The 7 Best Ingrown Hair Treatments for Safe Removal

Tend Skin Solution is formulated with glycerin to promote cell turnover

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Whether you're shaving or waxing, ingrown hairs are a common byproduct of the hair removal process. They can form when a hair grows back into the skin and pierces it, causing the affected area to become sore, puss-filled, and painful. Inflammation, referred to as pseudofolliculitis, can also occur as a result of the hair reentering the skin's surface, explains Edidiong Kaminska, MD, MBS, of Kaminska Dermatology.

Reviewed & Approved

Formulated with isopropyl alcohol, acetylsalicylic acid, and glycerin, Tend Skin Solution promotes cell turnover and prevents ingrown hairs from forming. We recommend Anthony's Ingrown Hair Treatment for treating ingrowns located on your bikini line.

Ingrown hairs can resolve on their own as they grow out, but they "may become inflamed or infected if left untreated," says Jessie Cheung, MD, board-certified dermatologist. One of the most effective ways to treat and remove ingrown hairs is by using gels, oils, pads, and brushes, which "work to soften and exfoliate the skin chemically or mechanically," says Dr. Cheung, noting that many of these options are available over the counter.

When looking for an ingrown hair treatment, it's important to pick a product that has ingredients that prevent ingrown hairs, such as isopropyl alcohol, acetylsalicylic acid, and glycerin. We researched dozens of ingrown hair treatments and evaluated their ingredients, ease of use, area of usage, and affordability.

Below, you'll find the best ingrown hair treatments on the market.

Best Overall: Tend Skin Tend Skin Solution

4.8
Tend Skin The Skin Care Solution

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Can be used all over the body

  • Cruelty-free

  • May help reduce wrinkles

Cons
  • Should not be used on broken skin

  • May irritate sensitive skin

We chose Tend Skin Solution as the best overall for being effective and reasonably priced. It's formulated with isopropyl alcohol, acetylsalicylic acid, and glycerin to promote cell turnover, making ingrown hairs less likely to form. It also does double-duty as a facial toner and can remove layers of makeup as a cleanser or reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Apply a thin layer after shaving or waxing to reduce the appearance of bumps and redness.

Form: Liquid | Key Ingredients: Acetylsalicylic acid, glycerin | Dosage (Application Frequency): Apply only to dry skin morning and night

Best for Bikini Line: Anthony Ingrown Hair Treatment

Anthony Ingrown Hair Treatment

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Contains lavender to soothe irritated skin

  • Fights bacteria

  • Free of parabens and phthalates

Cons
  • Expensive

  • Can produce a tingling sensation

Infused with glycolic and phytic acids, Anthony Ingrown Hair Treatment exfoliates dead skin and clears your pores, while the salicylic acid fights bacteria before your hair becomes ingrown. The hint of willowherb and lavender act as soothing agents to moisturize and calm irritated skin.

What's more, the formula is free of parabens, phthalates, genetically modified substances, and triclosan, making it gentle enough to apply to your bikini line and face. If you experience irritation, stop the product and consult with your dermatologist.

Form: Gel | Key Ingredients: Glycolic acid, salicylic acid | Dosage (Application Frequency): Twice a day morning and night, whether you're shaving or not

Best Oil: Fur Ingrown Concentrate

 Fur Ingrown Concentrate

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Contains tea tree oil

  • Comes with an exfoliating finger mitt

  • Free of parabens and phthalates

Cons
  • Only available in 1-ounce bottles

  • May not work on oily skin

Tea tree oil, one of the key ingredients in Fur's Ingrown Concentrate, is an antimicrobial that eliminates excess oils in the pores. It's also packed with coconut oil, which penetrates the skin to expedite the healing process. Exfoliate with the finger mitt, which comes with your purchase, to help ingrown hairs loosen up, making them easier to come out since they're just under the skin's surface. It's free of phthalates, parabens, silicones, and fragrances, so you don't have to worry about the product irritating dry or sensitive skin.

While oils can act as a moisturizer, the wrong kind of oils can clog pores, especially if you have oily skin. Luckily, tea tree oil is non-comedogenic, which means that it won't clog pores.

