Ingrown hair results when the hair follicle is damaged and the hair grows at an angle, curls back and buries itself into the skin, causing pain, inflammation and redness. The hair will usually grow out on its own without the need for treatment after about two weeks. However, there are a few natural ingrown hair treatments you can use at home to expedite the healing process and prevent a recurrence. If the pain and inflammation become severe or last for more than two weeks, consult a dermatologist or physician, as this could be a sign of infection.

Soothing Skincare

Wash the area around the ingrown hair with a natural antibacterial soap twice per day. Make your own natural ingrown hair treatment by combining 4 to 6 drops each of lavender essential oil and tea tree essential oil with 4 ounces of liquid castile soap and wash your face as usual. Lavender and tea tree are proven natural antibacterial agents that will prevent infection and expedite healing. Any antibacterial face wash will work, but making your own with natural ingredients is better for the environment and your skin.

Apply a dab of benzoyl peroxide to the affected area after washing and drying the skin thoroughly. The peroxide will help reduce inflammation. Peroxide cream, found at your local drug store, also works well and may even be more effective in reducing swelling. Use whatever product is more readily available to you.

Milk Moisturizer

Pour ice-cold whole milk into a chilled bowl. Metal bowls work best, but ceramic is also suitable if chilled. The milk must be kept as cold as possible for this natural ingrown hair treatment to be effective. Dip a clean washcloth or a piece of gauze into the cold milk, then hold it against the ingrown hair for about five minutes. Milk will soothe the skin, relieve itching and reduce swelling and inflammation. Perform this treatment once or twice per day to encourage healing and decrease the discomfort caused by the ingrown hair.

Smart Shaving

The leading cause of ingrown facial hair is shaving. Removing hair with a dull razor or shaving too closely can result in damaged hair follicles and painful ingrown hairs. Although most common on the face, body hair can also become ingrown by shaving. People with naturally curly hair are more prone to this problem, as the hair has a tendency to grow at an angle anyway. However, a smart shaving routine can be an effective natural ingrown hair treatment. Follow these tips for the best results:

  • Rub the skin briskly before shaving with a dry loofah sponge or washcloth. This will remove any dead skin cells that could clog the hair follicles and cause the hair to grow at an angle.
  • Shave with the grain, or in the same direction of hair growth. Shaving against the growth is more likely to cause damage that leads to ingrown hair.
  • Always use a gentle, natural soap or shaving foam with warm water to shave. This will create a moisture barrier between the skin and blade, minimizing the risk of damage.
  • Change your razor blade frequently. If an ingrown hair becomes infected, change the blade after every single shave until the area heals or it may become reinfected.
Each one of these natural ingrown hair treatments is effective, but you will see faster results by using them all together. Take special care to prevent ingrown hairs if you know you're prone to them, and remember to always consult a physician if you are unsuccessful in treating the problem at home or if you suspect an infection has developed.