The 7 Best Ingrown Hair Treatments of 2021

Smooth skin and prevent irritation

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Ingrown hairs are a common consequence of the hair removal process, whether through shaving or waxing. Ingrown hair occurs when a growing hair curls back into the skin and pierces it, sometimes causing a type of inflammation that's referred to as pseudofolliculitis, Our skin's immune system reacts to the hair entering back into the skin, explains Edidiong Kaminska, M.D., MBS of Kaminska Dermatology. This causes a lot of inflammation, which is why the area around the ingrown hair can become sore, puss-filled, or painful. 

Anyone can have ingrown hairs, but it can happen more frequently to people with curly or coarse hair because “it has coils or curls, and the curls can pierce and grow into the skin,” expounds Dr. Kaminska.

To prevent ingrown hairs:

  • Stop shaving or waxing for a period of time to allow the hairs to grow longer
  • Use a lubricating gel or cream for 5 to 10 minutes so that the hair is soft prior to shaving
  • Use a single edge razor (not double or triple blades) to shave in the direction of hair growth
  • Avoid stretching the skin prior to shaving


In addition to serums and creams, Dr. Kaminska says another effective way to prevent ingrown hairs when shaving is to use sensitive shaving foam “because it softens the hair—and when the hair is softer, it’s less likely to pierce the skin.”

Sometimes you can develop ingrown hairs even when you use these preventative steps.

When it comes to helping patients treat ingrown hairs, Dr. Kaminska tends to prescribe clindamycin, to help take away inflammation, and tretinoin, which is “a vitamin A derivative that allows the skin cells to turn over, to rejuvenate, and helps with inflammation as well.” Although these are prescriptions, there are effective formulas—in the form of serums or creams that you can buy over-the-counter to manage the aftereffects of hair removal.

Here are some of the best ingrown hair treatments on the market.

Our Top Picks
Can also be used as a cleanser, removing layers of makeup and reducing the appearance of wrinkles.
Infused with willowherb and lavender to soothe and moisten irritated skin.
Contains tea tree oil, which kills bacteria and brings down swelling.
It helps you prep your skin before shaving to prevent ingrown hairs.
Perfect for use between waxing and shaving sessions, these pads smooth the skin while exfoliating it.
Not only does it target ingrown hairs, but it also reduces whiteheads, acne bumps, and hyperpigmentation.
Includes a body brush, a facial brush, and a pair of tweezers for spot treatments.

Best Overall: Tend Skin Tend Skin Solution

Tend Skin The Skin Care Solution

Not only is Tend Skin perfect for those who struggle with ingrown hairs on a regular basis, but its formula is reasonably priced. A thin layer of Tend Skin is meant to be applied after the hair removal process to reduce bumps and redness.

It can also be applied to the face as a cleanser, removing layers of makeup and reducing the appearance of wrinkles.

Best for Bikini Line: Anthony Ingrown Hair Treatment

Anthony Ingrown Hair Treatment

A combination of salicylic, glycolic, and phytic acids, Anthony Ingrown Hair Treatment removes dead skin by exfoliating, clearing out pores, fighting bacteria, and freeing hair before it can become ingrown. The powerful formula is infused with willowherb and lavender to soothe irritated skin and moisten it.

This paraben-free ingrown hair treatment is gentle enough to use on both the face and bikini area, but if you have irritation, stop using this product immediately and consult your dermatologist.

Best Oil: Fur Ingrown Concentrate

 Fur Ingrown Concentrate

Made with all-natural ingredients, Fur Ingrown Concentrate helps target ingrown hairs and eliminate them. The mitt is meant to be used to exfoliate any areas of ingrown hairs or can just be used for extra buffing. Dr. Kaminska says gentle exfoliation helps ingrown hairs to come out since the hair under the bump is close to the surface. She explains that you can also use a tweezer to lift the hair out, but doesn’t recommend digging in there.

The Fur Ingrown concentrate, including tea tree oil and coconut oil, is meant to be used on ingrown hairs that have already sprouted or to be applied daily on sensitive skin to prevent bumps. 

The serum contains tea tree oil, which helps kill bacteria and bring down swelling. By soothing bumps and redness, Fur helps the skin to appear clear and flattens out pores. Whether waxing or shaving, the vegan and cruelty-free solution is said to make regrowth appear finer and reduce razor burns.

