Ingrown hairs

What are ingrown hairs?
Skin-coloured or red bumps, which occur when a hair grows sideways or downwards and becomes trapped under the skin

How can I prevent ingrown hairs?
Shave with the director of hair growth, not against
Chemical exfoliants: alpha or beta hydroxy acids
Physical exfoliants
Light, non-occlusive moisturisers
Laser hair removal for some cases

What are ingrown hairs?

Ingrown hairs are very common, and occur when a hair grows sideways or downwards instead of upwards, and becomes trapped under the skin. This can cause a skin-coloured or red bump. They can occur anywhere on the skin, and are very common after shaving and waxing. 

How can I prevent ingrown hairs?

  • If you shave, use the correct technique: shave with the direction of hair growth, rather than against. This may result in a less close shave, but fewer ingrown hairs as a result. 
  • Use a chemical exfoliant: apply a product containing lactic acid, glycolic acid or salicylic acid several times per week, to help reduce the build up of dead skin cells which can lead to ingrown hairs.
  • Use a physical exfoliant: gently exfoliate the skin with an exfoliating mitt or glove.
  • Avoid thick, heavy moisturising creams: opt for a lighter lotion instead, which is less likely to block hair follicles.

Laser hair removal can be curative.




Spotlight on Skin was created by award-winning Melbourne-based dermatologist, Dr Julia Rhodes.

Julia knows first-hand how overwhelming the skincare world can be, and that’s with over 10 years of experience practicing dermatology. Given that even she gets overwhelmed, she appreciates how hard it can be for those of you without a scientific background to make sense of all the information available, and choose products that are right for your skin…