The 9 Best Ingrown Hair Treatments to Keep Your Skin Calm and Bump-Free

Topicals High Roller Ingrown Hair Tonic prevents ingrown hairs while soothing skin

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A woman plucks an ingrown hair from her leg

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Nobody likes ingrown hairs — especially when they appear on your chin, bikini line, or underarms. Not only are these bumps annoying to look at, they can also be very painful and irritating. “Ingrown hairs appear when hair begins to grow directly in the skin rather than through the skin,'' says Tomi Oyelowo, Licensed Esthetician and Owner of True Beauty & Skin in Raleigh, North Carolina. “This typically occurs when the hair is broken from the strand instead of the bulb during the hair removal process."

When ingrown hairs are left untreated, they can create redness, bumps, and itchy skin and are likely to recur — especially if not treated properly. This is where ingrown hair treatments come in handy. Although ingrown hairs typically go away on their own, Oyelowo says that products like body polish and exfoliating tonics can help speed up the process (and prevent ingrowns from reappearing). But with tons of at-home ingrown hair treatments available, it can be frustrating trying to find one that works for your skin type and needs. To take the guesswork out, we compiled this list of the best ingrown hair treatments on the market. Topicals High Roller Ingrown Hair Tonic claimed the top spot for the convenient roll-on application that can be used anywhere on the body.

Whether you experience ingrown bumps along your bikini line, or on your legs or face, keep reading for the nine best ingrown hair treatments of 2022.

Best Overall: Topicals High Roller Ingrown Hair Tonic

Topicals High Roller Ingrown Hair Tonic

Sephora

What We Love: It rolls on like deodorant for easy application.

What We Don’t Love: Though it helps to soothe skin, it doesn’t moisturize.

You may be familiar with Topicals’ internet-loved hyperpigmentation serum, Faded, but the brand’s ingrown tonic deserves just as much praise — if not more. The lightweight serum is made with a potent cocktail of ingredients to effectively exfoliate and calm irritated skin post-shave, and prevent new ingrowns from forming. Salicylic acid targets bumps and penetrates pores to prevent build-up, and zinc PCA helps reduce redness and skin irritation while glycolic acid exfoliates and smooths the skin's texture. Though the formula is powerful, it’s still gentle enough for sensitive areas like your chin, underarms, and bikini line because it’s alcohol- fragrance- and paraben-free. Simply roll the dermatologist-tested stick along the affected areas like you would deodorant. Your skin will immediately feel soothed, and, according to hundreds of reviews, after about three days, ingrown hairs will be less prominent.

Size: 1.7 fl oz | Product Type: Roll-on Serum | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Leave-On Time: No rinse necessary

Best Splurge: Obagi Professional-C Microdermabrasion Polish & Mask

Obagi Professional-C Microdermabrasion Polish & Mask

Dermstore

What We Love: The multipurpose mask can be used on your face and body.

What We Don’t Love: Because it’s scented, it might not be the best pick for sensitive skin.

Say goodbye to those annoying ingrown hairs and say hello to smooth and moisturized skin with this multipurpose polishing mask. Not only does it help to exfoliate and prevent ingrown hairs, it’s also formulated with vitamin C and botanical oils to leave your skin feeling fresher, smoother, and brighter. “Since the key to ingrown hair prevention is exfoliation and softening the skin, this mask is an excellent choice,” says Caleb McGrew, a Licensed Esthetician and Owner of SknElements in Miami. “On top of being a great exfoliator, the botanicals help soothe and hydrate the skin, while vitamin C targets hyperpigmentation which often accompanies ingrown hairs.” Though the mask is medical grade, it does cause a tingling sensation, which may be too intense for those with sensitive skin.

Size: 2.8 fl oz | Product Type: Mask | Cruelty-Free: No | Leave-On Time: 10-15 minutes

Best Peel: Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Exfoliating Body Treatment Peel

Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Exfoliating Body Treatment

Sephora

What We Love: The swipe-and-go peel is super easy to use.

What We Don’t Love: It’s expensive for a single-use towelette.

Filled with polishing chemical exfoliants and skin-firming bakuchiol, this dermatologist-favorite body treatment helps diminish ingrown hairs and even out skin texture. The combination of alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs) exfoliates the skin on multiple levels to clear out pore-clogging debris (including ingrown hairs), and speed up cell turnover. Simply swipe the paraben-free towelettes over any ingrowns, keratosis pilaris, or blemishes to degunk and smooth. While we love the swipe-and-go format, we do wish this treatment came with more towelettes or wasn’t just single use.

