A common complaint of shavers everywhere, it’s safe to say that ingrown hairs are, quite literally, a pain!
Ingrown hairs happen to all of us. After a shaving session, you've most probably noticed your skin dotted with the unsightly usual red bumps a few days later - sigh.
In some cases, ingrown hairs can even be super-uncomfortable and become infected (tmi?), but instead of squeezing, picking or trying other weird and wonderful ways to remove them, there are much more efficient (and way less painful) ways to stop them from rearing their ugly heads, which is where we come in!
Wondering what causes an ingrown hair to occur? Well, they are usually the result of when dead skin cells and other impurities clog pores and block hair from growing up and out in the correct direction; instead, the hair curls back into the skin and grows underneath. Ouch!
For this reason, the best way to avoid this issue is to exfoliate regularly, especially right before removing hair (fun fact: doing this also gives you a smoother shave).
Whether you love scrubs or prefer chemical exfoliants, here are five excellent products to keep your skin clean and clear and prevent ingrown-hair disasters, as well as a helpful buyer’s guide section and F.A.Q.
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Want to get rid of existing ingrown hairs while preventing future ones from developing? You’ll love the Australian Pink Clay Exfoliating Mask!
This mask is a mix of red and white clay, which will work to clean deep into your pores using gentle exfoliators that will sweep away dead skin cells, dirt and debris, allowing you to shave or wax with complete confidence that your skin will stay smooth and soft for longer.
Why it’s great for preventing ingrown hairs:
- Formulated with Vitamin A and Aloe Vera - a powerplayer in dissolving debris
- Enriched with anti-inflammatory properties to decrease redness and other signs of irritation
- It will hydrate your skin immediately after exfoliating to keep your skin’s natural moisture barrier healthy and strong
- It’s mess free with applicator stick provided. Making it ideal for popping in a weekend bag and taking with you anywhere
Best Exfoliators for Ingrown Hairs - Comparison Table
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Best Exfoliators for Ingrown Hairs - Reviews
An essential pre and post skin softening exfoliator, this mask will help to reveal smooth, radiant and glowing skin ready for the removal of hair, use after use.
This Luminositie exfoliating mask is a bestseller for a reason. It is formulated with Vitamin A which is an ingredient that has the ability to effectively unclog pores, keep irritation at bay and lift away all types of impurities from the skin, including dead skin cells.
It has also been enriched with Vitamin C which is known for the many benefits that it offers to the skin, such as hydration and skin regeneration. With this nifty little body mask, you’ll have no bumps and more youthful appearing skin.
A great body scrub is essential all around, but it's also an invaluable way to prep your skin before a shave and help you avoid ingrown hairs.
Formulated for the body and scalp, this foaming scrub helps to unclog pores and removes surface debris that can lead to ingrown hairs. It also harnesses probiotics to maintain skin's natural pH levels, while nourishing fatty acid–rich coconut oil fortifies and leaves skin soft and supple.
Used before a shave, this scrub will gently work to detox your skin’s surface and pores thanks to gentle sugar crystals that cleanse and soften.If that hasn’t sold you, this sublime scrub even features OUAI’s Melrose Place scent, which is a fragrance composed of notes of rose, bergamot, lychee, cedar-wood and white musk. Smooth skin and a moment of luxury - it’s certainly ticking all of our boxes.
This completely natural shea butter exfoliator will wonderfully soften and smooth dry skin, all the while lifting away dirt and debris, making it ideal for using as a way to prevent ingrown hairs from occurring.
This nourishing body scrub has been enriched with a cocktail of luxurious oils including almond oil, macadamia seed oil, orange oil and avocado oil (all of which are known for their skin softening properties!). A generous dose of mango puree offers both a moment of indulgence thanks to its refreshing scent and an instant way to moisturise your skin thanks to its high hydration value.
As soon as you apply this to your skin, sugar grains will instantly get to work in polishing away impurities, while pure shea butter will moisturise your skin and promote elasticity for smooth, supple skin ready to be shaved.
Scrubbing and buffing, renewing skin doesn’t have to be as rough as it sometimes sounds! The easiest way to polish your way to smooth skin that’s ingrown-hair free, the Dove Exfoliating Body Polish Body Scrub Macadamia & Rice Milk has been made with ¼ moisturizing cream which will care for your skin as it exfoliates.
As soon as you use it, this whipped cream texture scrub gets to work in removing dull, dry skin from the surface to lower the chance of ingrown hairs forming and leaving your skin feeling revived.
Whoever said you need to break the bank in order to get smooth, soft, skin free of bumps? The Dove Exfoliating Body Scrub certainly proves that you can save your coins and still enjoy beautifully supple skin.
Planning on shaving your face? If so, you need a special scrub that is going to be suitable for your delicate complexion (the skin on your face is much more sensitive than the rest of you) and this natural facial scrub will help to effectively buff away dirt without feeling harsh.
This particular facial scrub is a stand out for us because of the natural factors included in its formula. Infused with tone-perfecting ingredients including coconut oil, hyaluronic acid and coconut water, you will be able to enhance your complexion with a healthy glow while also preventing any buildup which could lead to ingrown hairs.
