September 20, 2020

Some hair removal techniques can cause the hair to grow back into the skin.  An ingrown hair can be painful, and if removed inappropriately, it leads to scarring.

What is Ingrown Hair? Ingrown hair is a hair that curls and penetrates your skin with its tip causing bumps. According to the NHS, this inflammation, otherwise called razor bumps, is small skin pimples or spots that appear red, raised, and are itchy. 

Ingrown hair usually occurs when you use different hair removal techniques, including shaving with blunt razors, plucking, threading, waxing, or tweezing. It is common among people with dense and curly hair and mostly black men between the ages of 14 and 25.

What Causes Ingrown Hairs?

Ingrown hairs occur if the hair follicle is irritated. If you injure your skin during a hair removal process, it causes some hairs to get caught under the skin and grow back from a different angle.  It mostly occurs if the hair is removed from the base.

Ingrown hair can occur anywhere there is hair including in the armpit, bikini line, ears, legs, nose, eyelashes, and more. According to the National Library of Medicine (NLM), it is more common in the beard area for men and the bikini region for women.

It occurs if the hair gets trapped entirely or partially within the skin resulting in inflammation or infection, resulting in ingrown hair scars.


How to Prevent Ingrown Hair Scarring

To avoid scarring, don’t let the area get infected. Some of the things to do to prevent ingrown hair infection include:

  • Picking and trying to pop the pimples. Avoid digging at it.
  • Always clean and moisturize the area before and after shaving. Use a sharp razor with four or more blades and keep rinsing it in between the strokes.
  • You may also use warm compresses to keep the skin soft to enable the bumps to pop out on their own.
  • Also, avoid tweezing or shaving your hair to the base. Instead, let the hair grow and trim it. This will help reduce skin irritation and scarring. Alternatively, use electrolysis or laser hair removal method to remove the hair permanently.
  • If it’s in a covered location, avoid clothes that directly sit on it like tight clothes that rub against the skin to prevent irritation.
  • Try using a formulated gel and serums, like, Tend Skin. They can help your ingrown hairs come out more quickly.
  • Exfoliate your skin if you have coarse and curly hair. Exfoliation eliminates debris and dead skin cells clogging the skin’s pores or laying on the skin surface. Exfoliation can help minimize shave irritation and thus reduce the risk of infection.
  • After a shave, blast out the area with cold water, preferably icy temperatures. This helps close the skin pores and lower the risk of infection.


How to Deal with an infected ingrown hair

Infected ingrown hairs appear reddish. These red bumps tend to grow larger, itchy, and fill up with pus. Also, they feel warm when touched.

Here is how to deal with an infected ingrown hair:

  • Don’t pick at it nor try to remove the trapped hairs.
  • Let the area remain clean and moisturized.
  • Use warm compresses to help the hairs exit unassisted and to soothe the skin.
  • When on an exposed area like the face, always keep the tiny wounds covered and change the dressing often until the skin heals completely.
  • In case a scab has formed, avoid picking at it because this may worsen the scarring.
  • For treating infected hair, certain antibiotics can be helpful.

How to Treat Scarring and Hyperpigmentation

Ingrown hair infection, when rubbed or picked at can results in keloid scars or hyperpigmentation. A Keloid scar is usually smooth and slightly raised bumps that tend to grow beyond the scar tissue. Keloid scars can change color from the normal skin tone to reddish or pinkish.

Ingrown hair or infections can also result in post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PiH). The PiH also called pseudo scarring, is a skin reaction to inflammation or injury, which leads to an increase in melanin production. It appears as flat brown patches. They are more noticeable in people with dark skin than in light-colored skin.

Ingrown hair may cause severe scarring, which can be problematic for self-conscious people. Even though the scarring fades away with time, there are numerous home and professional procedures that you can use to minimize their appearance.


Ingrown Hair Scars Treatment Techniques

Several treatment approaches can help you get rid of ingrown hair depending on the state of your hair. You can try both home and professional treatment techniques.


1.   Home Remedies

Ingrown hair scars result from the healing process of a wound or skin infection caused by using specific hair removal techniques.  To help reduce the appearance of these scars, you can apply certain natural products.