Size: 2 Pack |  Product Type: Exfoliating Peel Pad | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Leave-On Time: No rinse necessary

Best for Face: Vivant Mandelic Acid 3-in-1 Exfoliating Cleanser

Vivant Mandelic Acid 3-in-1 Exfoliating Cleanser

Amazon

What We Love: Because it’s made with mandelic acid, it’s a great option for those with darker skin tones.

What We Don’t Love: It can be drying, so this may not be the best option for those with dry skin.

To avoid hyperpigmentation or scarring, you need a gentle yet effective exfoliant to tackle ingrown hairs on your face — that’s why we’ve been grabbing the Vivant Mandelic Acid 3-in-1 Exfoliating Cleanser for years. Along with washing away dirt and debris, it also helps to balance and brighten your skin tone thanks to mandelic acid, which is the safest AHA for darker skin tones. Use twice daily to effectively unclog pores, cleanse your skin, and keep your complexion smooth.

Size: 4 fl oz |  Product Type: Cleanser | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Leave-On Time: Three to five minutes

Best for Body: PCA SKIN Daily Body Therapy Lotion

PCA SKIN Daily Body Therapy Lotion

Dermstore

What We Love: The luxe body moisturizer helps prevent ingrown hairs while simultaneously hydrating and smoothing skin.

What We Don’t Love: It’s not travel-friendly.

Keeping your skin moisturized and hydrated is important to prevent unwanted ingrown hairs — and the PCA Skin Body Therapy moisturizer does just that with ingredients like jojoba oil, barley extract, and shea butter. The secret star ingredient, though, is lactic acid which works to reduce pigmentation and wrinkles while also gently exfoliating. The unique formulation leaves your skin silky and fends off ingrown hairs for good.

Size: 7 fl oz | Product Type: Body Cream | Cruelty-Free: No | Leave-On Time: No rinse necessary

Best for Bikini Line: Tend Skin Tend Skin Solution

4.8
Tend Skin The Skin Care Solution

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Love: It’s gentle enough for sensitive areas like the bikini line.

What We Don’t Love: It has a very liquidy consistency.

The bikini line is one of the most common places for ingrown hairs to occur — and it’s also one of the most sensitive. Enter: The Tend Skin Razor Bump Solution. The cruelty-free formula helps to clear ingrowns and reduce redness from razor burn by using a topical aspirin (aka acetylsalicylic acid or ASA). It isn’t just great to use pre- and post-shaving, though. If you prefer waxing, gently swipe it along the bikini line with a cotton ball to minimize the sting before treatment. One important thing to note is that it’s meant to be used on dry rather than wet skin, so it’s best to avoid using it in the shower.

Size: 4 fl oz | Product Type: Post-Shower Tonic | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Leave-On Time: No rinse necessary

Best for Post-Wax: GiGi No Bump Solution

Gigi No Bump Topical Solution

Walmart

What We Love: The travel-friendly bottle is completely leak-proof.

What We Don’t Love: It works best when used three to four days before waxing, so you’ll have to remember to apply it before your appointment.

Though you’re less likely to experience ingrown hairs when waxing, they can still appear. Luckily, this topical solution not only helps to prevent them from forming but also minimizes itchiness associated with waxing. Made with a combination of hydrating and exfoliating ingredients like glycerin and salicylic acid, it works to soothe, exfoliate, and unclog pores so you’re left with smooth, bump-free skin that lasts for weeks. Though you can apply it pre- or post-wax, it’s recommended to swipe it on three to four days before your treatment for the best results.

Size: 4 fl oz | Product Type: Liquid Tonic Cruelty-Free: No | Leave-On Time: No rinse necessary

Best Exfoliating: Jack Black Bump Fix Razor Bump & Ingrown Hair Solution

Jack Black Bump Fix™ Razor Bump & Ingrown Hair Solution

Sephora

What We Love: Formulated with soothing ingredients, it keeps skin moisturized long after use.

What We Don’t Love: It can be irritating for those with sensitive skin.

