Top 6 Essential Oil For Ingrown Hair & DIY Recipes
Ingrown hair is not a rare occurrence; in fact, anyone who plucks or removes their hair can see ingrown hair developing. Generally ingrown hair does not cause any issues; it resolves on its own. However, in some cases it can result in inflammation and infection. These are quite painful. Before we talk about essential oils for ingrown hair, let’s learn more about ingrown hair.
What Is Ingrown Hair?
The term ingrown in ingrown hair can be split into two words in and grown. To understand it better think about a tiny hair that starts growing from the hair follicles, but curves inwards and starts growing or getting bigger beneath the skin’s surface (the hair curls into the skin rather than growing out of the hair follicle). Another form of ingrown hair is the hair that grows at an angle, but beneath the skin’s surface. It can occur anywhere there is a hair follicle.
Who Are At Risk For Ingrown Hair?
Many people do not experience ingrown hair; however, there are many people who are forever bothered with it. People at risk of this issue are those with coarse and curly hair. It is because these hair types usually curves when it grows and its chances of curving inward is more.
African, Asian and Hispanic men are more at risk of ingrown hair. The Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology published a review on the different hair disorders (1).
Most often ingrown develop after shaving as it leaves an angled but sharp hair, and the sharpness pierces the skin. There are other hair removal methods that can leave hair fragments beneath the skin. These methods are waxing and plucking. The hair that is left behind continues to grow.
Another cause of ingrown hair is when the opening of the hair follicle gets blocked due to excess dead skin dirt. This causes the hair to grow wayward and pierce the follicle and then grow between the skin layers.
Common Areas Where Ingrown Hair Occur
Ingrown hair usually occurs in the beard area where the hair is usually shaven and plucked. However, it can occur at other places including chest, armpits, legs, scalp and the discomforting pubic region.
Are there any risks from ingrown hair?
Ingrown hair is a nuisance. It causes discomfort, in some cases mild and in other cases severe. The discomfort can lead to pseudofolliculitis barbae and folliculitis barbae, which are inflammatory skin conditions. Pseudofolliculitis barbae may be a hard word to pronounce but everyone who shaves has experienced it at least once. It is the tiny razor bumps that cause ingrown hair to grow. It has tiny inflamed bumps which are sensitive to the touch.
In some cases the bumps might be filled with pus. Some of the symptoms of this skin condition are stinging, inflammation, pus and pain. In 2002, the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology published a review report on Pseudofolliculitis barbae (2).
Folliculitis barbae on the other hand is a more serious skin condition because here the ingrown hair is infected with the bacteria staphylococcus aureus. In such cases, yellowish pus forms around the affected region causing severe pain. Folliculitis barbae, if left untreated, can spread into the deep tissues and further deteriorate into a condition known as sycosis barbae, which has larger lesions, scarring and irritation.
6 Best Essential Oils for Ingrown Hair
There are several essential oils that can mitigate the symptoms of ingrown hair and maybe even treat it. However, there is one essential oil that should be mentioned first because it is widely used in treating ingrown hair problem.
1. Tea Tree Essential Oil For Ingrown Hair
Does tea tree oil really treat ingrown hair? Tea tree essential oil is a popular essential oil known for its potency. It is used to prevent the growth of ingrown hair and as a treatment for ingrown hair. It is a potent oil due to its bioactive component Terpinen-4-ol.
This compound has several therapeutic properties. Its anti-inflammatory properties have been proven in a 2000 study published in the Inflammation Research (3).
How Does Tea Tree Or Terpinen-4-ol Work Against Ingrown Hair?
The compound terpinen-4-ol has anti-inflammatory property; but, it also has antiseptic, antimicrobial and antibacterial properties as well. Tea tree oil is thus used to protect against bacterial, viral and fungal infections.
The oil of tea tree is potent and it can eliminate the staphylococcus aureus bacteria. The American Journal of Infection control published a 2004 study that reviewed the effect of tea tree oil on the staphylococcus aureus bacteria and wounds, and found that tea tree oil is a good adjunctive therapy (4).
These properties of tea tree oil make it a good anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial agent in treating and preventing issues including folliculitis barbae, Pseudofolliculitis barbae and sycosis barbae.
Being a powerful anti-inflammatory oil tea tree oil is used to soothe the swelling, irritation and redness resulting from razor bumps. Being an antiseptic agent also prevents the infection due to scratching. Tea tree oil also has potent penetrating powers. It can penetrate into the hair follicles and aid in clearing oil plugs, dead skin ad dirt. This action of the oil prevents ingrown hair caused due to clogged pores.
Tea tree oil is also a cicatrizant that fastens the healing process and hence heals the skin around ingrown hair. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2013 published a study that focused on the wound healing effect of tea tree oil (5).
This was a small study, but 9 out of the 10 participants experienced after healing after applying tea tree oil. Tea tree oil due to its anti-bacterial properties clean up the infection and pores of impurities.
