FREE Shipping on orders $199 or more


By Cynthia Bailey MD.

Ingrown hair is a common problem for men. Men’s face and body hair is strong. When that strong hair becomes ingrown, the problem can lead to cysts, sores, scars and hyperpigmentation.

Use products that help to prevent ingrown hair and lower your risk of permanent scarring and hyperpigmentation.

Hair grows from the bottom of a hair follicle. Each follicle is lined by skin cells that usually help a hair grow up the follicle to exit at the skin surface. Ingrown hairs get trapped along the way.

Why does a man's hair become ingrown?

  • Curly hairs can act like corkscrews. Instead of growing straight up and out of a follicle, they can coil up and become trapped.
  • The tip of hair becomes sharpened by shaving. This can cause a shaft of hair to pierce the hair follicle lining. When it does this, it enters the layer of skin called the dermis. A shaft of hair in the dermis causes inflammation, which you experience as a sore or pustule.
  • Dead skin can cover over the opening of the hair follicle, trapping a growing hair and preventing it from exiting to the skin surface.

Why do pimples and sores form from ingrown hair?

Your skin considers hair a foreign material if it exits the hair follicle and penetrates the dermis. Your body attacks the hair just like it would a splinter. The result is a tender area with pus that looks like a sore or pimple.

Why do ingrown hairs scar and cause brown marks?

The sore or pimple from an ingrown hair will leave a mark when it heals. If you have dark skin, or if you are in the sun and your skin produces melanin (a tan), that melanin can drop into the deeper skin layer (the dermis) where it can stay for a long time. It can even stay permanently. In addition, the healing process can result in a scar, just like a pimple can leave a scar.

How can a man prevent problems with ingrown hair?

  • Help your strong growing hairs exit hair follicles and reach the skin surface. Do this by using exfoliating products that reduce dead skin cells that can cover over your hair follicle openings. These include powerful keratolytic ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide (which also reduces bacteria that cause pimples), salicylic acid, glycolic acid and retinoids (such as retinol).
  • Use ingredients that help reduce scarring and hyperpigmentation from healed ingrown hairs. These include some of the ingredients above, including glycolic acid and retinoids.
  • Stop UV light from causing more melanin production that can lead to hyperpigmentation of healing ingrown hairs. Do this by wearing a broad spectrum mineral zinc oxide sunscreen every day to prevent hyperpigmentation of ingrown hairs, especially if the problem is on your face and neck.

What are the most popular products for men with ingrown hair?

Facial and neck cleansers that multitask by cleansing skin and leaving behind active keratolytic ingredients to keep your hair follicles open. They work even better with an exfoliating sponge or shower cloth. The best cleansers to help fight ingrown hair on men’s skin include:

  1. Foaming Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Treatment Cleanser
  2. Acne Treatment Cleanser
  3. Triple Action Exfoliation Scrub (the best multitasking cleanser overall for ingrown hairs)

The most popular products to augment the strength of your fight against ingrown hairs and scars include

  1. Retinol Night Cream (applied at night)
  2. Glycolic Acid Face Cream (used at night or during the day – but not right after shaving because it stings)
  3. Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Treatment Cream (especially good if you also have acne)

The most popular sunscreens for men struggling with ingrown hairs, scars and pigment problems include:

  1. Sheer Strength Pure Physical Mineral Spray Sunscreen
  2. Sheer Strength Pure Physical Invisible Sunscreen

Additional dermatologist's tips for men with ingrown hair as a skin problem:

  • If you have ingrown hairs in the folds of your groin (inguinal fold), use an exfoliating shower cloth such as the Salux Exfoliating Shower Cloth with your normal shower gel. A good option is my Invigorating Shower Gel.
  • If your hair is really curly, don’t shave or cut it close to the skin surface because it may coil back into the hair follicle where the sharp, freshly cut end of the hair can pierce the hair follicle lining.
  • Keep your face and neck skin free of excess dead skin and clogged pore debris by using my Bamboo and Clay Exfoliating Scrub twice a week.
  • Know that using glycolic acid and retinol along with a sunscreen will also fight the signs of skin aging, keeping your skin looking young, vital and attractive for years to come.