Although most ingrown hair treatments contain one type of exfoliating agent, this dermatologist-tested formula uses a combination of AHAs and BHAs to chemically exfoliate. The salicylic acid (a BHA) gently dissolves surface-level dead skin cells — where ingrown hairs can get trapped — while lactic acid (an AHA) works as a second exfoliant layer that also softens and moisturizes the skin. Soothing ingredients like aloe leaf and organic chamomile are utilized to rehydrate skin, too.

Size: 6 fl oz | Product Type: Liquid Tonic | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Leave-On Time: No rinse necessary

Best Oil: Fur Ingrown Concentrate

4.8
 Fur Ingrown Concentrate

Amazon

What We Love: This oil-based formula moisturizes the skin and is gentle enough for all skin types.

What We Don’t Love: It’s not fragrance-free.

For those with dry skin, tonics can sometimes exasperate the issue. Instead, one of the best solutions is reaching for a moisturizing oil that combats ingrowns and dry skin at the same time. This luxurious solution combines hydrating and antimicrobial oils including coconut, tea tree, tamanu, and chamomile to help banish post-shaving ingrowns and bumps, and replenish your skin. It’s gentle enough to use on the most sensitive areas (yes, even your bikini line), and it comes with an exfoliating mitt to buff away dead skin.

Size: 0.5 fl oz | Product Type: Oil | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Leave-On Time: No rinse necessary

What to Keep in Mind

Type of Exfoliant

Most ingrown hair treatments will be a physical exfoliant, chemical treatment, or sometimes a mixture of both. Physical exfoliants utilize ingredients (like sugar or salt) to physically rub off dead skin cells. Chemical exfoliants, on the other hand, employ AHAs and BHAs to dissolve away dead skin. Common chemical exfoliants include glycolic, lactic and salicylic acid. When it comes to choosing which one is right for you, take your skin type into consideration. Physical exfoliants can give you immediate results, but can be too abrasive for those with sensitive skin; whereas chemical exfoliants can be drying so it may be best to avoid them if you have dry skin.

Body Part

Some ingrown hair treatments can be used anywhere on the body while others are meant for specific body parts — especially sensitive areas like the face, bikini line, and underarms. Ingredients like green tea extract, chamomile extract, and willowherb extract are included in ingrown hair treatments to help reduce irritation, but can sometimes be too harsh for areas like the bikini line. Be sure to look for treatments that speak to your specific concerns.

Formulas

You can find all different types of ingrown hair treatments, from tonics and creams to oils and wipes. All of the treatment formats can help ingrowns, but may also provide additional benefits like exfoliation and hydration. Tonics are typically applied post-shave or wax and can help instantly reduce irritation and redness. Creams and oils help keep skin moisturized and hydrated. For a disposable option, wipes are for one time use and do not need to be rinsed off. Whatever formula you choose depends on your personal preference. 

Your Questions, Answered

How do you get ingrown hairs?

According to McGrew, ingrown hairs appear when a hair re-enters the skin instead of growing out of it. “They are often the result of poor shaving techniques, but people with very curly hair can suffer from them even when following best practices,” he says. Poor shaving techniques can include not properly prepping the skin, using a dull blade, shaving against the direction of hair growth, and not having an aftercare routine. 

How do ingrown hair treatments work?

“Most ingrown hair treatments work by exfoliating, softening, and soothing the skin,” says McGrew. Exfoliation first sloughs away the dead skin that traps the ingrown to expose it and allow it to grow normally. If a product has softening or soothing aspects, it then keeps the area well-moisturized and calms irritation to prevent ingrowns from forming again. 

How can you prevent ingrown hairs?

“Keeping problem areas exfoliated, always using sharp, fresh razors, and only shaving with the grain are helpful ways to minimize ingrown hairs,” says McGrew. “Waxing instead of shaving causes fewer instances of ingrown hairs and, of course, laser hair removal will get rid of the problem once and for all.” If you prefer to shave or wax, preventing ingrown hairs requires preparing the skin prior to, using the proper technique during, and also using preventative products after hair removal. 

How long does it take for ingrown hairs to disappear?

Typically, ingrown hairs disappear within one to two weeks. If you’re prone to ingrown hairs, be patient: It may take a bit longer to notice a difference but once you’re implementing a regimen and find an ingrown treatment that works, you should see results in a few weeks.

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