of soft hair laying against the skin resulting into ingrown hair.

4. Poor shaving techniques

Shaving is the most popular way of removing hair on the skin. It is always advisable to shave along the grains. Before shaving, simply identify the direction of the hair growth and shave towards that direction. Shaving against the direction will only push some of the hair back into the skin especially when using a blunt razor blade.

Always use a sharp razor blade and don’t start by shaving too close to the skin. Be gentle and avoid over pressing the blade against the skin while shaving.

Ingrown hair cysts and boils

What are deep hair cysts? These are painful bumps on the skin. They often look ugly and are often inflamed mostly when they appear in your pubic area. In a scenario where you develop an ingrown hair cyst, it means that the infection is so deep into the skin.

Apart from just noticing the cyst, you are also likely to observe a green yellow pus with inflammation, itchiness, tenderness, warmth and redness at the infected area.

According to Better Health Fast, an ingrown hair cyst is a hair follicle cyst. It is at times called trichilemmal cyst although many people confuse it with a pilonidal cyst. There is a great difference between a normal cyst and a hair follicle cyst. What is the difference?

  • Embedded hairs form when hair curves and grows downward into the skin. The reason why it is confused with a cyst is the fluid that forms around the hair follicle that looks like a pimple or a blister sometimes called a hair bump.
  • On the other hand, cysts may have no relationship with shaving or hair growing back into the skin. They, according to Wisegeek, may be caused by tumors, inflammation and infections.
  • An ingrown hair cyst is comparatively smaller; a smaller bump compared to the large cysts that develop on the skin.

What are the causes of hair cysts on various parts of the body? It is known that a large percentage of deep ingrown follicle cysts form on the scalp. A little more cases develop on the face, underarms and pubic area respectively. The reason for this occurrence is that the high hair follicle concentration in these areas of the body encourage their formation. The various causes are listed below:

Waxing and shaving poorly

Employment of improper shaving techniques is a major cause of ingrown hair cysts. Before the cysts start, razor burn on skin appears, which is followed by razor bumps and embedded hairs. Cysts on ingrown hairs may or may not form depending on the care routine you will have.

It is advisable that you lather properly before shaving to prevent deep ingrown follicles on your face, thighs and bikini area. Apart from that, exfoliate your skin before shaving to remove any debris that may cause bumps and ingrown hairs. More to that, shave in the direction of hair growth and not against it. When you shave against your hair, you aggravate the skin. This causes bruises and the burns.

Cystic acne

What is cystic acne and how does it cause an ingrown hair cyst on face? If you have ever come across large bumps on face, usually deep in the skin, those are cystic acne bumps. When a hair follicle is inflamed, it forms a tough pink skin that covers it completely. This blocks the pore from draining, thus forming a cystic hair follicle.

Clogged pores cause hair follicle cysts

According to Earth Clinic, when the skin surface is covered with debris and the pores on the hair follicles are clogged, a hair follicle cyst is likely to form beneath. Sometimes, these cysts form even when there are not embedded or horizontally growing shafts.

Ingrown hair boils

A boil is also called a skin abscess. It is a localized infection that is normally tender and red in the beginning and can thereafter become firm, hard and increasingly painful. In the long run, the collection of pus is formed in the skin and it can be composed of white blood cells, bacteria and proteins.

Boils manifest in so many ways and therefore, there are so many types of boils. They can be caused by embedded hairs in some cases. They appear in various areas including the back of the neck, face, armpits and buttocks. In most cases however, deep ingrown hair boils occur wherever hair grows on the body or areas where skin is irritated from constant friction.

Boils from ingrown hair are easy to feel and touch. If you are prone to bacterial infections or even fungal infection on hair follicles, an abscess or boil can develop on the infected hair follicles. Blisters and sore are common signs of the infection. []

Ingrown hair boils are common in areas where people shave or otherwise remove hair like legs, armpits on women and the facial area on men.

  • The major cause of embedded hair boils is improper shaving and infections.
  • Shaving generally leaves a sharp end on the hair, which makes it easy for the hair to penetrate the skin and grow into the skin instead of growing out normally.
  • When hair grows inwards, the body reacts as it would to foreign objects under the skin.
  • The spot inflames and a bump similar to a pimple appears.
  • At times, the pimple resolves but at times the condition progresses and a boil forms.

How to remove deep ingrown hair

You can get rid of deep ingrowing hairs by practicing proper shaving techniques. Removing the embedded hair can also help cure up an occasional problem. However, if the problem is severe, you could opt for treatments and remedies.

