Ingrown hairs—these two little words conjure up so much dread. As the bane of our quest for smooth, stubble-free skin, ingrown hairs are an annoyance at best and cause for serious concern at worst (trust us—you don't want to see what they look like when they get infected). Whether they're springing up as bumps on your legs or wreaking havoc on your bikini line, ingrown hairs are an unwelcome guest that can lead to serious discomfort, inflammation, and even scarring.
Enough is enough—we decided it was time to tackle this thorn in our side—er, skin—once and for all. Ahead, you'll find five DIY ways you can banish them for good. Pesky bumps, begone! Here's how to get rid of ingrown hairs with household products you already have lying around. Silky-smooth skin is just around the corner.
Keep reading to learn about the simple steps that banish bumps and keep ingrown hairs at bay.
The cause of ingrown hairs isn't complicated. Simply put, when your hair starts to grow, sometimes it curls inward and gets trapped back under the surface of your skin. This can happen because dead skin cells clog up your hair follicle (so always, always exfoliate), but ingrown's also exist just because of your hair's natural growth pattern—so, unfortunately, those with curly hair may suffer the most.
The best way to prevent ingrown hairs is to exfoliate (gently) before shaving or waxing. You can either do so with a physical scrub (we like the Aqua Svelte Slimming Scrub, $65, by Orlane) or with a product that contains glycolic acid, like Peter Thomas Roth's Blemish Buffing Beads ($25).
Glycolic acid is an Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) typically derived from sugar cane and other plants such as pineapple and sugar beets, that works to exfoliate the outermost layer of dead skin cells.
Salicylic acid is another ingredient to look for—it'll clear out bacteria and prevent infection. If you prefer at-home alternatives, we've got you covered with our favorite DIY fixes below.
DIY #1: Aspirin Honey Treatment
Here's a tip: Aspirin actually contains salicylic acid, which makes it the perfect ingredient for a DIY treatment. Also, honey has natural hydrating, antiseptic, and antibacterial properties, so the two of them will help ward off infection and reduce swelling when applied to your skin. Here's how to make the treatment:
3 uncoated aspirin tablets
1 tsp. honey
1/2 to 1 tsp. water or oil
- Add warm water or oil to a bowl
- Add in honey
- Crush aspirin tablets
- Mix together
- Leave the mask on for 10 minutes
- Wipe off entirely with warm water
DIY #2: Tea-Tree Oil Soak
A warm water soak opens up pores and loosens ingrown hair. Make sure the temperature isn't too hot, and let the warm water do its thing. These soaks are also great stress-relievers and can be done at least twice a day.
Tea tree oil
- Warm 8 ounces of water in a bowl
- Add about 20 drops of tea tree oil
- Use a clean washcloth to apply the mixture to the affected area
DIY #3: Coconut Oil Sugar Scrub
Coconut oil is hydrating, keeps skin moisturized, and reduces inflammation. It's basically our winter skin savior. Use this scrub daily until you see an improvement, then you can switch to two to three times a week.
1 cup of raw sugar
1/2 cup of coconut oil
10 drops of tea tree oil, or your preferred essential oil
- Combine sugar and coconut oil in a bowl
- Add in essential oil
- Mix together
- Apply and then rinse using warm water
- Dry with a clean towel
DIY #4: Black Tea Bag Treatment
Tea is known to have many natural healing properties and black tea, in particular, contains anti-inflammatory properties, soothing skin and helping to reduce redness. It also contains antioxidants like caffeine (Which, aside from being part of our morning routine, also has great anti-aging and preventative acne benefits).
They're simple enough...
1 black tea bag
- Heat water
- Dip tea bag to moisten
- Apply tea bag to the affected area
- Let sit for 2-3 minutes
DIY #5: Baking Soda Treatment
Here's a great combo: Baking Soda, which is said to be a great exfoliator, helps reduce and prevent ingrown hairs. Oatmeal has a soothing effect, reducing redness and irritation caused by exfoliation.
1 tbsp. baking soda
1 cup of water
1 tbsp. ground oatmeal
- Mix baking soda and oatmeal together
- Add water to the bowl
- Stir until it has a paste-like texture
- Using a cotton pad, scoop up the mixture
- Apply to the affected area and let sit for 10 minutes
- Rinse with warm water
Let us know if any of these DIY remedies helped with the ingrown hair sitch, and if you have any additional tricks, feel free to share them with us!