Best Exfoliators for Ingrown Hairs - Buyers Guide
Here’s everything you need to know about keeping pesky ingrown hairs at bay…
The causes of ingrown Hairs
IIngrown hairs are caused when a growing hair gets trapped below the surface of the skin,' says Robin Parker, Technical Director at beauty innovators and Acheson & Acheson, 'it starts to turn back on itself as it grows.'
It sounds a little gross, almost as if they have a mind of their own, but they tend to curl back into the skin instead of growing outward, 'which can cause infection and result in small, infected spots', says Parker.
While anyone can get an ingrown hair, Robin confirms they're most commonly caused by shaving, and those whose hair is curly and coarse. So yes, you can most certainly blame your genes!
What ingredients to keep an eye out for
Ingrown hairs can crop up when the hair follicle is obstructed by dead skin cells, which is where exfoliation comes in. 'Exfoliation helps to prevent this happening by speeding up the removal of dead skin cells on the surface. It’s this build-up of surface cells that produces a barrier for the hair to grow through', says Robin.
Somewhat of a saviour for those ingrown hairs, as well as acne, glycolic acid breaks down the mixture of sebum and dead skin cells that cause obstructions to hairs, so that they can reach the surface much easier and without the area becoming inflamed.
In darker skin types, ingrown hairs tend to leave pesky pigmentation marks, but regular use of topical glycolic acid works wonders to blur them over time.
Exfoliate Your Skin With Salicylic Acid
Not just ideal for acne sufferers, salicylic acid is great for preventing and treating ingrown hairs.
A BHA (beta hydroxy acid), it penetrates deeper into the pores to dislodge the paste-like combination of dead skin buildup and oil, resulting in fewer blockages. 'This makes the skin softer and more penetrable for the emerging hair strands to grow through,' mentions Johanna.
Diminishing cellulite, increasing energy and boosting your immune system aren't the only amazing results of dry body brushing
.'Exfoliation is key to helping reduce ingrown hairs.' say body-brushing experts Mio. 'As we get a little older, our skin becomes less efficient at this whole detox/elimination process and less effective at naturally shedding the layers of dead skin cells that clog up the surface.'
A quick scrub before each shower improves cell turnover, which means fewer clogged pores so that hairs can grow out normally.
Those undergoing IPL or laser hair removal will find that the process also helps to dislodge dead hair follicles from the root, resulting in less shadows and even less spikiness.
You should consider your skin type. Do you have dry skin, sensitive skin, or acne-prone skin? There are some body scrubs, which are harsher than the others, hence it is the best that you check what will suit your skin type.
- Normal Skin. If you have normal skin, you don’t need to deal with particular problems that other people with oily or dry skin need too. What you should look out for in a body scrub is efficiency. Body scrubs, which buff away ingrown hairs, dead skin cells, etc. while ensuring that your skin stays healthy.
- Dry Skin. This is a huge problem in terms of dry skin. One way of reducing flaking is by choosing a good scrub, which effectively gets rid of skin cells from the surface. However, you should not just choose any aggressive scrub, dry skin still needs natural oils that are present in our skin –these should be scrubbed away.
- Sensitive Skin. If you have sensitive skin, you may want to be gentle. It is best that you avoid abrasive scrubs, which may damage the skin. We suggest that you use sugar scrubs as they’re less abrasive. Further, you should also avoid chemical exfoliants and salt scrubs, which have large particles –they might irritate your skin.
- Acne-Prone Skin. You should choose a body scrub that has antibacterial and clarifying ingredients that fight the production of acne. Tea tree oil and salicylic acid are known to prevent acne breakouts.
Body scrubs either come in jars or tubes. The ones packaged in tubes are way more convenient, as the product is much easier to dispense, and they are easier and lighter to pack for trips. Alternatively, those in jars have more products in them, yet they are not exactly portable and heavier. Even though you will get more products. It is more cost-effective when you plan on exfoliating your whole body. You might use a spatula to control the amount of product that you will use. This is also essential in avoiding any contamination of the product.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best exfoliator for ingrown hairs for the price?
In our expert opinion, we recommend choosing a body (or face) scrub when considering products for keeping ingrown hairs at bay as they are excellent at exfoliating your skin.
Why? Just like acid exfoliators, they uncover newer, softer skin cells that hairs can penetrate through easily, but they have a more stimulating effect on the skin, so you can rely on them to wake you up in the morning.
If you tend to get ingrown hairs on your thighs or bikini line, invest in a scrub packed with sugar, which is much gentler on sensitive areas than microbeads or pumice. Use once or twice a week to notice a real difference.
Luckily for us, you can find a great body scrub at a really reasonable price point, although you always have the option to pay more if you feel like. Every exfoliator we have included in this article is at different price points, so we are confident that you can find the perfect exfoliator for you at the best value, too!
What if my exfoliator doesn’t work in preventing ingrown hairs?
Don’t be discouraged if a change in your shaving routine doesn’t yield immediate results. In the meantime, White says it’s best to avoid picking, popping, or attempting to remove ingrown hairs yourself as they can spread bacteria, or cause scarring, infection, or irritation.
If ingrown hairs do become a frequent troublesome occurrence, she recommends making an appointment with a dermatologist.
A dermatologist could offer a variety of stronger solutions that prove more effective than over-the-counter skin care items.
“They may prescribe prescription products including topical or oral antibiotics, steroid creams, retinoids, or offer in-office treatments such as chemical peels or steroid injections. Laser hair removal can be a great long-term solution!