Ingrown hair on legs: Removal and prevention

Ingrown hairs can be more common in people with coarse or curly hair. They may also be likelier to occur when the hairs are very short, such as after waxing, shaving, or tweezing. Ingrown hairs occur more frequently in areas that experience a lot of friction.

Most ingrown hairs on the legs do not cause complications, and they usually resolve on their own. A few simple home remedies can help.

In this article, we describe how to safely remove ingrown hair on the legs and prevent the issue from recurring.

Getting rid of an ingrown hair

Many ingrown hairs will resolve over time without treatment. It is often best to let them heal on their own and take preventive steps.

However, if a person can see the tip of the hair outside the skin, it may be easier to pull the hair out and allow the follicle to heal.

To remove an ingrown hair safely:

Do not try to pick out an ingrown hair that is under the skin. This can lead to infection. It may also push the hair deeper into the skin, increasing the time it takes to heal.

Shaving cream adds moisture and reduces friction when the razor glides over the skin.

Too much friction can result in irritation and inflammation. It may also cause razor burn, in which the skin becomes bumpy, red, and sometimes painful. By reducing friction, shaving cream reduces the risk of irritation.

The type of shaving cream can also make a difference. Sensitive skin may react to ingredients in some creams.

Chemicals and fragrances in shaving creams can irritate and inflame the skin, leading to skin issues, such as ingrown hairs.

People with sensitive skin may benefit from using natural or hypoallergenic products on their legs.

Choose the right razor

Ingrown hairs on the legs can signal that a person is using the wrong type of razor.

A good razor should glide gently across the skin, leaving behind no missed or half-shaven hairs. Replace razors regularly to avoid dullness, which can add friction.

Razors that do not glide smoothly can catch and pull hairs, and ingrown hairs can result. A razor that catches can also cause small nicks and cuts, which can become infected.

In the past, some dermatologists believed that single-blade razors reduced risk to the skin. However, a 2013 study showed no difference between single- and multiple-blade varieties.

Shave in the direction of growth

Hairs in an area tend to grow in the same direction. Shaving in the opposite direction can cause the hairs to have very sharp tips. This makes it easier for them to penetrate the skin and grow inward.

Practice good shaving techniques

Some other tips for preventing ingrown hairs due to shaving include:

  • Always use a sharp, clean razor, avoiding razors with any signs of rust or wear.
  • Rinse the blade after every stroke.
  • Shave less often, allowing the hair to grow.
  • Clean the blade with rubbing alcohol after each use.
  • Do not overuse disposable razors.

Some people prefer waxing to shaving. After waxing, the hair may take a longer time to reappear, and it may grow back finer.

Shaving is more likely to cause ingrown hairs, but they can also occur after waxing.

Hydration is key for people who wax their legs. If the skin is dry, waxing can result in brittle hair that breaks at the root, rather than being pulled out entirely.

Ingrown hairs can also result from increased friction that occurs when clothes rub against recently waxed dry skin.

Use a natural moisturizer before and after waxing to reduce friction and keep the skin soft and hydrated. It may also help to wear loose-fitting clothes for 24 hours after waxing.

When to see a doctor

An occasional ingrown hair on the leg is normal. However, if ingrown hairs occur frequently, it may be a good idea to see a doctor.

The doctor may be able to suggest further treatment options. Or, a person may have a skin condition that resembles ingrown hairs.

If a person notices that an ingrown hair is infected, they should see a doctor. The area around the hair may appear to be inflamed or red, or there may be a pus-filled bump. A doctor can treat the infection and keep it from spreading or getting worse.

Many remedies mentioned in this article are available for purchase online.

  • Shop for loofahs.
  • Shop for exfoliating body scrubs.
  • Shop for dry brushes.
  • Shop for shaving cream.
  • Shop for razors.

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