How do I get rid of/heal ingrowns?
November 7, 2010 8:59 PM   Subscribe

Halp! Ingrown hairs, down there.... (NSFW, obviously)

The last time I got waxed, the tech wasn't too great. I had to clean up using tweezers afterwards. But somehow, this has led to an abundance of ingrown hair / inflammed follicles. (Not sure if the tweezing broke off the hair right at/below the skin, or if the waxing did it, or both.) I've been trying to 'release' the ingrowns with pointed tweezers, and have been somewhat successful, but am now left with red irritated scars. It's possible that some of these spots still have the hair trapped inside.

What can I do to make this go away (i.e., dislodge any ingrowns, and heal the irritated spots)? I've had the odd ingrown hair from waxing before, but never like this. I've been exfoliating with a scrubby mitt, but I'm not sure if that's doing anything. I tried TendSkin years ago, and it stung like a bitch. But if that's what it takes, I'll put up with it. I've also read that lemon juice helps??

The kicker: it would be really great if this is something I can make disappear by, oh, say 6 days from now, as I'm expecting a hot/important date...

Thanks, mefites.

PS: I'm a girl, in case that matters/wasn't clear.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I know you said it, but TendSkin, though stinging like a bitch for sure, really does work. It also helps clear up already present issues. Exfoliating, I have found, only prevents ingrowns, but makes those that already exist worse. Good luck!
posted by greta simone at 9:04 PM on November 7, 2010

Ugh, what an unfortunate situation. I would have another go-round with the tweezers (sterilized, of course) to get rid of any ingrown hairs. In my experience, as soon as you get the hair out, the bump heals very quickly. I'd also treat it with a solution: I think that NoBump is just as effective as Tendskin, and it hurts (and costs) less, imho. You can get it at a local beauty supply and maybe even at the grocery store.
posted by duvatney at 9:07 PM on November 7, 2010

washcloth, heated really hot under water, pressed on the ingrown hair. repeat multiple times. eventually the ingrown hair opens up. hurts bad.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:09 PM on November 7, 2010

Sort of a repetition of what was said but I want to re-affirm that this is good advice. I take a long hot bath to soften the skin up. Not sure if this is good for your skin but I, uh, scrub against the grain right before I get out (ouch). Tendskin, and products like it, are kickass but prepare yourself for the ungodly alcohol sting. Working with tweezers and a needle to free up ingrown hairs is fun. I know I am a sick puppy.
posted by Foam Pants at 9:28 PM on November 7, 2010

Benzac 5%, once or twice a day, or if they're really inflamed, Duac (you need a prescription for this, it's for foliculitis/acne)
posted by Chrysalis at 9:47 PM on November 7, 2010

Gonna sound dumb, but... honey is being indicated as a superoid antibiotic treatment, for multiple reasons. One of them is that it doesn't irritate your tissues, even while it's killing off the germs.

A sanitary napkin, or just a bunch of clean paper towels (from 2-3 wraps inside the current layer, to avoid food contaminated sheets!), laid over your honey-rubbed skin, and held in place with boy-shorts/bike pants/whatever, overnight, will do a lot to reduce irritation, which in turn will make removal of ingrown hairs much easier.

Bonus: no pain!
Bonus: overnight!
Bonus: free! (if you have honey)
Bonus: you can still do anything listed above, after/before!
posted by IAmBroom at 10:13 PM on November 7, 2010

Watch out where the honey ends up. Sugar on your vulva is a yeast infection magnet.
posted by teraspawn at 1:12 AM on November 8, 2010

Deodorant (stick type) works to prevent ingrown hairs.

Hot water, tweezers, needle, alcohol, ouch, Neosporin with pain relief that night, then honey (also soothes skin!). Once you are cleaned up/healed (2ish days) with no more redness, use the deodorant. My neighbor was a dancer. That kind of dancer. It's what all those girls use, and razor burn/ingrown hairs cost them money. I heard good things about Secret.
posted by Leta at 6:22 AM on November 8, 2010

Exfoliating regularly should help keep this from happening again. TendSkin exfoliates chemically (as will anything with salicyclic acid in it), but manual exfoliation with a scrubby mitt or washcloth works, too--as long as you do it regularly and use a clean cloth/mitt every couple of times (otherwise you're just scrubbing irritation-causing bacteria back onto yourself).

For this specific instance, do keep exfoliating, gently tweeze any ingrowns you can get to without breaking the skin (the more you poke at the skin the worse the redness is going to get and the longer it's going to take to heal), and treat big red bumps with an acne spot treatment. While warm compresses/warm baths can help open the pores to make getting to the ingrown hairs more easy before tweezing, frequent cold compresses throughout the rest of the day can help make the big red bumps go away, by reducing the inflammation.

If you like the place you go to get waxed but were just unhappy with this particular tech, call them and ask for advice. If you didn't like the place much, or it's a place like a nail salon that doesn't specialize in waxing, call a nicer place you might want to go to next time.
posted by rhiannonstone at 10:05 AM on November 8, 2010

I used to get ingrown hairs all the time from waxing...ended up shelling out for laser hair removal. Highly recommended.
posted by radioamy at 10:52 AM on November 8, 2010

Seconding Ironmouth. a super hot washcloth on the affected area (pretty much as hot as you can stand - I recommend soaking a washcloth, wringing it out a bit and microwaving it for 45 seconds or so) will open up the infection.

The heat can be hard to handle, but the pain ends pretty much as soon as it is removed, unlike rubbing alcohol or ointment on the area. Its also the easiest thing to try at home before you spend money on products. I've actually never gotten to that point because the hot compress has worked every time.
posted by moshimosh at 3:10 PM on November 8, 2010

A woman who does electrolysis professionally told me once tweezing is hell for regrowth and ingrowns, she said she warns everyone she can away from it. So there's that.

I know with shaving some hacks to prevent ingrowns include using powder deodorant on the area right after shaving and toweling dry, homemade or storebought TendSkin type anti-inflammatory products (crushed aspirin in glycerin is a good approximation), and exfoliating diligently the next couple days afterward.
posted by ifjuly at 5:23 PM on November 8, 2010

Watch out where the honey ends up. Sugar on your vulva is a yeast infection magnet.

OOOH, good point, teraspawn.
posted by IAmBroom at 5:37 PM on November 8, 2010

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