Use tweezers to remove deep embedded hair

Proper shaving techniques prevents ingrown hairs

Shaving results in a sharp end which easily pierces back into the hair follicle if the hair curls beneath the skin. Extremely longer hair is less likely to curl back into the skin so shave less closely by using a single blade razor multi-bladed razors are likely to cut the hair too close.

More to that, you could elongate the duration you take before you shave next in that, instead of shaving every 24 hours, shave every 2 to 3 days.

Apart from that, if you know or realize that you are prone to ingrown hairs:

  1. Use the razor only once or twice and discard before it becomes blunt.
  2. Better still, you could use an electric razor.
  3. In addition, shave along the grain of the hair, in the direction of the hair growth.
  4. To add on the above, don’t stretch the skin, otherwise you get too close a shave.
  5. Importantly, avoid too much pressure on the skin while shaving.
  6. Don’t shave the same area over and over again trying to get a closer shave.

Finally after shaving, splash cold water over the area to close your pores and use a moisturizing aftershave balm containing witch hazel, azulene or allantoin to keep the skin and hair soft. Post-shaving creams and lotions are very crucial in preventing infection, inflammation, redness and swelling. But steer clear of products containing alcohol since they dry out the skin and worsen irritations.

According to livestrong .com, “When you treat an embedded hair, you must try to control the inflammation in the area while the hair grows out until it breaks through the skin. During this time, don’t pick at the ingrown hair because picking could lead to infection and scarring”

Steps for removing ingrown hair at home

In order to remove them, you need to follow some very essential steps. They will help get rid of deep ingrown hairs or prevent them from appearing in future.

1. Apply hydrocortisone cream

First of all, apply 1 percent hydrocortisone cream to the affected area. This according to the Merck Manual. This can be done two to three times daily, depending with the package directions. Hydrocortisone cream helps to reduce inflammation, which will make it possible to remove the ingrown end of the hair.

2. Place a warm compress on the cyst

Thereafter, place a hot compress onto the hair bump three times daily. Let it stay on for about 15 minutes each time. If the compress cools during the 15 minutes, dip it in the hot water and reapply for the remaining time.

3. Exfoliate

Afterwards, wash the area around the bump with an anti-acne or anti-bacterial soap each morning. Use a rough washcloth and move in circular motions in order to try to tease the hair out of the skin.

Subsequently, inspect the ingrown hair bump daily to see whether you can see the hair above the surface of the skin.

4. Pull the curved hair out with tweezers

Once the hair is noticeable above the skin, use an alcohol-sterilized pair of tweezers to lift the hair up by slipping the pointed end of the tweezers under the hair loop and pulling up gently. You can also use the end of a toothpick to perform this task.

5. Treat with antibiotic

Finally, treat the hair bump area for infection after you remove the ingrown hair tip. Bacitracin and triple antibiotic ointment are over-the-counter topical antibiotics available. It is also advisable that you contact your doctor for a stronger antibiotic, if needed.

Home remedies for deep ingrown hairs

There are various things that you can do at home and this will help you manage or keep razor bumps and burns at bay.

Warm compress

First of all, use a warm compress. This helps to soften the tissues around ingrown hair.

  1. Apply a warm or moist towel on the affected area.
  2. Do this repeatedly until the hair appears close enough to the surface of the skin.
  3. After applying the warm compress and once the hair is closer to the surface of the skin, slowly pluck the hair with a point tipped tweezers, so that, the end of the ingrown hair appears above the skin.

Keep in mind that the aim is not to pluck the hair out because this is very painful. Always sanitize the tweezers with alcohol before using.

Benzoyl peroxide remedy for deep ingrown hairs

Use benzoyl peroxide as it is particularly good for those ingrown hair which are filled with pus and seem like pimples. Apply it to the affected area several times during the day, for at least a week.

In the course of trying this, remove all the dead skin around the affected area. This will cut the bump or swelling which will make it easier for the hair to grow out.

Milk and bread

Use of milk and out-of-date bread: This works well especially on a looped ingrown hair.

  1. Take some milk and warm then dip a piece of bread in it.
  2. Place the bread on the area of the skin with the deep embedded hair and keep it there for around 2 minutes or until the bread cools.
  3. Repeat again for another 10 minutes.
  4. Check keenly if the pore has opened up and if so, use a sterile needle to pull the loop out.

