An ingrown hair occurs when the hair grows sideways underneath the skin or curls back down and grows into the hair follicle causing an infection. Curly, stiff hair is more prone to ingrown hairs than straight or soft hair. An ingrown hair, or folliculitis, can be very painful and sometimes turn into a staph infection. Preventing ingrown hairs is the first step in eliminating the problem. If you do have an ingrown hair trapped under your skin, you can coax it out and remove it on your own.
Exfoliate the skin where you have the ingrown hair. Exfoliation kits and creams can be bought in the health and beauty section of most drugstores. Exfoliation may remove the dead skin that the ingrown hair is trapped under. Most ingrown hair infections resolve themselves, but it is very painful and can take weeks before the hair is pushed up to the surface by the infection in the follicle.
Apply a warm compress to your ingrown hair several times a day to soften the skin and bring the infection to a head so the hair can push its way out. Use a clean washcloth and soak it in hot water. Hold it on your ingrown hair for five minutes, several times a day. Softening the skin may allow the ingrown hair to come up to the surface.
Soak in a warm tub to soften the skin over your ingrown hair if it is on your lower body.
Apply a topical triple antibiotic ointment to your ingrown hair three times a day. The ointment may soften your skin and prevent or reduce infection.
If you are able to see the hair under the skin, carefully lift it out of the infection. Sterilise the tip of a needle and some fine-pointed tweezers in rubbing alcohol. Carefully dig out the hair from underneath the skin using the needle. Pull the hair out, using the tweezers. Apply triple antibiotic ointment to the area.
Laser hair removal is an option to prevent ingrown hairs. Laser hair removal reduces and permanently removes medium to dark hair anywhere on your body. For people with chronic ingrown hair problems, this may be your best solution.
See your doctor if the ingrown hair does not start to go away within a few days or the infection seems to be getting worse, as you may have developed a staph infection.