How To Use Tea Tree Oil For Treating Ingrown Hair?
The process of treatment starts from buying the product. Buy tea tree oil that is 100% organic and store it in a cool dark place, as instructed in the label of the product.
Tea tree oil is a potent essential oil and hence must not be applied on the skin directly. It must first be diluted with carrier oil including coconut oil or olive oil or grapeseed oil. For applying on ingrown hair, 1 drop of tea tree oil can be mixed with a tablespoon of carrier oil.
Perform a small skin patch test before applying the oil on the face to ascertain that the skin is not allergic to the compounds of the oil. Apply the oil with the help of a cotton swab or gently with fingers. Allow the oil to get completely absorbed. Repeat the steps several times in a day till the skin has healed. If at any point the skin feels irritated, wipe the oil off the skin and avoid using the oil.
It can be blended with lemon essential oil, eucalyptus essential oil and oregano essential oil. Use frankincense essential oil offers relief and also as natural skin tone and texture. Nasty ingrown hair irritates the skin, and tea tree essential oil can help the affected area; it can disinfect, exfoliate and dry out the pus (and make the bump dry). .
For a blend, try lemongrass essential oil (rosemary essential oil also works) and a carrier oil as a base. When applied to the affected area, this essential oil blend reduce the chemicals released by ingrown hairs. The highly potent medicinal goodness combined with other ingredients is effective in clearing the bacteria and reducing pain and discomfort.
DIY Recipe for Treating Ingrown Hair with Tea Tree Essential Oil
- 5 drops of tea tree oil
- 1 ounce of Shea butter
- 2 drops of tea tree essential oil
- 3 drops of lavender essential oil
- 1 drop of frankincense essential oil
- 2 tablespoons of coconut carrier oil
- Mix the Shea butter and tea tree essential oil.
- Store the mixture in a glass jar.
- Use it as an aftershave
- Apply on the skin after shaving to keep skin moisturized, and prevent infections and ingrown hair.
2. Lavender Essential Oil for Preventing Ingrown hair
Lavender essential oil is a versatile oil and has many therapeutic uses. It aroma has an intoxicating effect that helps lower stress and anxiety. But, its properties go beyond mental health. It has ingredients that are useful in skincare.
For example, it has an active ingredient linalyl acetate that has been scientifically shown to lower irritation. Ingrown hair causes irritation to the skin and lavender soothes the irritation. The journal Phytomedicine published a study in 2002 that evaluated the anti-inflammatory properties of linalyl acetate and linalool (6).
Skin irritation is a common after effect of shaving. It can cause pain, swelling, redness, bumps and inflammation. The soothing effect of lavender essential oil will calm the skin and speed up the healing process. When used regularly, lavender oil also prevents ingrown hair from developing.
The anti-inflammatory and antibacterial and anti-microbial properties of the oil also reduce swelling and redness and are known to be the best exfoliator. Applying this essential oil effectively reduces redness, skin infections and opens the pores. The vitamins and nutrients ensure the infection from spreading.
DIY Aftershave Recipe with Lavender Oil For Ingrown Hair
- 3-4 drop of lavender essential oil
- 1 tablespoon of sweet almond carrier oil
- Mix the two oils well.
- Slightly moist the face after shaving.
- Apply the oil on the face.
- Gently rub the oil till it is absorbed into the skin.
3. Geranium Essential Oil Ingrown Hair Care
Ingrown hair is normally not an issue as the hair finds its way out. However, in some cases the hair struggles to find its way out and it can cause discomfort. In some cases its effects one’s way of life. Furthermore, ingrown hair can cause discoloration of the skin and scarring. Geranium essential oil combats damage to the skin cells, and helps the hair and skin heal.
It also helps even the skin tone. The anti-microbial properties also reduce swelling and pus and redness when applied. Regular use also lightens the area and reduce the chances of skin infection as well as ingrown hair conditions. The essential oil also helps drying out the ingrown hair. It also reduces the size of the ingrown hair. Ingrown hair result in lot of itching and discomfort, which is reduced due to essential oil application.
DIY Skin Moisturizer Recipe with Geranium Essential Oil
- 6 drops of geranium essential oil
- 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- Apply the oil mix after showering for moisturizing skin
- Make and store in bulk for everyday use
4. Chamomile Essential Oil Soothes Ingrown Hair
The essential oil of chamomile has shown to be effective in lowering discomfort and irritation caused by skin conditions including cold sores, infections, eczema and psoriasis. The oil is equally effective in tackling the discomfort and irritation caused by ingrown hair. It is diluted and applied on the bumps and inflammation caused due to razor cuts.
5. Lemongrass Essential Oil Heals Ingrown Hair
The essential oil of lemongrass is used for its anti-inflammatory properties and healing abilities. Dilute lemongrass oil with coconut oil and apply it on the ingrown hair to soothe any discomfort, reduce inflammation and promote faster healing.
