Helpful Tips & Tricks

How to Prevent Ingrown Hairs

Asian man picking

Razor burn and ingrown hairs are a common problem many guys who shave have. But learning how to prevent ingrown hairs can keep your skin feeling soft and smooth while preventing redness, irritation, and possible skin infection. Fortunately, by following a few tricks and tips you can avoid this type of skin issue and ensure a softer, smoother, cleaner shave.

The Truth About Ingrown Hairs

Do you find yourself dealing with small and large red bumps that keep popping up after you shave? These are ingrown hairs. An ingrown hair occurs when a hair curls back on itself during the growing process and re-enters the skin.

Everyone will get an ingrown hair at some point. In some cases, you may be lucky enough to end up with just a single ingrown hair, but more often than not razor bumps can be caused by neglect and a bad shaving process. If you’re prone to ingrown hairs, then you definitely need to rethink your normal facial hair regimen.

Growing a Beard

If you’re just really bad at shaving and find yourself often rushing through the process, then maybe it’s time to give your skin a break and grow out a full beard. Growing a magnificent full beard can help save your skin a lot of wear and tear, just as long as you have a good beard trimmer.


Man washing face

Exfoliating the skin is done in order to remove dead skin cells that can end up trapping hairs, turning them into ingrown hairs. To exfoliate, use a facial scrub and lightly scrub your face before you shave.

If you’ve never tried exfoliating before you’ll be surprised and impressed with how smooth it leaves your skin, in addition to the fact that it can help significantly reduce the chances of ingrown hairs.

Use Heat

Place a hot towel over your face prior to shaving, or you can shave as soon as you get out of the hot shower. Heat works by opening up the pores, which will allow you to get a cleaner and closer shave without skin irritation. This is one of the best ways to avoid any skin issues after shaving.

Sharp Tools

Whatever type of razor you use to shave your face make sure that it’s clean and sharp. If you use the best electric razor, make sure that you clean it out regularly and keep it oiled. If you use a disposable razor, make sure you toss it out once it becomes dull. Many men are guilty of using a razor that’s past its time which can easily lead to skin irritation and pesky ingrown hairs. A dull blade will tug at facial hair, which is one of the common causes of ingrown hairs.

To learn more, click here to read my article on how to clean a razor blade.

Shaving with the Grain

Shaving with the grain is not the easiest way to shave and it doesn’t result in the smoothest shave either. Additionally, facial hair doesn’t grow in the same direction. When you’re shaving your face make sure that you follow the direction of hair growth, using as few strokes as possible. While this may be a more time-consuming way to shave and it won’t leave your skin quite a soft it’s a great way to avoid skin irritation.

Shaving Products

Shave with warm water and use a shaving gel or cream. Many men can admit that they avoid using shaving products and decide to rough it and use hot water alone. But the addition of a soothing shaving gel or cream can help prevent ingrown hairs and skin irritation in general. Avoid using a shaving foam since it can dry out your skin and lead to a whole other range of issues. If possible, use a clear gel and lather it up well. If you want to shave your face with an electric razor, make sure you purchase one that you can use for both wet and dry shaves.

Shaving Closer

The standard manual razor can do plenty of damage especially if you’re pressing too hard when you shave. In order to achieve a shave that feels and looks close, without damaging your skin, use an electric shaver instead. Electric shavers work better to protect the skin since they have a cover place that’s designed to prevent them from getting too close to the skin to cause irritation or cuts. This will help to prevent nicks and ingrown hairs as well.


Using the best electric razor can provide a more comfortable shave that’s closer, even for those with sensitive skin. Electric shavers have been proven to reduce irritation, redness, razor burn, and ingrown hairs. So, if you find yourself dealing with ingrown hairs more often than not then an electric shaver is the best solution for you. Many models can be used for both dry and wet shaves, are easy to care for, and are designed to smoothly glide over the skin without the risk of cuts or nicks.

Ingrown Hair Care

It’s not always possible to prevent ingrown hairs, but if you do develop one make sure that you leave it alone for a day or two, in order to see if it ends up drying out. Avoid digging into it or squeezing it using tweezers or your nails, since this can result in a secondary skin infection or can make the ingrown hair appear larger and stick around for longer.

  • Even if you’ve done everything right, ingrown hairs happen. If the ingrown hair is minor it can be left alone and will usually go away on its own without you needing to intervene. However, if the ingrown hair is close to the skin you may need to use a sterile pair of tweezers to gently release it. Avoid digging into the hair if it lies deep beneath the surface of the skin since this can result in scarring.
  • If you’re dealing with ingrown hairs that are stubborn and painful, the first thing you need to do in terms of treatment is to stop shaving in that area. If you continue to shave your face, this will simply aggravate the sensitive area even more.
  • For immediate relief, place a warm compress on the area. This will cause the hair to slowly surface. You can gently pull on the hair once it emerges using a pair of sterile tweezers.
  • However, you’ll want to avoid completely pulling it out until the area is fully healed.
  • Next, gently cleanse the area and exfoliate the skin around the ingrown hair in order to help it return to the surface of the skin.
  • If the hair is causing a lot of inflammation and redness you may need to speak with your doctor who can prescribe a type of steroid cream that will reduce irritation and swelling around the hair follicle.
  • Retinoid creams can help to speed up the healing process by removing dead skin cells from the area. Additionally, they can also clear up any dark patches of skin that form around ingrown hairs.
  • If the ingrown hair ends up infected, the bump may become filled with pus and will be very tender and sore. In order to safely treat this type of infection, you may need to make an appointment with your doctor.

Home Treatment

  • You can try using over-the-counter treatments that can relieve pain and minimize inflammation.
  • Some experts recommend exfoliating using glycolic or salicylic acid. Both of these products are designed to keep hair follicles open so the hair will not become trapped again. However, avoid using these products if you have broken skin since it’s can irritate the area.
  • You can also try using a benzoyl peroxide cream, a product that’s often used to help dry up blemishes and acne while reducing redness and irritation to the affected area.
  • Use a non-greasy moisturizer in order to get rid of dead skin cells which can clog hair follicles and can cause ingrown hairs.
  • In terms of home remedies, tea tree oil is a great choice and one that will quickly bring down swelling while killing bacteria. It can also be used to treat acne and can do a great job of getting rid of ingrown hairs quickly.
  • Sugar can be used as a natural exfoliator when mixed with almond oil or olive oil. This natural exfoliator will not only remove dead skin cells, but it will also leave your skin feeling soft and hydrated.
  • Baking soda can also work to bring down inflammation and acts as a natural exfoliant. To use, just mix one tablespoon of baking soda with a cup of warm water and apply with a cotton ball to the affected area.

Final Thoughts

Learning how to prevent ingrown hairs can save you a lot of hassle, discomfort, and frustration. Remember, taking the proper precautions including exfoliating the skin, keeping it hydrated, following a safe and proper shaving regimen, and using the right tools to shave,  can all help to keep your skin healthy and feeling smooth and looking great. While it’s not possible to prevent ingrown hairs indefinitely, by following the tips included in my guide you will significantly reduce the risk and frequency, in which you have to deal with it.