Best Scrub: OUAI Scalp & Body Scrub

OUAI Scalp & Body Scrub

Whether you suffer from ingrown hairs or not, a reliable body scrub is always a great thing to have on hand. And if you notice ingrown hairs popping up often, OUAI Scalp & Body Scrub is a must. This scrub helps prep skin before shaving to prevent ingrown hairs by unclogging pores, gently exfoliating the skin to remove buildup, and adding moisture to dry patches.

Surface flakiness can promote ingrown hairs, and the coconut oil in the scrub contains fatty acids that moisturize the skin, which can help reduce the number of ingrown hairs that pop up. It also includes probiotics, which have been used topically for treating eczema.

Best for Legs: Bliss Bump Attendant Pads

Bliss Bump Attendant, Ingrown Hair Eliminating Pads

Perfect for use between waxing and shaving sessions, Bliss Bump Attendant pads smooth the skin while exfoliating it. They can be used daily to smooth areas of the skin, but you have to wait at least 12 hours after shaving and 24 hours after waxing before using them.

Each container comes with 25 single-use pads saturated with salicylic and glycolic acids, natural astringent witch hazel, and lavender oil, making for a powerful, yet gentle solution that prevents ingrown hair and leaves the skin bump-free. Since the container is relatively thin, it’s super-convenient to carry with you wherever you go.

Best Natural: Bevel Spot Corrector

Bevel Spot Corrector

This spot corrector from Bevel is the perfect all-in-one ingrown hair solution. Not only does it target ingrown hairs, but it also reduces whiteheads, acne bumps, and hyperpigmentation.

Bevel Spot Corrector includes Vitamin C and nine percent Lactic Acid; together they aid in controlling ingrown hairs, smoothing rough skin, and evening out the complexion. Additionally, the serum incorporates shea butter, green tea extract, and is free of alcohol, parabens, sulfates, dyes, artificial fragrance, and much more. Something to note is that while Bevel is a men’s grooming company, this product is unisex and can be used on all skin types. Ideally, it’s meant to be used nightly after washing your face or body. 

Best Brush: Dylonic Exfoliating Brush Kit

Dylonic Ingrown Hair

Ingrown hairs are often a result of dead skin buildup. A soft, silicone brush like this one from Dylonic is a great way to manually help to remove dead skin that could add to ingrown hair growth. The kit includes a body brush, a facial brush, and a pair of tweezers for spot treatments. Use after showering to help prevent dry skin buildup.

Final Verdict

Fur Ingrown Concentrate (available on Amazon) heals, exfoliates, cleans, smoothes, moistens, and relieves redness all at once, making it a great first choice when looking for an ingrown hair treatment. If you're new to battling ingrown hairs and want to start with something that gives you general, well-rounded treatment, Tend Skin (available on Amazon) is another great place to start.

What to Look for in an Ingrown Hair Treatment

“Ingrown hairs can cause hyperpigmentation, especially in skin of color. So, the best way to treat that is prevention,” explains Dr. Kaminska. Salicylic acid and tretinoin, along with hydroquinone—which can be found in over-the-counter creams—are known to help prevent hyperpigmentation.

Salicylic Acid

This is key to look for in ingrown hair treatments, especially over-the-counter ones. Salicylic acid helps to allow the skin to turn over, making ingrown hairs less likely. This ingredient is included in a lot of ingrown hair products, but those with sensitive skin should be wary of its effects. If the product you're using is irritating your skin, stop using the treatment and contact your dermatologist.

Retinoids

A derivative of vitamin A, retinoids help the skin turnover, similarly to salicylic acid. It also decreases inflammation, which is common when hair curves back into the skin. This is another ingredient to look out for when selecting an ingrown hair treatment. However, retinoids can cause sun sensitivity, so use sparingly when spending excessive amounts of time in the sun.

Area of Usage

Ingrown hairs on your bikini area should be treated differently than ingrown hairs on your legs. When looking for an ingrown hair treatment, think about the area of your body where you'll be using it and select accordingly. For your bikini area, a harsh, highly exfoliating treatment may cause irritation that it wouldn't cause on another area of the body.

"Products with salicylic acid can help smooth the skin to help the skin turnover. We get new skin cells every two weeks approximately, and so, when you use something like salicylic acid, it helps those cells on the surface shed faster, helps the skin to stay clear, and prevents those ingrown hairs from forming.”Edidiong Kaminska, M.D., MBS of Kaminska Dermatology

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Having been raised by two medical professionals, Amari Pollard understands the importance of health literacy. As a seasoned health writer, she is committed to producing well-researched and well-sourced product reviews to help people make informed medical decisions.

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