Any time you remove body hair using conventional forms of epilation or depilation, you risk getting ingrown hairs, and waxing can put you at an increased risk. Waxing leaves the hair follicle with a sharp tip that is more likely to dig back into the skin when it grows back, often resulting in irritated, acne-like pustules, notes Cornell Medical School dermatologist Harvey Jay. No miracle cure enables you to get rid of ingrown hairs after waxing overnight, but you can help those tender, unsightly red bumps heal faster.
Apply an aspirin-based anti-inflammatory to ingrown hairs. Paula Begoun, cosmetics expert and consumer reviewer, says that over-the-counter products with stabilized aspirin can reduce most types of skin irritation. In lieu of OTC products, she suggests you can also make your own by simply crushing or dissolving one or two aspirin tablets in a 1/4 cup of water. Add glycerin to thicken.
Use an over-the-counter cortisone cream if ingrown hair bumps are unresponsive to aspirin-based topicals.
Bathe the affected area twice a day and gently rub a washcloth or soft-bristled toothbrush in circular motions to release any ingrown hairs that are trapped. Avoid vigorously scrubbing ingrown hairs when inflammation is present. Doing so will only make the condition worse.
Apply an antibacterial cream -- available at the drugstore without a prescription -- if you start to notice signs of minor infection.
See a doctor if ingrown hairs continue to be a problem or an infection doesn't clear with home treatment. Your health care provider may recommend a stronger topical cream, such as a retinoid, corticosteroid or antibiotic. If your inflammation is severe, oral antibiotics may be recommended.
Things You'll Need
Topical cortisone cream (optional)
Topical antibiotic (optional)
Sterile needle or pin
Individual ingrown hairs that have penetrated the skin may be removed by using the tip of a sterile needle. Simply insert the tip of the needle through the ingrown hair "loop," and lift it away from the skin.
If waxing continues to cause you to get ingrown hairs, avoid this particular method of hair removal. Although you may have more success with shaving or cream depilatories, also consider laser hair removal as a semi-permanent method to reduce the density of hair growth.
Chronic ingrown hairs are more than a cosmetic nuisance. These may lead to scarring and hyperpigmentation. If you scratch or pick at the bumps, you could also get a bacterial infection.