The methods of ingrown hair removal vary according to how deeply the hair has grown back into the skin and whether the pore or the skin surrounding the pore has become infected. Ingrown hair removal methods include exfoliation, the use of creams and ointments that are intended for the treatment of acne, tweezing and — in the most severe cases — squeezing the ingrown hair out of the skin. It is important when removing ingrown hairs to avoid breaking or cutting the skin as this can lead to more ingrown hairs as well as infection. It is also important to make sure that any tools that are used, such as tweezers, are sanitized before they are used to extract ingrown hairs. In some cases, the various ingrown hair removal methods will not work immediately and the skin must be given time to heal on its own.
The two least invasive forms of ingrown hair removal include the use of exfoliating scrubs and the use of lotions that are made with alphahydroxy acids (AHAs). Exfoliating can be easily done in the shower or bath on a daily basis. There are exfoliating scrubs that can be used all over the body as well as exfoliating products that can be used on the face. This latter category of exfoliating products is best to use for people who are having trouble with ingrown hairs on the face or neck. They can also be used on sensitive areas of skin that are affected by ingrown hairs.
Simply rubbing the exfoliant over skin that has been soaking in warm water can loosen ingrown hairs. This is especially true for hairs that are trapped under just a thin layer of dead skin cells. Some skin will require regular application of exfoliants. Products with alphahydroxy acids will also help to remove dead skin cells and bring an ingrown hair to the surface. AHAs are the kinds of acids that are used in light chemical peels.
In some cases, exfoliating and using lotions with AHAs is not sufficient for ingrown hair removal. For hairs that are deeply embedded in the skin, it may be necessary to use tweezers to pull the hair out from under the skin. This form of ingrown hair removal must be done gently. Also, the hair should be pulled out in the same direction in which it is growing. In the case of ingrown hairs that have become infected, the hair might have to be squeezed out the the skin along with any pus that has formed around it.