Form: Oil | Key Ingredients: Coconut oil, tea tree oil | Dosage (Application Frequency): Use daily or more as needed

Best Scrub: OUAI Scalp & Body Scrub

OUAI Scalp & Body Scrub

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • All-natural ingredients

  • Exfoliates dead skin

  • Heals and nourishes the skin

Cons
  • Scented formula may be too strong for some

  • Expensive

Ingrown hairs can grow as a result of skin flakiness, so to get rid of excess skin cells, you'll want to have a body scrub in your skincare regimen. What makes the QUAI Scalp & Body Scrub the best body scrub is its formulation of sugar crystals, which sloughs off dead skin cells and prevents the pores from clogging. It's also packed with fatty acid-rich coconut oil to protect your skin from bacterial growth, and glycerin to improve your skin's texture and speed up your skin's healing process. It also includes probiotics, which have been used topically for treating eczema.

Form: Oil scrub | Key Ingredients: Glycerin, coconut oil | Dosage (Application Frequency): Once a week or as needed

Best for Legs: Bliss Bump Attendant Pads

Bliss Bump Attendant, Ingrown Hair Eliminating Pads

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Cruelty-free

  • Travel friendly

  • Gently exfoliates skin

Cons
  • 12-hour wait time after shaving

  • 24-hour wait time after waxing

The 25 single-use pads feature salicylic and glycolic acids, natural astringent witch hazel, and lavender oil to gently exfoliate the skin and prevent ingrown hairs from emerging. This product is best for legs because the pads can be easily applied after a shave. Measuring 3 x 2.5 inches, the container is slim and lightweight, making it travel-friendly. Before using them, it's recommended to wait 12 hours after shaving or 24 hours after waxing your legs.

Form: Single-use pads | Key Ingredients: Salicylic acid, glycolic acids | Dosage (Application Frequency): Use one pad daily

Best Natural: Bevel Spot Corrector

Bevel Spot Corrector

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Unscented

  • Ideal for all skin types

  • Hydrating

Cons
  • Expensive

If you're looking for an all-in-one solution, look no further than Bevel's Spot Corrector. Enriched with 9 percent of lactic acid, the corrector breaks down oils and dead skin cells that obstruct hairs. Add vitamin C, which reduces discoloration and hyperpigmentation, and shea butter, an emollient that softens dry skin and reduces swelling. It's also free of alcohol, parabens, sulfates, dyes, and artificial fragrance, making it ideal for all skin types. For best results, use it at night after washing your face and body.

Form: Serum | Key Ingredients: Lactic acid 9%, vitamin C | Dosage (Application Frequency): Once daily at night

Best Brush: Dylonic Exfoliating Brush Kit

Dylonic Ingrown Hair
Pros
  • Affordable

  • Comes with two additional tools for spot treatments

  • Exfoliates skin

Cons
  • Better for prevention and may not work for existing bumps

Ingrown hairs are often a result of dead skin buildup. That's why it's essential to have an exfoliating brush like this one from Dylonic in your hair removal toolkit. The brush's soft, silicone bristles remove dead skin cells that could add to ingrown hair growth. Bonus? The kit is affordable and includes a facial brush and a pair of tweezers for spot treatments. Use after showering to help prevent dry skin buildup.

Form: Silicone brush | Key Ingredients: Silicone, plastic | Dosage (Application Frequency): Once a week or more as needed

Final Verdict

The Tend Skin Solution promotes skin turnover, reduces the appearance of bumps, and is reasonably priced, making it our best overall choice for your hair removal needs. If you're looking for another well-rounded treatment option, give the Bevel Spot Corrector a try. It breaks down dead skin cells and sebum that obstruct growing hairs while moisturizing dry skin, making it a great all-in-one solution for ingrown hairs.

How We Selected

When selecting products for ingrown hair treatment, we spoke with dermatologists and spent hours combing the web for the best and most effective products. After taking all of our options into consideration, we determined which to feature based on a few key criteria as recommended by dermatologists: key ingredients, form, and dosage.

Once we narrowed down our options, we compared each treatment's benefits to its price tag. While some choices on our list may be more expensive, we wanted to give a wide range of options that would fit all needs and budgets. Based on all of these factors, we compiled this list of the best OTC ingrown hair treatments.

What to Look for in an Ingrown Hair Treatment

Ingredients

When looking for an ingrown hair treatment, Dr. Cheung recommends one with soothing botanicals, such as oils, or natural antiseptics like witch hazel, thyme, tea tree oil, and eucalyptus, to relieve inflammation.