Before application, allow the wound to heal completely. Make sure that the signs of infection have cleared fully. While some home remedies are more effective on a newly-formed scar, others can heal the old scars.

Here are the different home-based remedies that you can try to fade ingrown hair scars:

  • Green Tea

Green tea is effective in minimizing scarring. The tea contains compounds called catechins that have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.

According to anecdotal reports, topically applying green tea extracts on the scars has potential benefits, like making it fade.

Try placing a moistened green tea bag onto the scar. Alternatively, make a warm compress by dipping a face towel in a basin with freshly brewed warm green tea and place it on to the affected skin.

After applying the moistened tea, let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Repeat the process 3 to 4 times during the day. Within no time, your scars will be less noticeable.

You may also consider purchasing green tea extracts skincare products and apply them to the skin.

  • Essential Oils

Different essential oils have healing abilities and can help fade ingrown hair scars. When using essential oils on scar tissue, always dilute it with a carrier oil first. Some essential oils that you can try include:

  1. Lavender

      2. Tea Tree Oil

      3. Geranium Oil


Alternatively, apply products that contain essential oils. Read the product label and keenly follow the process.

  • Onion Extract Gel

Onion extracts have significant anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds. Reports say that using onion extract gel on the skin can reduce scars. You may also use skin care products that contain onion extracts such as Mederma scar cream.

  • Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is another perennial plant species with many medicinal properties. It can help treat different scars such as acne scars, burn scars, and even ingrown hair scars.

You can massage the fresh cream from an aloe vera on your skin daily for great results. All you need to do is cut the aloe vera leaf and use the gel that oozes out.  Alternatively, you can purchase a ready-made aloe vera gel.

Aloe Vera gel can tighten and soften your skin tissues. It reduces inflammation mainly when applied during the early scar-formation stages. Also, it helps increase new tissue elasticity. Apply it and leave it to dry up. Repeat this daily until you see results

  • Lemon Juice

Ingrown hair causes hyperpigmentation. Lemon juice has mild bleaching properties and thus is useful in lightening darker scars.

Also, it contains vitamin c, which is an essential element in wound healing. Soak a Q-tip or cotton ball in the juice and then dab it on the scar. Let it dry on the skin and then rinse with warm water. Repeat this process daily until you see the results.


2.   Professional Treatments

Different medical scar removal procedures and over-the-counter topical treatments can also help reduce ingrown hair scars.

  • Silicone Products

Silicone sheeting and silicone gel can help treat both new and old scars.  Applying silicone gel or sticking silicone sheets on the scar tissue can help in scar removal.

  • Cortisone Cream

Applying the cortisone cream on the ingrown hair bumps reduces the red appearance that results from inflammation. This cream for ingrown hair scars can be purchased over the counter, even without a prescription. Read the package instructions before applying to understand how it’s used.

The cream reduces inflammation and improves scar appearance. Always make sure that the wound is healed before applying it to the scar.

  • Lightning Cream

Lightening cream can help lighten the dark-colored scars. Only use the natural lightening creams or agents. 

Avoid the products that contain hydroquinone, as this can have a carcinogenic effect that can irritate the skin. Instead, use lightening skin obtained from mushrooms (kojic acid), or bearberry extracts (arbutin)

  • Retin-A/Tretinoin

Tretinoin is another ingrown hair treatment. Applying tretinoin on the skin clears dead skin cells. Always read the product instructions before use.

  • Laser-Filler Treatment

Laser therapy is an excellent treatment method that you can try. It can help make the skin even, and it encourages collagen production, which will fill up the pitted regions. 

The different types of laser and filler treatments include:

  1. Ablative lasers. This makes the skin surface smooth and flat.
  2. Non-ablative lasers. This treatment encourages the production of collagen, which in turn improves the skin appearance.
  3. Filler injections. In conjunction with laser treatments, you can get injected with fillers that improve the scar appearance. Use these injections every 4 to 6 months for great results.


Parting Shot

Ingrown hair scars can be prevented and treated. Always avoid sun exposure as it can impede the healing process. If you must be outside, use the sunscreen with an SPF of 50 or a wide-brimmed hat.