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Ask Dr. Schultz | Skin Care Guides | Ingrown hairs getting under your skin?

Ingrown hairs getting under your skin?

So how do we treat, and better yet prevent, these "ingrowns" from taking root?


Ingrowns can be random, occurring once a year or once in a lifetime (lucky you), but they are most often a result of some method of hair removal, such as shaving, plucking, threading or waxing. The fastest and most efficient way to treat these little buggers involves using a sterile needle to pop open the ingrown and force it out like you would a blackhead.

Eeek. Sounds scary. Dr. Schultz recommends that this be done in a dermatologist's office, and I can see why. So, how can one work this out at home?

Dr. Schultz recommends applying a warm (not hot) compress four times a day for a few minutes. After the compress apply an exfoliant, one with a salicylic- or glycolic-based concentration. And finally, after you've dabbed on the exfoliant, layer on a 1% hydrocortisone cream. This process will cause faster healing from the inside, or it will allow the hair follicle to come to a head and, eventually, fall out on its own.


If you're getting ingrowns from shaving, there are several things you can do to keep them from forming: shave at the end of your shower, with the grain, with a gel, and try not to push too hard with the razor. A close shave is the main cause of ingrowns. If you're getting ingrowns from waxing, you need to use another method of hair removal. Plain and simple.

If you have a reoccurring ingrown in the same place - which lasts for a period of a few months or a year - that hair follicle will likely die; if it doesn't, see your dermatologist for laser treatments. The use of lasers will kill the root and stop any growth completely.

So there you have it in a nutshell. I can't help but notice that, once again, exfoliants come to the rescue! Who knew they'd be so handy?

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