You can also look for tretinoin and hydroquinone, which are known for preventing hyperpigmentation and can be commonly found in over-the-counter creams. But dermatologists say that some of the most effective ingredients to look for in products for your ingrown hair include salicylic acid, retinoids, and alcohol.

Salicylic Acid: This is key to look for in ingrown hair treatments, especially over-the-counter ones. "Salicylic acid will chemically exfoliate the top layer of dead skin to prevent hairs from getting trapped underneath and prepare the surface for a smoother shave," Dr. Cheung says.

"Products with salicylic acid can help smooth the skin to help the skin turnover," adds Dr. Kaminska. "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."

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: This is another ingredient to look out for when selecting an ingrown hair treatment. Similar to salicylic acid, retinoids "speed up cell turnover to unclog pores while also decreasing inflammation," which is common when hair curves back into the skin, Dr. Cheung explains. Because retinoids can cause sun sensitivity, it's best to err on the side of caution and use retinoid-based products sparingly when spending excessive amounts of time in the sun.

Alcohol: Alcohol is a key ingredient in in-grown hair treatments. Like antibiotics, alcohol can eliminate bacteria and reduce your risk of post-shave infections. It can also be used to "disinfect your needle or tweezer used for plucking the ingrown hair," adds Dr. Cheung.

Area of Usage

Ingrown hairs can grow anywhere on your body and should be treated differently depending on where they're located. Some exfoliating treatments may cause irritation on your bikini area that it wouldn't cause on another part of the body. Think of where the treatment will be applied and select a treatment based on the sensitivity of that area. "Your face and bikini area will be more sensitive than the arms and legs, which have thicker skin, so be gentle with harsh exfoliants," Dr. Cheung says.

Form

Ingrown hair treatments are not a one-size-fits-all solution and may not fit everyone. That's why it's important to understand the different options. The most commonly used treatments are: 

  • Oils: Can prevent ingrown hairs and heal the affected area
  • Gel: Smooths skin and prevents redness
  • Pads: Gently exfoliate and resurface the skin, leaving skin soft and smooth
  • Brushes: Have bristles that slough off dead skin cells, smoothing the skin and keeping it bump-free between hair removal sessions

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Should I pop an ingrown hair?

    Popping an ingrown hair is not the best option because it can cause scarring and hyperpigmentation, according to Dr. Cheung. Instead, use warm compresses and gentle exfoliation techniques. Use an astringent to remove the buildup that may be trapping the hair under the skin. Doing this for 10 minutes will bring the hair close to the skin, making it easier to remove.

  • When should you seek professional treatment for ingrown hair?

    Call your dermatologist if you have an ingrown hair that is re-occurring frequently or creates hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin). Dr. Cheung also recommends "visiting your dermatologist if your ingrown hair develops signs of infection such as pus, swelling, and increased redness and warmth."

  • Can ingrown hairs cause cysts?

    Yes. "An ingrown hair can become a cyst when the body builds a wall around the hair to protect itself, surrounding the hair like a balloon," Dr. Cheung explains. It may be red, white, or yellow, and could be tender to touch due to infections. Cysts or infections that aren't treated or don't resolve can spread and cause scarring.

  • How can you prevent ingrown hairs?

    The best steps to prevent ingrown hair is to prep your skin before and after shaving, and shave in the direction of hair growth, says Dr. Cheung. "Start using gentle exfoliants regularly, and when you do shave, always use a shaving cream to lubricate and soften the hair, use a sharp blade, and don't pull the skin too tight for a close shave." Apply a soothing moisturizer after shaving to reduce irritation. Not a fan of shaving? Opt for laser hair removal or use depilatories, instead. You can also take the following measures 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."

Why Trust Verywell Health

Kayla Hui is a public health journalist and writer who focuses on the social determinants of health and the impact it has on disadvantaged communities. In 2020, she won a Pulitzer Center Fellowship and Slants Foundation Award for her reporting on the mental health of Chinese immigrant truck drivers. Her reporting on the impacts of coastal flooding on the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe can be found on Toward Freedom.

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3 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Advanced Dermatology & Skin Cancer Association. Ingrown Hair.

  2. Cleveland Clinic. Best Way to Handle an Ingrown Hair.

  3. Dermatology Skin Cancer Surgery Center. Removal of Ingrown Hair Cysts.