6. Peppermint Essential Oil For Ingrown Hair Therapy
The essential oil of peppermint is known to soothe inflammation. When applied topically, it reduces or stops itchiness of the skin. Dilute peppermint oil with jojoba oil and apply it on the ingrown hair to soothe any discomfort, reduce inflammation and promote healing.
Other Methods of Taking Care of Ingrown Hair
Essential oils for ingrown hair are the easy and natural way of taking care of the problem. But, there are other solutions that can take care of ingrown hair and the resulting problems.
This method might be easier than using an essential oil, but following this method with an essential oil will make it even more effective. Here, one has to use a soft-bristled toothbrush and wash the region of the ingrown hair in continuous circular motion. Doing so regularly helps release the ingrown hair. This method works best when done before shaving.
Is it a good idea to pluck or pop the ingrown hair? No, never. Trying to pop ingrown hair will result in skin damage, infection and scarring. Then how does one remove ingrown hair? Experts recommend waiting for some hair to come out of the skin. In such cases tweezers can be used to pull out the hair from the surface. But, it should be done gently.
Wearing tight clothes when you have ingrown hair can elevate the discomfort. Opt for clothes that won’t rub against the ingrown hair causing irritation and pain.
This is not a treatment, but a way to get over the discomfort. Sometimes the problem of ingrown hair resolves on its own. The discomfort may last for a few days during which the skin surface should not be scratched. This is the simplest way to treat ingrown hair, provided one has enough will power and patience.
Hot / Cold Compresses
The discomfort caused by ingrown hair can be reduced by using cold presses. It can be alternated with hot presses as well if it is comfortable. These compresses take care of the inflammation by increasing blood flow. The cold compress also mitigates the pain due to ingrown hair. Cold and hot compresses can also be done with an essential oil.
Take a bowl of cold water and add 5 drops of tea tree essential oil. Dip a cloth into the bowl and apply on the affected region. Choose an essential oil with anti-inflammatory and anti-septic properties as it effectively reduces redness and irritation, and removes debris accumulated under the skin.
Preventing Ingrown Hair
Preventing ingrown hair depends on the hair removal techniques. The first thing to remember is to never shave the skin when it is dry. Always moist the skin and apply a good skin friendly cream to soften the skin and hair.
While shaving, do not get overambitious and shave in random motions. Follow the direction of the hair’s natural growth.
Do not use blunt razors while shaving. Replace the blades frequently. Experts recommend using single blade razors instead of multiple blades to avoid ingrown hair. It is also no advisable to pull the skin to shave the hair.
After shaving apply a natural moisturizer.
Cautions for Ingrown Hair Problems
Ingrown hair is generally a harmless, albeit annoying, condition. It does not need a visit to the dermatologist. However, if you are frequently bothered with ingrown hair problem, then it is better to consult a professional.
Ingrown hair can get complicated with regular scratching. It can result in bacterial infections, hyper-pigmentation and pseudofolliculitis barbae.
Ingrown hair problem is a common condition affecting many around the world. But, proper care can prevent the condition. The discomfort and pain due to ingrown hair can be tackled with essential oils for ingrown hair. Tea tree essential oil is the most popular choice for treating ingrown hair.
How do you get rid of ingrown hairs overnight?
Applying diluted essential oil on the cyst and putting warm compresses on the region every 15 minutes. Doing so may bring the cyst closer to the epidermis. Ingrown hair that is trapped deep in the skin will eventually grow out. Generally it takes about a few days to a week for ingrown hair to resolve on its own.
Does frankincense help with ingrown hairs?
The essential oil of frankincense offers relief from the ingrown hair and reduces the swelling in the region. It also subdues the pain. The antiseptic and antimicrobial nature of frankincense oil ensures that the region does not get sepsis.
Does tea tree oil help with ingrown hair?
Tea tree oil is the popular choice for treating ingrown hair issues. It is used as a treatment for ingrown hair and to prevent the growth of the ingrown hair. Tea tree oil has anti-inflammatory properties and antibacterial properties which soothes the region and prevents infection. Tea tree oil solution is also used as an after shave to prevent ingrown hair.
- Ratchathorn Panchaprateep. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. (2015). Clinical, dermoscopic, and histopathologic features of body hair disorders. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0190962215000894
- Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. (2002) Defining pseudofolliculitis barbae in 2001: A review of the literature and current trends. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0190962202652296
- Inflammation Research. (2000). Terpinen-4-ol, the main component of the essential oil of Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree oil), suppresses inflammatory mediator production by activated human monocytes. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s000110050639
- Linda Halcón. Am J Infect Control. (2004). Staphylococcus aureus and wounds: a review of tea tree oil as a promising antimicrobial. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15525915/
- J Altern Complement Med. (2013). The effect of tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) on wound healing using a dressing model. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23848210/
- Phytomedicine. (2002) Anti-inflammatory activity of linalool and linalyl acetate constituents of essential oils. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0944711304701804
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