Salt remedy

Salt is also an appropriate remedy as it not only helps in exfoliation, but also increases blood circulation to aid ingrown hair come out. Here’s how to use salt to get rid of deep ingrown hair shafts.

  1. Take 1½ teaspoons of salt and mix it with one cup of warm water.
  2. Dip a cotton ball into this solution and dab it on the affected area. Be careful not to wipe it off.

The most ideal time to do this would be before going to bed, so that the salt can exfoliate and cleanse the skin overnight. Carrying out this process repeatedly on a daily basis helps attain the best results.

Apple cider vinegar

Vinegar is yet another key home ingredient you could use to deal with ingrown hairs. Here’s how to use apple cider vinegar to treat deep infected ingrown hairs.

  1. Put some vinegar in a bowl
  2. Mix together some vinegar and hot water (keep the mixture warm).
  3. Dip a cloth into this mixture and lightly press it on the affected area.
  4. Dip the cloth in warm water in case it gets cold in the process and apply again to the affected area.

This is a slow method and it takes a longer time and so you may have to repeat it for at least a week. Soaking a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar and applying it on the affected area is also a remedy. Let your skin absorb it. Use lukewarm water to wash off the area. Use it two times a day.

Sugar for exfoliation

Sugar is a home used flavor and sweetening agent. Apart from that, it can also be used to remove and prevent ingrown hairs. It does so by getting rid of dead skin cells and pushing the curled hair out. To prepare an effective remedy:

  1. Mix ½ a cup of jojoba oil with 1 cup of sugar.
  2. Add 10 drops of tea tree oil and apply this mixture onto the affected area.
  3. Now scrub the area in a circular motion and then wash it off with warm water.

Repeat this for two to four weeks or until the curled-back hair surfaces out.

Use baking soda for ingrown hair

  1. Mix together one cup of water and 1 tablespoon of baking soda.
  2. Dip a cotton ball or a cloth into the solution and apply it on the affected area.
  3. Leave it for five to ten minutes and wash it off using cold water.
  4. Repeating the above procedure two to three times in a day achieves faster results.

Black tea bags

Black tea bags are also helpful. They have very high concentration of tannic acid which make the skin smooth and at the same time, reduces inflammation and redness.

Rub a warm teabag over the affected area for three minutes every day, for several consecutive days. Alternatively, you can keep the tea bag in water for some time and then remove all the excess water from it, into a bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of coconut water to this tea water. Dip a cotton ball into the mixture, and then place it on the affected area. Repeat this twice a day until you see the desired change on your skin.


Honey is a natural medicine that we use for various conditions and diseases. It has both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Apply honey to the affected area and allow it to dry. Then, wash it off with cold water.

Cucumber slices soothe infected ingrown hairs

The use of cucumber can be useful for this case as follows;

  1. Place a few slices of cucumber in a refrigerator, and after about half an hour.
  2. Gently rub the slices on the affected area.
  3. Alternatively, mash ½ a cucumber and mix it in 1/3 cup of milk.
  4. Refrigerate the mixture.
  5. Dip a cloth or cotton in the mixture and put it on the ingrown hair.
  6. After a few minutes, wash off with lukewarm water. Use the remedy twice a day, for a few days.

Aspirin for razor bumps

Aspirin which is a painkiller that we use often in our homes is also a perfect remedy for this condition. It alleviates symptoms associated with ingrown hair like inflammation and redness. What do you need to achieve this?

  1. Soak 2 aspirin tablets in 1 teaspoon of warm water.
  2. Add 1 teaspoon of honey to the paste.
  3. Apply it over the affected area and let it stay for at least 10 minutes.
  4. Rinse with warm water and pat dry. Use it one or two times a week.


Mix together ¼ cup of unused coffee grounds and 1 cup lukewarm water. Massage the mixture on the affected area for a few minutes, in a circular motion. Finally, rinse with lukewarm water. Moisturize with aloe Vera gel. The acidic properties of coffee make it easy to expose the trapped hair. Some of the herbal remedies you could consider are:

Aloe vera gel

Use pure aloe Vera gel and rub it on the skin. Let it dry and then rinse it off with warm water. Repeat two to three times in a day, for at least a week.

Tea tree oil for deep ingrown hair

Tea tree oil helps reduce swelling and redness caused by infected hairs. On a piece of cotton wool, dab a few drops of tea tree oil and keep it on the area of the ingrown bump and hair. The oil will facilitate the hair come out from beneath the skin and prevents further growth on the infected follicle. Better still, add a few drops to your body wash and use it to clean your body.

Sources and references



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