How Do I Treat an Infected Ingrown Hair?

Hydrocortisone creams can be used to help reduce any swelling and irritation caused by an ingrown hair.
Exfoliating with a wet sponge may help prevent ingrown hairs.
Dead skin cells in a hair follicle can lead to ingrown hair.
Anti-bacterial bar soap can be used to help remove dirt and kill bacteria around an ingrown hair.
An infected ingrown hair.
Products containing witch hazel can help reduce redness from ingrown hairs.
Article Details
  • Written By: K. Tully
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 18 August 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
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There are several methods available to alleviate the discomfort and help drain pus from an infected ingrown hair. Warm compresses and antibacterial soap can help open pores and keep the infected area clean. Eucalyptus oil also can be used to help eliminate bacteria, as can witch hazel. Exfoliating the affected area, especially with a cleanser that contains salicylic acid, can help as well. It may also be helpful to apply an over-the-counter antibiotic or hydrocortisone cream onto the infected hair follicle after cleansing. Shaving or waxing the infected area typically should be avoided during treatment as well. Generally, an infected ingrown hair should heal with at-home treatment in one to two weeks.

Pressing a warm, wet compress onto the infected area several times a day can help open pores, allowing pus to drain from the infected area. The skin should also be cleansed twice daily with warm water and an over-the-counter antibacterial bar soap or cleanser to help remove dirt and kill bacteria. An application of antibacterial or hydrocortisone cream after cleansing can help kill existing bacteria, reduce swelling and prevent further infection as well.


Eucalyptus oil is a popular home remedy for infected ingrown hairs because of its disinfectant properties. The oil can be blended with a natural cosmetic clay powder, which can be purchased in health food stores, and applied to the ingrown hair, then covered with a light bandage. The clay can help draw out the pus and fluid, and the eucalyptus oil can help disinfect the hair follicle. The skin should be thoroughly cleansed the next morning.

Gently exfoliating an infected ingrown hair every two days during the healing period can be helpful as well. Exfoliation can help remove dirt and excess oil from skin. Choosing an exfoliating cleanser that contains salicylic acid can help clear clogged pores as well. One should be careful, however, not to break the pus-filled area of the ingrown hair, as doing so may result in spreading the infection to other areas of the skin.

Other store-bought items can help alleviate the discomfort of an infected ingrown hair and help speed up the healing process. For example, applying witch hazel, a gentle astringent found in most grocery and drug stores, can help disinfect and dry out the infected hair follicle. Applying oatmeal lotion may help with the itchiness that often accompanies an infected ingrown hair as well. Any swelling or pain can usually be successfully treated with an over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen.


Discuss this Article

Post 2

Abscesses can develop as a result of ingrown hairs or issues with the hair in difficult places. This can cause considerable discomfort and issues in walking or functioning normally. Vaseline is helpful in assuaging this discomfort, but ultimately you want to deal with the main cause, which is the ingrown hair itself.

Post 1

If you regularly experience ingrown hairs, this could be a result of having thick hair and relatively sensitive skin. It is helpful to regularly apply conditioner to affected areas to smooth out the hair, and also to apply helpful lotion to the skin to strengthen it. Shaving hair in the affected areas can also be important, especially if the hair tends to grow too long.

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